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Abigail Ramokoena: our poetry winner on SAAPA and Vic Falls

As a run up to its forum held in Livingstone, Zambia from 11-14 July 2016, SAAPA held a poetry competition and invited young people from across the region to enter and stand a chance of attending the forum. Abigail Ramokoena (19) from Lesotho emerged the winner. She reflects on her experience of winning the competition, her time at the forum and her views on SAAPA.

The SAAPA poetry competition was a rare opportunity which not only ushered me to open up to the realm of poetry, but also unravelled the reality and seriousness of alcoholism among youth. SAAPA not only hosted me as a winner but it also enlightened me about the harms caused by alcohol and widened my horizons with regards to knowing the importance of having an alcohol policy in my own country (Lesotho).

One could imagine the excitement I had when I was informed I had to go live on air both on the local television station (Lesotho TV) and Radio. This became an opportune moment to share with the whole nation the objectives of SAAPA as an organization and to unveil to the youth the deadly effects of alcohol abuse.

At the forum, every individual or member of SAAPA had a role to play.  What I found mind boggling was the fact that youth are also active members of the alliance and are given full recognition by senior members in the Alliance. The beauty of SAAPA lies in its diverse composition which is derived from different countries all coming together for one sole purpose which is to save tomorrow's generation, the youth, from the harmful effects caused by alcohol abuse.

I really enjoyed my stay in Livingstone, Zambia. It was like one of those tours with fun, education and inspiration all in one package. I cannot stop but remember the time we went to the breath taking Mosi-oa-Tunya popularly known as the Victoria Falls. The weather was great on that particular day, even when the falls sprayed us with showers; I didn't mind at all and enjoyed every moment.

One other unforgettable task we did was ‘Malunde’ a collaboration where we had all the talented youth and grown-ups come together to record a song that had poetry, music and even acting. Malunde is a tale of a self-destructive alcoholic who abuses his wife and children while destroying the lives of those around him.

Indeed SAAPA Is a blessing to the continent, redemption to the world and hope for generations once lost.

Here is Abigail's winning poem:

Embarrassed by the world

I made you my icon
Took my millions
And you returned the pittance
Tampered with mind made me go on rollercoaster
I thought I was on top of the world but I was only hobbling my way to my
own grave
You made me a clown resembling the titanic about to hit an iceberg
A sip of you is never enough
Stole my karma and integrity
Sold it off to the bartender
Made me loud and dismantled my Hoary hairy days away
You liquidized my lineage
And liquefied my destiny
Broke my connection with my family and blinded me in pride
Repaid my service with a hangover
And a crown of vomit
Yes you Alcohol
Being nothing but a wreckage to my Pain
A provoker of my hate
Caged the brotherly love I had and made me stab a poor soul while
fighting for a bottle
Called the police on me but look they too suffer under your wrath
Under your Palm they forgot justice
And with six pack I was a free man....
You cloth yourself in majesty
They call you by names as though no one could describe you
Today you are wine tomorrow you are whiskey
I know you like a novel with no tittle
Why do they call you so?
Your character is of a wolf in a sheep's clothing
You should be doved a traitorous manipulator
My heart cries in sorrow
You came like friend
But you entangled me like a slave
Human I was but now I possess your Mark "an alcoholic "
Afraid of what I have become my spirit hides in shame
Confused ,my purpose on earth
I wonder like a fly in a Sahara desert
But I am a person and you are an object I refuse to be bond
Away from me you enemy
I shall never drink from your cup

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