Krip-Hop Nation (KHN): We met last December while KHN did a tour in South Africa & you were apart of the journalist workshop with Simon Manda Tell us about that experience.
Daphney Twala: I heard great things about you before you came to South Africa and when I finally met you I was full of excitement, and scored myself your poetry book. I enjoyed the journalism course because it gave me the power to be the voice of persons with disabilities through writing article about them and sharing their stories to the world. I now have an experience in generating story ideas, being able to network.
KHN: Give tthe reader a window into living in Johannesburg, Gauteng as a African woman artist with a disability.
Daphney Twala: Johannesburg is “the city of gold” as they call it. For me it a busy place and everyone is living that fast life and chasing their dreams. It is not as easy for me being a person with a disability in terms of accessibility but for the fact that there’s different people with different life styles, that on its own is awesome.
KHN: Tell us about the poetry scene in Johannesburg and your experience reading your poetry in public.
Daphney Twala: Joburg is very big on art. We have different places where either during the week or in weekends artist are performing. We have the Word N Sound poetry and music events happening on a regular basis. I fell in love with poetry at a very young age but reciting poetry to different people and getting to see how they feel my style is awesome.
KHN: I love the artwork on the cover! Can you describe it annd tell us why you used it as the cover & explain the title of the book?
Daphney Twala: When Myra Lochner from the publishing company Kreativ SA showed me what her son did for the front cover of my book, I just fell in love with it. That painting of a lady with a guitar just melted my heart. The title of the book is Purposely Designed. This is actualy a title of one of the poems which explains why I have a disability. It was actually a way of explaining to a four years old child why I was born this way. So Purposely Designed explains that Satan stole the rubber when God was designing, instead of God chasing him He decided to put me on earth with four fingers shot to prove to Satan that I don’t need “normal hands” to live a “normal life” hence I am purposely designed.
KHN: The first poem, Bear with me, in your new book, Purposely Designed, is a tender and very open piece. Why start your book with this poem and are you talking to your future lover or?
Daphney Twala: Bear with me is a very personal poem. Yes in some way it is written for my future lover but I’m just an open person. I am a strong person at heart however my hands are not strong enough so now and again I will assistance more especially as I grow older the straining it gets for my hands. So I could say that it is a basic introduction to someone who might be interested in me that they know I will not stay as strong as I am, so when it happens they will remember that I have mentioned it earlier on. That’s pretty much weird I know.
KHN: For our english readers given us more info about your poem, Ungubani, who are you?
Daphney Twala: That poem is written in both Isizulu language and English. It is based on a woman who loved a man so much that she stayed throughout the abuse until she died in the arms of the one she loved. Each time she was beaten up her lover would say the things she wanted to hear, touch her in the right places and she would forgive him. But when her lover turned into a drug and alcohol addict she realized that this wasn’t the man she fell in love with. Hence she asks Ungubani which means who are you. The night she packed all her things to leave, her lover beaten her up in a way that she died in the arms of the one she loved.
KHN: Do you know of any other disabled poets in Johassnburg and have you performed with any other disabled poets?
Daphney Twala: Yes I have met other spoken word artists with disabilities. I have shared the stage with most of them but there is these two artist I would love to share a stage with. They are Mak Manaka and Leroy Moore.
KHN: Tell us more about NCPD – National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities
and your role in it.
Daphney Twala: The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilitis is an NGO which has 77years of existence. We fight for the rights of persons with disabilities through advocating and facilitating inclusion, access and economic empowerment. NCPD has two projects; Casual Day which happens on every first Friday of September. It is a fund raising project for persons with disabilities of which stickers and t-shirts based on different themes every year are being sold in support of persons with disabilities. Nappy run which happens in every first Saturday of November is a project which raises awareness of children with disabilities and their need for nappies by joining us for a fun walk/run and donate nappies as well.
I am a placement officer for NCPD, I help find jobs for persons with disabilities. And I am both a Nappy Run and Casual Day Ambassador
KHN: This is your first book so are you planning to continue to write poetry and do you have any other artistic plans in the future?
Daphney Twala: I am a crafted poem and my heart pumps up lyrical blood, I will always be a poetry writer. People should look out for Twala Sisters Pty Ltd which our company with Mapule Twala (my sister). We have big plans which I cant disclose now but what I can say is that we are two young woman hungry to make a change in this world. I want to travel the world preaching word of art, inspiring people, writing books and that’s what I have for my future.
KHN: What’s your advice to young women with disabilities who want to write and be publish like you?
Daphney Twala: Never ever make your disability an excuse for you not to reach your goals. In fact, to me disability is nothing else but just dissing the ability. Doing things in ways which seems impossible. Be out there, do your best to help yourself and when people see that, that’s when they will be interested to help you.
KHN: Any last words & where can people buy your book and stay incontact with you?
Daphney Twala: Before we judge people can we at least stare at ourselves in the mirror to see if we are perfect. At this moment only I have copies of the book but my only wish is for Purposely Designed to be available worldwide.
People can get in touch with me on these social media accounts;
Facebook Daphney Twala
Pic: Daphney Twala on stage sitting on a stole laughing with her book in her hands with a sign in back of her that reads Casual Day and a young man standing net to her.