After 10 years at the helm of Poetry Farm, the movement’s founder, Peter Mahase, will relinquish his position to pursue new challenges.
“I am stepping down from Poetry Farm because I have another greater role to play in pioneering and nurturing other projects,” Mahase told Xpress People this week.
“I believe I have done the best I could in my 10 years of founding and directing Poetry Farm. At this time, I feel it is the time to give the reins to new people with fresh ideas and, possibly, more levels of commitment to the organisation.”
Poetry Farm was founded by Mahase in 2003 as a medium for sharing poems. Over the years, Poetry Farm has initiated and hosted annual events such as Poetry Exchange and Valley Breeze, which have seen renowned South African poets such as Napo Masheane, Mak Manaka and Afurakan perform in Lesotho for the first time and motivating local poets.
Poetry Farm also holds high school poetry competitions in which a lot of raw talent has been discovered. It is through such competitions that the likes of local poet Sheila Khala were brought to the limelight.
Through its print media presence from 2008 to 2009, Poetry Farm has also managed to impart knowledge through a column in Varsity Breeze Newspaper which, unfortunately, has ceased operations.
It is through such initiatives that poetry aficionados were able to network and develop a community.
In a bid to broaden its media presence, Poetry Farm forayed into the internet realm, setting up blogs that have made local poems available online.
“The journey has been amazing. I learnt quite a lot and interacted with many interesting people,” Mahase said.
“I had the privilege to host the biggest poetry festivals in the country and pioneer some poetry platforms. Poetry Farm has taught me a lot, and leaving is a bit emotional, though it must be done.
“I would say, with all honesty, Poetry Farm built me, I didn’t build Poetry Farm. I am eternally-indebted to God for such an honour.”
In the interview, Mahase also revealed his successor.
“Ms Lindelwa Xingwana, who has been in Poetry Farm for the past six years, will be taking over and a new structure for administering the movement will be developed,” he said.
“Things may not be entirely the same compared to when I was still in charge, but we are currently working on strategies that will make Ms Xingwana’s work lighter.”