Sharon Kirezi Bayingana finds comfort in penning her thoughts and opinions in form of poetry. The 17-year-old author of ‘Let me Be’, a poem motivated by the challenges young girls and women face, would love to see her work inspire change and good in people.
The award-winning poet had a chat with Donah Mbabazi about Spoken Word, an art that is steadily gaining ground among young Rwandans.
You are a young poet. At what point did you embrace your love for the spoken word?
I was in Senior Two when the idea came up. I had an assignment to write a poem for a class presentation.
It was fun to play with words and come up with something that actually made sense. So from that point, I decided to continue with it.
How do you define this art and what inspires your poems?
I define this art as verbalising emotions and thoughts. There are many things we do not know how to express, except through art, and for me, it is poetry.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? What are some of the things people need to understand about the concept behind feminisms?
I am definitely not a feminist! But I do believe in equality for both sexes.
What are you trying to communicate with your poems?
I wouldn’t say I am targeting a certain group of people; I go with the flow and I like doing it because it is my solace. I write my poems and only hope that they can actually be a source of inspiration.
You are scheduled for a trip to the US with iDebate this month. What issues will you tackle exactly?
We will talk about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how it has affected the post-genocide generation. We will also raise awareness on conflict and genocide at every platform.
Do you think poems can effectively send a message across in society?
It depends on what society we are talking about, but generally, yes. I believe poetry may be a form of propaganda so if well spread, it can definitely send a message across.
Have you received any awards?
I actually have. For two consecutive years, that is 2013 and 2014, I won the best poet award from High School Idol.
Some people are under the impression that poetry is hard….
For young girls and young boys, they should understand that it is not difficult at all. I do not think poetry is hard but again, not all are able to do it because one may not be gifted in that field. But there is always something one does best, so I suggest they find that too.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to start university this January to pursue a degree in Communications. I do not plan to do poetry on a professional level.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
As crazy as this may sound, I do not have one person who inspires me. I admire a lot of traits from different people and for now, I have not found a person who embodies all of them.
How can young girls be motivated to think critically and creatively in a way that can impact society?
Young girls should look at what the community needs first. This will help them make decisions that they have thoroughly thought about.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
Do not have a calendar. Some people have their plans scheduled on when to write, or something like that, and it probably works for them. But it has never worked for me. I write whenever I feel like it.