Kuils River poet has much to celebrate

Haroldene with her Contribution to Literary Arts award.

Haroldene Tshienda’s cap is becoming so filled with feathers that she may just float away.

The Kuils River author, poet, publisher, illustrator, motivational speaker, mother of three teens and now award winner is also launching her third poetry book on Saturday.

Last week, the 40-year-old from Kuils River took home the Department of Arts and Culture’s Contribution to Literary Arts in the Western Cape Award.

Until her name was announced at an event, in Somerset West, on Saturday March 25, Haroldene said she didn’t think she stood a chance because both her co-nominees had been her teachers.

“I was up against amazing writers and was in shock when they called my name. All the famous artists who are contributing to arts were there. Wow, it was a gracious atmosphere.”

Haroldene doesn’t know who nominated her, but she suspects it was someone within the writing circles she frequents at her publishing company, Tshienda Publications; at the live poetry performances she does; or perhaps one of her students in the creative writing class she teaches.

Haroldene is also busy preparing for the launch of her third book, Black Poetry.

The book is a poetic journey of her trip to Johannesburg last year when she represented the Western Cape at the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising celebrations (“Busy time ahead for Kuils River writer”, Northern News, June 29, 2016).

This is will be her third biographical poetry book to date. The first, Never Give Up Healing Words From a Poet, was about overcoming pain and rebuilding her life after she left her first marriage (“Let it be: Spreading words of wisdom”, Northern News, January 28, 2015).

Her second book, Moving from Pain to Power, was along a similar vein (“Moving forward”, Northern News, March 16, 2016).

“The third one was supposed to be The Unacknowledged Specialist – The Woman,” Haroldene said of her book that is still in the pipeline because her experience at the Soweto Uprising anniversary last year overtook it.

Also in the pipeline are the books she’s publishing for other writers.

“’I’m publishing about a book a month,” she said.

Among them is New Dawn, a short story and poetry collection by South African writers from all over the country. The book is the fruit of an appeal she made to writers to send her personal pieces.

“My youngest author is 13-year-old Gabriella Weber. She wrote a novel, Tomorrowland,” Haroldene declared proudly.