Riyo raises his voice at poetry slam

Overall winner of the Cape Town Poetry Slam final, Riyaadh Sarang.

For the winner of the InZync Cape Town Poetry Slam final, Riyaadh “Riyo” Sarang, the feeling of acing the competition is still sinking in.

Mr Sarang, 21, from Kuils River, said his upbringing inspired him to be a voice for the voiceless. The final of the competition took place on Saturday September 9 as part of the Open Book Festival.

There were various preliminary rounds including ones at Stellenbosch, Bellville and Cape Town Central libraries.

Mr Sarang came up against eight other poets in the final and said he went into the competition without any expectations.

He has been competing in Poetry Slams for the past three years now.

“The prelims were very tough. There were 70 odd poets that I had to compete against. I worked really hard to get to the finals. I was just happy to perform at the Fugard Theatre. It is still sinking in.”

Mr Sarang said to perform at a venue like the Fugard Theatre was important in terms of reaching a broader audience.

Last year he also won a rap battle competition in Cape Town.

“It is important to speak out and be a voice for the voiceless. “The issues of the community are constant. There will always be this kind of need,” he said.

He also said he was very grateful to learn from the judges who were Jitsvinger, Siphokazi Jonas and Toni Stuart.

“It was amazing. After the prelims they gave me advice. I learnt a lot,” he said.

His advice to young performers was to just believe in what you write and be original.

“There’s always a lot to write about, especially in Cape Town.”