"Ke mokgampa wa tshukudu o eme tsatsing, moriti one ke ditsebe." That is an introductory line from a young poet, Edwin Moroka from Goo Ranato ward in Kanye who usually serenades crowds with his poetry and deep-rooted Setswana linguistics.
Though not academically gifted in linguistics, he surely sounds like an expert in Setswana whenever he belts out many native language words. His diction is mature, he says numbers in Setswana. He speaks pragmatically and never utters any single English language word in his complete sentences.
His genius is unquestionable and compared to many youth of his age, his devotion to Setswana language is unparalleled. Describing his talents may sound poetic, but never ironic because he is a praise poet.
Speaking to Arts & Culture, Moroka was not eager to reveal his age, but he said as a young poet he uses rich Setswana language.
“Setswana sa mmakgomo, sa boloko,” he said describing it. Moroka was quick to say that most people are interested in knowing about his style of poetry because of his uniqueness compared to other youth out there. “I have been compared to elders, but knowledge wise, age is only the difference,” he said.
The Setswana poet said his poetry is synonymous with Setswana language. “Poetry has always been in me and I came to unearth that later when I was studying at Boitekanelo College,” he said. He added people told him that he was hiding a diamond and now it is shining. He said poetry is something he was not taught but rather he
Moroka said that poetry these days compels one to research. “I don’t write. Stanzas just come from the top of my head,” he declared. Moroka said he performs mostly in Botswana during ceremonies like weddings and corporate events.
He said he has dispersed his love for Setswana throughout the country and is currently spreading the word through radio stations. “I have volunteered for two programmes in Duma FM called Sekhutlo sa Banngwe and Sefalana sa Ngwao,” he said. He said as a resident of the Old Naledi, he has even visited schools like Tshwaragano Primary School to teach students. Moroka, however, was quick to acknowledge that support is still lacking from Batswana.
“Batswana are still hesitant about poetry and as poets we should show them that this is a talent and we can make a career out of it,” he said.
Moroka said Batswana think poetry has grown as a result of the President’s Day Competitions, but they have never questioned the quality. The young poet said he might be a praise poet, but generally he recites about everything.