By Joan Campbell, MAI trainer
On the first evening of MAI’s South African “My Story for His Glory” Writing Workshop, May 16 & 17, the 13 participants read some of their writing. It was a celebration of words, creativity and individuality. I’d like to share two of these expressive South African voices.
Norma shared an emotive poem she wrote on the eve of Mandela’s funeral, and told us how it had come about.
“That week between his death and his funeral is one I’ll always remember. It was filled with tears and laughter, celebration and mourning, reminiscing and dreaming. As I went to bed on the eve of his memorial service, I was exhausted and yet unable to fall into a proper deep sleep… this poem came to mind. I jotted it down while underneath the covers, mind still fuzzy but heart speaking very lucidly.”
Waking Up at 3am to Make Sure I Get Into FNB Stadium
I am wading deep into the waters of mourning
Asking them to wash over me
To smooth the rough stones of my judgements and prejudices
Remove the grime in my heart so the injuries of injustice can heal
Nourish the seeds of hope for the South Africa of mine + Madiba’s dreams.
Fully immersed, moving away from the shallow end,
letting my hair get wet,
May no part of me be left uncleansed.
Another writer, Jenny, read us her poignant children’s book, The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World. The sugar bowl looks around and wonders why she doesn’t have handles like the cups or why she isn’t as important as the teapot. It teaches children—particularly those that are ‘different’—the value of their individuality. Jenny struggled to find a publisher for this and her two other books. She finally self-published this delightful story, currently available as a free download.
I wish I had the space to share all the participants’ writing, but I hope that this small sample brings across the depth of talent and passion of Christian writers in South Africa. Thank you to MAI for nurturing and equipping writers in Africa.
Joan Campbell, a trainer for MAI, is a devotional writer for Scripture Union and The Upper Room, and the author of Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus, a collection of short stories, reflections and prayers.
Norma Young is a print and broadcast journalist. She’s worked for magazines and newspapers including Oprah magazine, City Press and Mail & Guardian.
Jenny Young is a wife, mother and proud grandmother. She works in a secondary school laboratory, doing science and biology experiments, and runs a Girl Guide company (Girl Scout group).