Pietermaritzburg poet turns Covid woes into words of inspiration

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Athikshay Maharaj came third in the AVBOB Poetry Project.
Athikshay Maharaj came third in the AVBOB Poetry Project.

Pietermaritzburg poet, Athikshay Maharaj, was shocked when he heard he’d won third prize in the AVBOB Poetry Project.

Run during June, the contest invited South African poets, aged 18 and younger, to reflect on their experience of surviving the Covid-19 pandemic. Maharaj, who matriculated at Raisethorpe Secondary School last year, penned a lyrical rap which tries to understand how the coronavirus put his generation into disarray.

Speaking about the inspiration behind his prize-winning poem, Suffering Day, he said: “As matriculants writing finals during a pandemic, nothing was ever normal for us. Being locked down at home for days on end made me emotional. Poetry and music allow you to be yourself, and express how you truly feel about the changing world around you.

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