Press Release

Help 13 young Helenvale students escape poverty through poetry

After leaving a lasting impression at the McGregor Poetry Festival last year, the Helenvale Poets from Port Elizabeth have been invited to attend the Western Cape festival for a second time in August later this year.

Through encouraging creativity and self-expression, the Helenvale poets, have found a constructive way to contribute to society and to navigate what is often a dangerous and unfavourable environment.

“Most Port Elizabeth residents link Helenvale with images of drug-related shootings, of crime and violence, of poverty and unemployment. But the Helenvale Poetry project wishes to offer writers a way to write about their lives, their selves and their aspirations. It aims to break stereotypes, to show readers a human side of Helenvale, not often imagined outside of the community itself,” says Brian Walter, a Port Elizabeth poet and project manager of the Helenvale Poets project.

As part of the project, the poets are encouraged to share their realities, their aspirations for the future and reimagine their potential.

Margaret Armoed (58), among last year’s participants at McGregor, found closure in writing, when her son Byron Armoed (aged 30), one of the group’s founders, was tragically killed in 2015 in a violent shooting. His solo-collection, Nagedagte, was published posthumously a year later. Fellow poets who attended the festival in 2017, Shenesia Booysen (16) and Anastacia Williams (16), also found confidence in sharing their stories with their peers.

In hopes to nurture and inspire 13 young poets, aged 9 to 17, and accompanying adult poets from Helenvale, the founders of The McGregor Poetry Festival have created a campaign on the donations-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, to appeal to the public to support the poets on a journey to broaden their horizons.

The campaign went live on the 11th March 2018 and has thus far raised R31 857.48 towards the target of R45 000.00 which includes accommodation, food and transportation to the event. Thus far, 43 donors have contributed.

The event takes place on the 24th of August 2018. All donors qualify for a section 18a tax clearance certificate issued by The McGregor Arts Community Project.

Check out the campaign here.