An important part of self-publishing is promotion. I really want to help promote these 2 very special poets.
Shorty – a homeless poet from the streets of Melville
Gafsa – from Cape Town, living with a rare disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
Poverty – Gafsa Bux – published by Beyond The Vale Publishing is available from Amazon
Shorty’s Poems – Shorty – published by Burning Books is available from Amazon
Both books are available for sale at Beyond The Vale Books, 53 Harris Avenue, Edenvale.
Lets find out more about them – starting with Shorty:
What inspired you to first start writing?
I love writing and sharing my life with people. I wanted to be a story writer. I find that writing a book took me long and made me want to cry because there was a lot of pain I wanted to forget about but had to remember. And then I read a poetry book from the Highlands boys. Those boys wrote the poems themselves and it made me jealous to write my own. And then one day it was 2011, I wrote my first poems but didn’t take them seriously. Then in 2016 that’s when I started to take myself seriously when I was hurt, and I wrote a poem to my mum. I showed my poems to my friend outside Poppys. Her mum runs an orphanage, and had international visitors who performed dancing and singing but no poetry. She came to fetch me and I performed my poetry. I flew to CT for a big meeting and realized I could go far with my poetry. Then I met John West outside Hells Kitchen, and I recited him a poem. He told me that he loved my poetry and wanted to publish them. I was amazed, and didn’t think it would really happen. But then he gave me printed copies of my poems, that I could sell on the streets, and now I am a published poet.
Tell us a little about your poetry
It’s about me, about my life, about what I went through, and what I witness every day on the streets.
Where do your ideas come from?
They come from my mind. I always try to write everything, but I can’t. I get a phrase like “tears of a child” in my mind, and I write from there.
What is the message you are hoping to put out there? Or what are you hoping the readers will learn.
They learn that they are not alone. I am their voice. I let them know we are together through life.
Do you have a favourite time/place to write?
Where I sleep, and where I hang out with my friends. Even when I walk the streets, I don’t waste time, when ideas come into my mind, I write them down.
Do you have any plans to publish more poetry?
Yes, the second book is almost finished.
What’s your favourite book to read (or genre or author)?
I love reading John’s books, and books about Lucky Luciano. I used to stand at traffic lights, reading books and writing. When I left home, I told myself I was going to write, and be the best homeless person I can be.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love talking and sharing stories with my friends.
Thank you, Shorty. And now, Gafsa. This text (at Gafsa’s request) is reproduced with kind permission from Adelle Gascoyne of the Wild Sunshine Magazine. There’s a link to her magazine at the end of the feature.
It was my privilege to meet Mrs. Gafsa Garson (neé Bux) during the dreary winter months when we both participated in the Rivonia Book Fair.
Gafsa spent most of her career in the health sector and did various jobs from nursing to nursing management and health insurance. She was medically boarded in 2019 as suffering from a rare disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
EDS is a group of inherited disorders that makes skin translucent and easily bruised, damages connective tissue resulting in overly flexible joints or dislocation and dilation of the blood vessels that could even cause them to rupture. As a result, Gafsa is heavily reliant on a wheelchair as her arms and legs are in braces, which she jokingly refers to as her armour to keep her from falling apart, to prevent damage.
Chronic pain is a given with this disease and when you ask Gafsa to decribe herself, she will likely answer: “I’m a chronic pain survivor and disability advocate.”
EDS sufferers are known as zebras and the zebra and wheelchair has become a symbol for EDS.
Gafsa grew up in the Muslim Indian community in Cape Town and sadly no longer has much contact with them. Discrimination against women, divorcees and disabled people are rife and a thorn in her side.
As a pensioner, Gafsa has more free time on her hand and spends her time writing poetry and volunteering with local and international organisations. The volunteer work consists mainly of marketing, fundraising or simply encouraging people living with disability.
Her poems, which she writes on a cellphone using her thumbs, are frequently published in the newsletters of disability organisations giving expression to their plight through this artform among members.
She is passionate about improving the lives of people living with disability, although her focus is mainly on those living with physical disability.
Having more than a dozen co-morbidities herself has had to keep to strict self-isolation since the Covid-19 pandemic started. She dreams of travelling overseas, never having been outside South Africa, despite lockdown restrictions and limited mobility. She consoles herself with online travelling and talking to people around the world on social media and chatgroups for the disabled.
Her poetry bundle titled “Poverty–a collection of poems dedicated to disabled people living with rare diseases” was published through Beyond the Vale Publishing in 2020 and is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Gafsa writes mainly freeform poetry focussed on disability rights, encouragement for the disabled and their caregivers, and social commentary.
Gafsa is a divorcee and lives with her 70-year old dad. She is currently working on her second poetry bundle, to expand her poetry skills and reach a wider audience.
This article is also featured on the Wild Sunshine Magazine:
Help support these two great poets.