Dreaming big: Young poet from Russell High wins national competition

2013-05-21 00:00

FIFTY years after his famous “I have a dream” speech, Dr Martin Luther King jnr is still inspiring the youth with his famous words.

To honour the anniversary of King’s speech, the United States Mission to South Africa held a national poetry competition during February, which is Black History Month in the U.S.

Hundreds of children entered the competition, but it was Russell High Grade 11 pupil Dianah Munhuweyi (15) who took first place in the country in the 16-18-year-old age group.

Dianah received the news at the U.S. Consulate in Durban on Monday, May 13 where she recited her poem, More than just enough, from memory for a live audience in Durban and via video link to Johannesburg.

She was encouraged to enter the competition by her class teacher, Lieza Larter, who is very proud of her pupil.

Larter said: “I knew Dianah was a poet, so when I saw this competition, I told her to enter. My master’s [degree] supervisor, Professor Mbongeni Malaoba, had told me about Dianah’s talent for poetry before I even started teaching at Russell High.

“When I got here, she was put in my class and I got to experience her poetry for myself.”

Dianah would not have entered if it were not for Larter.

“I saw the word ‘national’ and decided not to enter, but my teacher pushed me to enter. I didn’t think I would win, but I am very excited that I did,” said a smiling Dianah.

“It took me two weeks to write and polish the poem. It was not difficult to write as I was instantly inspired by the words ‘my generation, my voice, my dream’. When I read those words,

everything just flowed from there.”

Dianah was surprised that she was the national winner in her category. Larter said they knew beforehand but wanted her to be surprised.

“When we got the e-mail inviting us to the U.S. Consulate for the prize giving, we just told Dianah that she was a finalist. After she received the finalist prize, she thought everything was done, but there was a live stream to the award ceremony in Jo’burg, where they announced that she was the national winner in her category.”

Dianah won an iPad, two shopping vouchers and a book commemorating Dr King, with a disk of his most famous and inspiring speech.

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