Gladys Thomas and Hans Zwets enroute to the eMzantsi Carnival

‘eMzantsi’ means ‘in the South’ in isiXhosa, and the 7th annual eMzantsi Carnival celebrates community-building in the south peninsula. More than 1000 people will parade down the Kommetjie Road on Saturday 3rd Dec alongside giant puppets, drummers, dancers and brass bands in this year’s green-themed Carnival ‘eMzantsi Goes BOS!’.


The Scenic South is running a poetry competition in conjunction with eMzantsi to highlight the environmental focus of the event. Prizes will be awarded to poets who best address the theme ‘eMzantsi Goes BOS!’ while communicating the spirit of eMzantsi.


There are three categories:


Primary school: this competition is open to all children taking part in this year’s eMzantsi primary schools twinning programme whose topic is water.

High school: this competition is open to all high school learners, whose theme is energy.

Adult: this competition is open to any local poet who would like to tackle the subject of climate change in the valley.

Lewis Watling


Winners in each category will be chosen by a mixed panel from Scenic South and eMzantsi, and will be awarded a beautiful mirror decorated by eMzantsi mapiko recycling artists. They will also have the chance to recite their poem at the stage show following the eMzantsi parade on 3rd Dec.


 Sam Pearce

Photos: Above – Gladys Thomas and Hans Zwets enroute to the eMzantsi Carnival 2009

Below- Poet Lewis Watling on his way to the eMzantsi Carnival 2009

For more about our local poets Lewis Watling and Gladys Thomas see

The eMzantsi Carnival 2009

The eMzantsi Carnival 2009

                                                Purveyors of the fizz and razzmatazz of Life

                                                in the Far South of Africa were gathering

                                                clad in stunning colours, called by tribal drum

                                                to leave their cares behind, and blithely come

                                                to play and march and dance and sing

                                                at the court of Harlequin and wife.


                                                Words are my passion, and the sometimes hidden beat

                                                of metre, the ever changing flow of tonal melody,

                                                and I had come, a “Big  Five Culture Icon”,

                                                to join the eMzantsi Annual Parade, and gaze upon

                                                other performers in the art of revelry.

                                                My only puzzle,  where, at ninety, can I find a seat.


                                                Eight-thirty, and colour transforms Sun Valley Mall,

                                                a dazzle of psychedelic pigments everywhere ablaze,

from startling headgear, face-paint, angel wings;SWAT 3

and music where a rehearsing choir sings.

Characters strut on stilts; papier-mache figurines amaze;

and a rumbustious merrymaking’s felt by all.


To lead the parade the vintage cars appear

sparkling and polished as a row of Sunday shoes,

pride of the Krankhandle Club, and, at last, a seat

in Peter’s Singer Seven – a special treat!

(My father’s first car in 1928 was one of those)

and such a comfort, Peter, for my ancient, aching feet.


The onward progress of the long parade

is a thing of stops and starts as Sam

pedals her psychedelic bike, and tries to keep in touch

with head and tail. She does not alter much

although preventing at least a traffic jam

as our vintage cars conduct the cavalcade


into Sun Valley Green, the venue for the fun:SWAT 1

from boys’ football to the open mike for those

who sing or dance or compere the show.

In noisy celebration the moments flow

and the crowd of watchers comes and goes

seeking some special performance by someone


they know. My heart, stirred by all this gladness,

misses a beat when at last my name

is called to read my celebration verse:

the poem that, for better or for worse,

titled the anthology that is my recent claim

to fame – and I read “A Touch of Madness.”

                                ©Lewis Watling. Sun Valley. Cape Town. December 2009