Author aims to help women find their way back to ’the person in the mirror’

City poets and authors Diana Ferrus, left, and Haroldene Tshienda share a light moment during the launch of Ms Tshienda’s sixth book at the Artscape Arena.

Self-published author Haroldene Tshienda launched her sixth book, She is Poetry, at a sold-out Artscape Arena on Saturday June 5.

The book offers a lens to other women seeking to find their way back to the person looking in the mirror.

The launch attracted, among others, acclaimed author and poet Diana Ferrus, actor Noel Oostendorp, her children Eliza, Jade and Robyn, and Ms Tshienda’s friends and family members, who trekked all the way from Port Elizabeth.

Haroldene Tshienda, second from right, with her children, from left, Eliza, Jade and Robyn.

Saxophonist Marcellus Welman played jazz, accompanied by Grace Davies and Naomi Goncalos on vocals, while Andy Petersen and his son, Daniel, played the trumpeter with a song that was written especially for Ms Tshienda.

Ms Tshienda, who lives in Kuils River and owns Tshienda Publications and Onet PC Solutions, says she fell in love with herself again, which inspired the short book of self-love quotes and poems.

“It is a perfect way to remind women how special they are when they are faced with challenges in relationships or their personal lives,” Ms Thienda says.

The book targets young girls and especially women “who have been there for everyone and (have) forgotten about themselves”.

She is quick to point out that men may also relate to it as they, drawing from the book, could learn a thing or two on how to treat women.

“This was a great challenge because I was in isolation in January, fighting the evil Covid-19, while still rising from depression.

“I challenged myself to look beyond my current situation at the time. I believe that after the rain, we can always look at the sky again. To believe in the things you don’t physically see in front of you.”

Speaking on the creative process of penning a book, Ms Tshienda says she always writes, regardless of her mood. Describing writing during lockdown, she says: “Firstly, lockdown came as a blessing because I had more than enough time to focus on my craft, even though I wrote the book in the worst time of my entire life – I’m talking about death, illness, fighting for my life and the negative voices in my head.

“I learned to train my brain to be stronger than my emotions. Sometimes we act on feelings and it can truly damage you but when you think positively, you can accomplish many great and fruitful things.”

It took her three months to compile the book. “I write every day. So it was easy to just go back to my notes and compile the book.”

The book’s goal will be met if it helps young girls and women realise they’re special and beautiful, she says.

“I want them to look beyond their situations and believe that they are enough and worthy of everything that is beautiful and lovely. If women can fall in love with themselves, they don’t need validation from anyone because they know their worth.”

Of all her offerings, Beyond the Pain, published in November last year, has been the most rigorous and difficult, she says.

“In Beyond the Pain, I speak boldly to my perpetrators, I make peace with the past and the decisions I made. In that book, I got my fire and my fight back and I enhanced the beauty of life and my purpose as a survivor of everything that was meant to destroy me,” Ms Tshienda says.

Despite restrictions due to Covid-19 which stipulate that the arena is to be half-filled, Ms Tshienda’s launch sold out.

“I was totally surprised to see Diana Ferrus. She’s my icon and role model,” Ms Tshienda says.