Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
HARDSHIPS often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinies and this is the story of Prosperity Melinda Mpofu, an orphan who is now one of the most sought-after poets in Southern Africa.
The poetess cum author who hails from Plumtree town, has become a favourite to many for her clan praises which have flooded one of the fast rising social media tools, TikTok.
Saturday Leisure caught up with the 23-year-old artiste who is based in South Africa and she explained how her love for spoken word has got her where she is now.
“I am an orphan, my mother died in January 2010 and I don’t know much about my father but I heard he passed away in 2014. Growing up as an orphan really was not easy and it inspired me to start up a business of selling ice lollies and freezits. For every R2 I got from a rich neighbour who used to send me on errands, I bought jolly juice sweet aid to dilute and make ice lollies for my business.
“My Grade 5 to 7 primary school teacher Mr Moyo is my hero when it comes to me as a dedicated poet. It all started when he challenged the whole class at Grade 5 to memorise and present a certain stanza.
“I saw myself in another world that day, I felt like the whole world could hear me. My voice was broad and loud, I am not a dancer but that day I was moving and jumping as I was reciting and wow, my classmates were up on their feet clapping hands and this was the genesis of my journey,” said Mpofu.
She said she was later to perform in front of more than 300 people on Africa Day and that’s when she gained more confidence.
“Mr Moyo later on taught us how to write praise poems and he would challenge the class to write a poem that will represent our school. I was again one of the best.
“I was to relocate to South Africa and in 2014, when I was doing Grade 8 I started reciting again, firstly in the classroom and my teacher invited me to perform in front of the whole school at the school assembly and everyone was impressed and that’s when the journey of being a writer commenced. I started writing my own poems, African poems,” she said.
Mpofu said as an upcoming artiste she has been performing at different events.
“I perform at social community events, churches, funerals, schools and police stations. I have also performed for Mzwakhe Mbuli the People’s Poet on his 60th birthday. I performed for the city of Ekurhuleni in 2018, a poem dedicated to Winnie Mandela after she passed away and that was the first event to pay me R10 000 when I was in Grade 12.
“There are people who ask me to perform at their events, promising to pay but at the end of the day they don’t pay. It is wrong. As much as poetry is my talent and passion, it is my job too. I am tired of monsters who call themselves men, who always promise to help me but when I refuse dating them, they vanish. I will never give away my body for any kind of help whatsoever. My talent and hard work will speak volumes for me. It might not be now but one day I shall prosper. I believe I am destined for greater heights,” she said.
Defining her art, Mpofu said she seeks to bring forth the greatness of Africa .
“My poetry speaks of Africa from her beauty, her wealth, her poverty, her stupidity. My poetry speaks to broken souls who have lost their loved ones. My poetry speaks to my Nguni people as I do clan praises.
“I believe as Africans, we must know and embrace who we are hence I do Nguni clan praises. I also want to keep the Bantu language alive,” said Mpofu.
She said the goal to success is to keep on striving to do better.
“If you are a writer, write more, if you are a performer, perform more, do your research, watch the work of other creatives, be inspired and improve your craft. Listen to advice but don’t allow negative people to belittle or discourage you,” said the third year Law student at the University of Africa.
She recently scooped an award at the Amaqhawanentaba Music Awards as one of the most popular poets.
Mpofu is also an entrepreneur, she sells branded clothes “Rise African Child” that she uses to promote her anthology which will be published this year.
She also has a detergents manufacturing company called Prosperity Hygienic Wonders.
Article Source: The Chronicle