One of my favourite people on the Twitterer [and i do have a lot, but this one stands out] is my friend Ekta Somera.

She is both an exceptional talent who has released a book called ‘Made in Poetry’ which i reviewed over here, and a second book, Twenty-Two, which i am still to get my hands on. But also finds the time to design, collaborate on and release The Paper Trail Literary Journal, which despite being billed as a youth initiative, still manages from time to time to carry something i write, which is perhaps to help keep the age average up.

Ekta has been at it again and last week ran the second ever Poetry Slam on the Poetry Whatsapp group she manages [which has daily prompts and is an opportunity to showcase your work in front of other poets and writers]. Taking on the theme of Youth Day, poets were invited to send in a voice note poem using one of the given titles. i was invited, along with Enricoh Alfonzo to be one of her two fellow judges, as we were for the first one:

Poets grab the mic 🎤
Excitement lies in the day
Ahead of us all

Pick and prepare a poem from the topics below:
– the youth
– the history behind youth day
– what youth day means to you
– a message to the youth

Please include your name and the title of your poem at the beginning of the voice note. No texting on the group for today, Voice Notes only.

The top entries will be announced by Saturday afternoon (18/06/22) and there will be a little surprise for every poet that participates.

🌟 All the best 🌟

As youth day arrived, so the voice notes started to appear and we were treated to some really impressive creations.

At the end of the day though, we had to hand out some awards and these were the top three who emerged victorious:

Poetry Slam Third place

My name is Ipfi Precious Mphuma. I am 18 years old, located in the historical township of “Soweto”, I write for fun.

Celebrating The role of the youth in liberation of South Africa
celebrating the existence of the young people lost their lives in the struggle against apartheid and Bantu education
reason for a free education today yes, The light and hope of the nation
Honouring those who made it clear that judge not the weather through the Eagles eyes for our colour is not a disability
Remembering that graveyards are crowded by the tears of those taken by invisible killers celebrating the teardrops of the youth in Vilakazi Street in 1976
Celebrating Hectors last breath and all the ashes of apartheid that we stand in today
celebrating those who cried for Peace yet given pain
The youth was in motion yet they didn’t pay attention
And still today we celebrate the holiday with the horrific theme

My name is Miguel Chicane, I am a Mozambiquan South African who’s currently in grade 9. I write to protest the broken world we live in as a means of igniting a sense of revolutionary optimism. Writing articles on occasion and I’m also a climate justice and intersectional activist.

I pray
Rosary and burning wax candle
Yet I am angry at God
For how he has forsaken my mother’s people

Whose blood was shed on this land for our liberation
Yet in the end their blood nourished the tree for a bleak nation
One we have become the blessed inhabitants of

I pray
Rosary and burning wax candle
Yet I am angry at God
For my mother’s people had to fight for this nation

Yet today my mother’s offspring have to walk the same path of resistance
For we have been forsaken

Brother was imprisoned fighting for the right to free basic education

Mother remembers the scars of 1976 everywhere she looks.
For today she witnesses her children walk the same path of resistance that she had no choice but to abandon

Her offspring are fighting.
For a just future
Where equitable education is not merely what we pray for
For we have prayed for too long

Rosary and Wax candle
For far too long
We have taken the path of our mothers people once more

For we are the future

Those that will nourish the tree of prosperity for the nation we have inherited
Those who bear the arms of pen and paper

For we yourn to break free from the shackles we have been enslaved in.

We have chosen the hard path
One we will overcome
For we will fight
like we have no one
No one
but our children,
and our ancestors
to answer to

Independencia ou morte

Poetry Slam first place

Hi I am Mmakubu Phokwane… I’m 17 years of age… doing matric this year. I reside in gaMatlala Lehwelere, (Dennilton), Limpopo provence . The title of my poem is ‘What youth day means to me.’ When writing poems, I give my all and just go with the flow. 


To me it means power
Power of a black child
Well, to them, to us it means unity
Yes, of bana ba mmala wa sebilo

Remember the days when they came out
Without fear, worry nor any kind of shame
They were focused on the end goal
Too passionate about freedom

Mmmh!… Freedom is coming tomorrow
Indeed freedom came today
Youth day reminds me of the warriors of our nation
I mean abo Hector Patterson and many more

Too strong to fight they were
Very much hopeful
I wish they were, never killed
As I cry, they cry, we cry as a nation
Imagining the struggle they went through

We turn to, end up smiling
Smiling yes we are, we are proud of them
Proud of their selflessness
Proud of their courage
Of their pride
What made them not to give up

Youth day means power
Power of a black child
Well, to them, to us it means unity
Yes, of bana ba mmala wa sebilo.

Paper Trail Poetry Slam certificate

Time to Step Aside

As you can see, Ekta really puts so much work and creativity into anything she touches, crafting amazing certificates for each participant who took part in the day.

i took some time to drop a few words of my own to add to the group and so here is my take on youth day, titled:


They say

The youth are the future

But where can we locate the leaders of today?

Have you seen them?

Amidst the mayhem

Of looted cash

And Nepotistic tenders

The lack of hope this engenders

And yet we are called to respect

And praise and Uplift their mediocrity

Where we end up rejoicing and celebrating

Any time one of them

Reaches the absolute lowest bar of just doing

The smallest part of the job they were elected to

But no, let’s keep the young people for another day

When the smell of the country on fire has faded away

Maybe then we can say

Okay now you have your turn

But from what have you had to learn?

Surely not our example

Except perhaps as a case studio of what to avoid

And how not to do the things…

So perhaps on this Youth Day

It is time for us to dig deep into humility

Realise the absence of the rainbow that was meant to be

Before all of the comrades ran right past it

To make sure they were first to get their hands on the pot of gold

Is this really the dream we were sold

Is it maybe too late

Because surely we cannot wait

For this need we have to be emancipated

From all those who seem to have forgotten

The trials and tribulations of their youth days

Which might seem now like a haze

As they lie sleeping on the job

Trying to recover from the hangover

They built up after years of trimming the fat

And stuffing themselves with the entirety of the feast

While the country scrabbles and scrambles for a few choice crumbs

Upon the floor…

Can this present youth

Offer us more

Because it seems obvious to me

That it would be hard for them to offer us any less

And I confess

That I need this hope right now

Young people, rise up and take your place

Save ourselves from this disgrace

And be the leaders we dreamed of

But could never make ourselves to be

Grant us the gift of leadership who leads

Hearts that overflow with compassion

Voices that tremble

Hands that serve

Knowing this is likely too much to ask

As we don’t deserve

Better than we have given you

Which does not seem to be very much at all…

You can find and listen to the top three poems on the @PaperTrailZATwitterer account, so i highly encourage you to do that…

So take a bit of time to get to know Ekta a little better over here and do yourself a favour by contacting her and ordering a copy of her book – you will not be disappointed. And remember that name, because so much of what she touches turns to gold and i can’t wait to witness her big break when it comes and be able to say: I KNOW HER!!!!

If you’re a poet and would like to be part of a Whatsapp group where you receive daily prompts and opportunities to write and share your poetry, come and join us. Follow Ekta on the Twitterer at @madeinpoetry as well as @PaperTrailZA and invite all your poet friends to give this a look…