Listen up young poets! Here’s your chance to show off crafted words in your mother tongue

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"Connection time is important". (Gilaxia/Getty-Images)
"Connection time is important". (Gilaxia/Getty-Images)

Poetry is, quite literally, in our bloodstream while we are growing in the womb. The mother’s heartbeat pulses in time to the iambic foot!

Long before our perceptual organs are formed, the “Da-dum da-dum da-dum…” that sustains our existence is coursing through our veins. 

It helps children play with words and grasp new ideas while enriching their learning and social interaction and is also a delightful tool for parents to engage with their children, fostering humour, affection and connection.

And it doesn't cost anything as local literacy non-profits Nal’ibali and Book Dash offer free downloadable books in all eleven languages so that parents can read to their children and participate in their learning. 

Book Dash director, Julia Norrish from Rondebosch, Cape Town, shared some titles that have strong poetic elements: A fish and a gift contains rhythm and alliteration; Walking Together and Is there anyone like me? are both rhyming and have also been translated into many South African languages.

Excellent children’s poetry can help children think about and talk about difficult yet universal topics. 

ALSO SEE | Parent24's STORYTIME hub! Find free resources for little readers here

The AVBOB Poetry Project

And for kids who have a talent for putting poetic words to paper, the AVBOB Poetry Project could prove an inspiring endeavor to take on especially during these uncertain times. 

The AVBOB Poetry Project has a special link to children because it was birthed in response to a two-year-old boy who succumbed to cancer. His grandfather, left speechless beside his grave, could only utter the words, “Tata, kiewiet!” (“Goodbye, little bird!”). In that moment it was clear that a response was needed to help people find the words that could express the inexpressible. 

Today, the AVBOB Poetry Competition aspires to enable young South Africans to seek out the safe space of the page and look inwards, where they will discover their feelings – in their home language. 

So if your child is a talented poet in the making, they’re invited to share their experiences in poems which would be seen and heard, and included in the AVBOB poetry library.

To enter the fourth annual AVBOB Poetry Competition, register and enter online at before 30 November 2020.


Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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