SA poet delivers message of hope at James Sedgwick Distillery
Puno Selesho features as an exceptional South African in fourth part of Three Ships Whisky visual collaboration series
Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, SA’s new generation of poets have taken up the challenge by creating and created their own unique voice. Powered by optimism, their art not only speaks to what is happening in an ever-changing world, but also vividly represents how they feel, as well as how they are making sense of it all.
Puno Selesho created her first poetry collection in 2010 while she was still in high school. In a society still healing and battling many ills, Selesho used her art to communicate, seeing her words as a powerful means to touch individuals not just intellectually, but also emotionally.
“Poetry to me is a form of an ability that does not just stimulate you intellectually, but also allows you to connect with others from different walks of life. Poetry captures what's so often confusing and articulates what's so often inarticulable. It’s an engaging platform that grants different people across cultures the opportunity to relate on the same issues, and doesn’t exclude anyone,” she said.
Being in a high school environment gave her the freedom to do what she liked when it came to drama and arts, granting Selesho access to audiences through live performances. It was during this time that the then 15-year-old wrote her first poem, titled Addiction, for a school talent show.
Selesho grew up in Pretoria and, at a young age, experienced her first slam poetry event through her sister. This set her on a path to pursue the art, and she fell in love with poetry even more, allowing her access to a platform that exposed her to other poets she had idolised from afar and now had the honour of performing alongside.
Her poetry has been a vehicle to inspire women and bring hope to fellow women, and become better through her craft. This is one of the reasons that she is featured in the latest visual collaboration series by Three Ships Whisky, an initiative that sees the renowned James Sedgwick Distillery act as a canvas for exceptional South Africans, who share the same passion, dedication and tenacity for their craft.
Watch the video here.
Three Ships Whisky marketing manager Meryll Stocks Roos said Selesho was selected not only because she personified all the elements of an extraordinary South African, but also shared the brand's optimistic outlook.
“The fourth part of the series features Selesho reciting her poem, Words that Grow, through the home of Three Ships Whisky, the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington. The poem is extremely personal and powerful, and one which we believe speaks of tenacity and relentless optimism.
“Selesho and her exploration of her talents also mirror the Three Ships Whisky journey. As a brand, the odds were stacked against us, too. The ground was deemed too hard to make whisky and the climate too harsh to preserve it. Despite this, we create one of SA’s finest whiskies, demonstrating that there is a path to success for every challenge, you just need the vision and talent to realise it.”
Through such campaigns, where a brand's story aligns with a South African, Selesho hopes that those who do not will take spoken art seriously, and that fellow poets will continue to dream bigger than the underground bars in which slam poetry is performed.
An excerpt from her poem:
Words that Grow
I am Puno. Puno the poet. I invite you to understand my words, and me. I have been told that I should have been born bitter and angry. In some spaces I am too women or too black.
The words I utter too women, too black. But I say No. My words are birthed from the soil in my own chest. People keep digging graves with every phrase, but I’m planting flowers instead.
This tongue is sharp, and I will shape my own exceptional reality, Using only the finest materials, like hope and humanity. What will your words be? Choose wisely. Let’s use words that grow well here, in South Africa.
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