Shirmoney Rhode, author of Nomme 20 Delphistraat, writes about her small beginnings and inspiration, and finding her voice as a young writer from the Cape Flats.
I started writing at a very young age. My writing wasn’t necessarily creative writing. I wrote everything down. New interesting words I learnt, things that I felt, saw and heard. Essays on things that I believed. I wrote my first poem Let me live when I was in Grade 7 as part of a speech I had to deliver at our prize-giving evening.
Thereafter, I started experimenting with poetry. At first I wrote on topics such as love, dreams and all the other things teenagers often write about.
Later I realised that my voice, the voice of a young, coloured girl on the Cape Flats, is nowhere represented in the books I often take out from the library. I knew I had to start writing about the things I see around me. I knew that I had to start writing honestly about the things life challenged me with. The death of my 19-year-old brother, who was found dead on 26 September 2006. Gangsterism. Drug abuse.