The year that birthed the Poet

POET FOR LIFE: Andreattah stressing a point

We are different people, with different ways of communicating and expressing our feelings. Some do it in writing, others through music while some find it easy to pass on the message through poetry.One such individual who finds it easy to communicate and express her feelings through this genre of communication is the country’s renowned and celebrated poet, Andreattah Chuma.
Through poetry, Andreattah can talk about anything and show her true feelings about a certain subject or individual(s), something which she cannot do through the normal verbal communication.
In a wide-ranging interview at her home in Extension 12 in Gaborone last week, the poet took us through her poetic journey, how it all began and where she has been with her talent, which she discovered some few years back.
“I did not look for poetry but instead poetry found me and it found me in a miraculous way.  Six years ago I did not think I would be counted amongst the country’s best poets, but here I am,’’ said the young and slim Andreattah, who has not only communicated to Batswana but the world over and hopes to continue doing so for as long as she lives.

Her journey
“I used to write journals about my feelings on the Oprah Winfrey website and I would write them in prose and with passion because it was about how passionately I felt about something,’’ she said.But it was the year 2004 that marked the dawning of a new era for her. It was then that she was doing her final year of her degree in Computer Science at the Midrand Graduate Institute in South Africa that she tuned into one of the radio stations and bumped into a poetry programme.
“After listening to the programme with different poets reciting their poems, I identified with them and how they were expressing their feelings. It was then that I stopped writing journals and started writing my first poem,’’ revealed Andreattah.
After writing her poem, she shared it with her roommate who was ‘chaffed’ and encouraged her write more.
As fate would have it she came home for the holidays in November 2004 and during that period she won a ticket to attend the Exodus Live Poetry Festival.
“It was during this festival that I met one of the country’s poets TJ Dema and told her of my interest in poetry. She then asked me to join them as they were shot of female poets. I then had my first chance to perform in front of an audience and it just felt right,’’ she said.Back in South Africa she continued with her poetry and even went to participate on the radio poetry programme.
After the programme she received calls from all over South Africa of people congratulating her while others were inviting her to perform at their functions.
“From there it was gig after gig performing in prestigious events and brushing shoulders with the who is who of South Africa.”

Another breakthrough came when she and other poets recorded a CD during the 2005 Infinite Word Festival as it is this CD that gave her the tickets to fly around the globe.“Our CD landed in the UK and the next I knew I was being invited for a tour in that country. I was one of the two Africans who represented the continent in that tour of 13 cities in the UK,’’ she revealed.
While she was there little did she know that one person had identified her as some few months later after the tour she was again invited to Sweden for an arts festival.“It still is a shock to me, my family and friends that I have gone this far with poetry because no –one knew that I had the talent,’’ said Andreattah.

Her poems

Andreattah has written more than 100 poems, 12 of which have been compiled into her popular CD, 1981 was a good year. Her poems cut across almost all the themes of life.“However most of my poems are sad because I write easily when I am feeling low,’’ revealed the poet.

PERFORMING: Andreattah on stage

Side effects of poetry on her life
Young and beautiful 29-year old Andreattah is currently very single with no one to cite her love poems to in an intimate way and she attributes this to her being a well-know talented poet.“Ever since I started performing and appearing in the press, guys seem to have developed an attitude,’’ she said adding that since men generally want to say sweet nothings to women , with her men seem to have nothing to say as they feel they have nothing to offer her considering her talent with words.
“I am however not in a hurry to be in a relationship as I want someone to love me for who I am as an individual and not what I am and what I have as a poet,’’ she said.

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