‘Poetry can change perception on social issues’



POET Dalitso Ndlovu says poetry should be recognised as a powerful form of art used to change perceptions in societies.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style Ndlovu said he used poetry to change narratives and perceptions that are associated with problems encountered in societies.

“My poetry revolves around cultural beliefs that have seen society lagging behind through failure to embrace new ideologies.

“Revolving around cultural influence, I like to question tradition, interrogate social norms and introduce controversy in order to shake people’s understanding of what is familiar,” he said.

“I use poetry mostly to speak of a culture that seeks to control social behaviour, limiting gender roles to what is defined as patriarchal conservative thinking and family expectations of conduct which control how one should dress and speak.”

Ndlovu said poetry helped him to emotionally connect with audiences in a way that was not possible through other mediums.

“Poetry in this modern generation is more than just an expression for entertainment. It is a channel to shape ideas, change narratives and messages about how society’s way of life relates to challenges faced,” he said.

“Poetry is useful and effective in changing perceptions, that is to say art goes beyond entertainment. That is the reason why I use poetry to address issues of sex and sexuality, religious issues, beliefs and socio-economic issues.”

Ndlovu said artists needed to put food on the table, adding that art should be recognised, not only as a catalyst for social change, but as an industry.

“As a way to grow this form of art, I believe poetry performances should be enhanced and fused with other art forms such as music and dance so as to appeal to a bigger audience,” he said.

“The performances can also be recited at events, videos and tracks should be produced. I think by doing so, audiences will be more likely to understand poetry.”

Ndlovu said he was working on various projects fusing musical performances and visuals with his poetry.

“I add poetry to visuals and sound not only to expand my reach, but to enrich my poems too,” he said.

Ndlovu’s prowess has been recognised on different platforms such as the Intwasa Poetry Slam (2020) where he was the first runner-up and he was second runner-up at the Africa Khanyanisa LitFest Poetry Slam (2019).

Some of his outstanding cultural poems include The Voice of Rebellious Conviction, Bride Prices and Vain Sacrifices, Forbidden Passions, Letter To Our Future Nation and Have I Found Freedom.

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