I think it’s connected our minds to see how each other sees the world. It also connected our emotions, we feel what you feeling through your poem

 – Adriann Svenson | Grade 11, 2019

ATHLONE YOUNG POETS

Athlone Young Poets  is an after-school youth poetry programme, with Grade 10–12 learners at Belgravia High School in Athlone, Cape Town. The young poets learn to read and write poetry, as a way to explore identity, belonging and their family and community histories. The first programme ran in 2018 and 2019, with 11 poets.

The project is entirely possible because of how welcoming and supportive Belgravia High is. The princial Mr Base, as well as the English teacher Tertia Shah and our 12th poet, Regan Ford. Regan has been an integral part of the programme, and so much of what has been possible is because of his support, interest, encouragement and active involvement.

I was born and raised in Athlone, as were my parents before me. This is a community and geographical area filled with a rich, complex, and long history. None of us are taught this history at school, and very little of our family stories are passed down to us. As we walk and grow up in our streets, very little in the built environment, reflects or affirms who we are, who the people are that we come from, or, the stories that took place here before we were born. By finding and writing these stories, I believe the young poets will develop a sense of pride, agency & belonging. The ultimate aim is this: that our bloodlines and roots might show us who we are, so we can decide for ourselves who we want to be.
                                                                                      – Toni Giselle Stuart

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