The Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology 2013, which will launch this week, celebrates the writing and illustration talent of high school learners from across South Africa, fostering the platform for expression by the youth in their own languages.
The anthology is a multilingual collection by high school learners, the entries ranging across five languages, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, seSotho and English.
The anthology features poetry, short stories, illustrations and essays by 65 students, four of whom hail from Grahamstown; Carmen Nangolo and Samantha van Heerden from the Diocesan School for Girls and Amanda Kepe and Ekhona Ntloko from Ntsika Secondary School.
Academics from across South Africa were involved in the judging process, including Russell Kaschula, Professor of African Languages and Literature at Rhodes University.
“We already have a relationship with high schools because we publish exam papers and textbooks and we wanted to foster the platform for high school learners to publish their writing and creativity,” said Paperight employee and anthology editor Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana.
Paperight is a publishing house founded by Arthur Attwell which aims to make literature and learning materials more affordable and easily available to people anywhere in South Africa by working out of copy shops. AloeX on High Street currently operates as the Grahamstown outlet for Paperight works.
“The book is published in 5 languages, covering a wide range of topics, there’s nothing like it in the country as far as we know,” said Masinyana.
“It’s a very profound experience to read through the submissions, to see the young voices developing,” said Masinyana, elaborating, “the idea is that the anthology show cases original writing by original individuals. We wanted to choose and nurture emerging talent. These are the future writers and artists of the country.”
The launch of the anthology coincides with Youth Day, celebrating the linguistic diversity of South Africa. The anthology publishers also hope to create awareness about the fact that students across South Africa in the secondary education phase are still taught in their second or third languages, exacerbating poor performance at high school level.
Words by Chelsea Haith