Tormented by the Poetic spirit

Boitumelo Maswabi
DOING HER THING: Madisa reciting a poem

Elaine Madisa caught Yours Truly’s attention recently at a gathering of notable women, where she recited a powerful poem titled ‘Emang Basadi’, a rallying call to, and a deep appreciation of, her fellow females.

For the 27-year-old devout Christian, who describes her poetry as largely motivational and ‘ministerial’, the literary art form has become the metaphorical balm of Gilead to soothe and heal herself and others.

The University of Botswana (UB) Political Science and Public Administration degree holder has graced many stages, the highlight being the Bot50 Independence Eve Celebration in 2016 at a packed National Stadium.

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Currently an alumna of the Model Parliament Botswana under Young Minds Africa, Madisa is also a mentor at Girls for Girls Botswana – an empowerment programme that aims to foster leadership skills in young individuals. On top of this, she graduated from the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs and Institute of Entrepreneurial Development.

Born and raised in an extended family where she struggled to be heard, let alone seen, Madisa found solace in poetry, not only as a form of expression and storytelling, but as a tool to empower those, like her, who were confronted by similar adversity.

“I grew up shy with low self-esteem within an extended family of outgoing characters, which meant at times I felt overpowered in situations that made me feel inferior. I hated confrontation so I bled through ink on paper; what I couldn’t speak out, I turned into motivation through poetry. I have loved the arts and writing as far back as Raserura Primary School; getting involved in poetry, music, acting, and taking part in short plays. However, it was at Moselewapula JSS that I was introduced to an art group, whose mandate was to point the youth to Christ, which availed more opportunities for me to recite,” she explains, adding through writing she tells stories of empowerment to remind her peers of their capabilities and to minister the Word of God and give hope and heal.

As a timid yet chirpy youngster, the Morwa native drew inspiration from the Bible and figures like Moses.

“From a young age, I attended church with my grandmother, so I feel my poetry is a God-given talent. The story of Moses, who was a stammerer, resonates with me. I never thought I could grow up to speak in front of people but God is using that same weakness to do the opposite through poetry and the spoken word. The source of my talent is God and so the doctrines and teachings inspire it and my life experiences. I write when emotionally provoked, when inspired, or when tasked with a theme for a specific event or gathering,” she reveals, adding she writes even during church service.

Following an invitation to recite at two events hosted by Women Achievers last year – which she says was a dream come true – Madisa is now part of the 2024 mentorship cohort.

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A member of the arts group, Glorious Cloud, Madisa names Dr Lame Pusetso and Anthony Molosi, as well as American activist and author, Maya Angelou, among some of the prolific poets that inspire her writing.

She recently published a book, ‘Torment of the Poetic Spirit’, taken from the title of what she calls her breakthrough poem.

“I didn’t know how to explain to the rest of the world my deep passion of poetry and this piece explains the reason and mandate of my doing poetry: to minister to lives or anyone impacted by my work. I have a soft spot for women perhaps since I grew up around them. I aspire to see women in spheres of leadership. To be able to empower women through poetry is the best blessing ever and my gift to them to remind them that they carry the Crown of Grace and the world is a better place because of them,” notes the gifted wordsmith, who will perform at the Worshippers in One Accord slated for April 26th at the invitation of one Psalmist Gape, to preach the mandate of the Kingdom of God and worship through poetry.

Switching from preaching to politics, Voice Woman asked the Model Parliamentarian: What role can poetry play in the fight or struggle against voter apathy?

“Arts can be used to highlight the importance of voting and the significance of being politically aware and informed. It is a wise thing to want to know what is happening around us. Whether we like it or not, we have to understand politics affect our daily lives.”

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Rise in male-dominated industries
Awake lioness
Emang Basadi
Rise jetsetter, hard worker, superstar
The world awaits your manifestation
Of women, you awake lioness
The society and global village
Is longing for a touch of your dominion
Ushering nations in calm and harmony
Provide as the Good Samaritan woman
Not just for me, for my livestock to drink, too

Her pride as the fabric that hugs upon her body
High stilettos that leave a mark as she enters the room
A woman, an awake roar
I call her to Rise!

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