Hi. This is Cinga Dyala, originally from Ndevana Location, in the Eastern Cape, just outside King William’s Town. I know I introduce myself in a little weird way, but I just feel alive when I introduce myself like that- that’s even weirder, I know. Anyway, I am a word artist. The wave of passion for words hit me when I was 14 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was on a very sunny Saturday morning. I woke up, next to my sister, Vuyokazi, who was still fast asleep. I got up and went over to my bag, to get a pen and an examination pad. I can’t explain what was going on in my head while I was looking for my pen and exam pad, but something was pushing me to quickly get the stationary and settle down. I got back into bed and sat upright, positioning my back against the headboard, and then magic happened. I found myself in a world I never knew existed, and I can’t lie and say I was not overwhelmed. When I was done writing my very first poem, I held the examination pad and stared at my own handwriting. I’m not sure whether I was reading the poem or not, but I was just staring, on some “what have I done?” mode. I was shocked. After that poem, I wrote another one, and another and another one.

I was still very young at that time, and growing up in a place where art was not even recognized. Even at school, art was not given enough attention, so I decided to focus on debate, because it was thought provoking and very exciting for me as well. I remember the day I made that decision. It was at night, and the lights were off. I sat down with myself and told myself that I needed to focus on my school work and anything school related. I went on to convince myself that I would never completely stop writing poems, but I would just put it on hold for a while. I promised myself that after matric, I would go and study anything related to the direction my career interest was taking. When I got to matric, I reminded myself of the promise I made to that newly discovered poet who was so eager to carry on spitting words that were oozing straight from her soul. I was not reminding myself because I had forgotten, no. I was reminding myself because I knew it was not going to be easy for me to say it at home. Nobody was going to understand. Where I come from, art has always been known as just a hobby. Because of the pressure to fit in, I ended up breaking the promise I made to my younger self.

After so many years of trying to be someone else, only to be accepted by the society, I decided to leave everything else and become the person I was meant to be- a writer. Within the writing space, I’ve found my true passion in storytelling. I have been telling stories ever since I started this journey. I have recently finished a story I’ve been writing for a couple of months and now I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. This is what I have in mind; On Mondays (Rainbow Mondays), we will have heart-to heart discussions about who Cinga is and the stories she has written for you, connecting them with our everyday lives. I strongly believe in positivity and I would love to spread it to everyone around me. On Fridays (Friendly Fridays), we will post interviews. I will be interviewing artists, and getting to know them better. I will be creating a platform for other artists to introduce themselves to a different audience, and strengthening their relationships with their existing fan-base. Their fans will visit the site, to read more about their favorite artists, and to also get to know the person behind the amazing work that has stolen people’s hearts. Followers will also be allowed to ask questions and the artists will answer as much as they can. Of course, they might not get to answer each and every question or respond to every comment.

I will be sharing my thoughts, views, experiences with each story that I’ve written for you guys. Remember, this is not my spotlight, but this is our space. As I share my story, you guys will also share your thoughts, views and experiences with reading each story I’ve written. I want to read your interpretations of each and every subject that I have brought up in each story. It would not make sense to discuss the whole story in one post, so we will unpack them and deal with one storyline per post. I will be creative about it, don’t worry. It will be as exciting to you, as it is to me. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… *drum roll* the new exciting journey between an artist and her followers!! *crowd cheers and Cinga bows down*.

Excuse me for that, I can be a little crazy sometimes. On a serious note though, I feel we as artists are not well connected with our followers. We don’t get enough platforms to engage our followers on issues off stage, or off camera. Our followers need to know who we are, they need to know where we come from and what it took for us to get to where we are today. Each artist should have a voice. An identity. Our followers need to know what they are supporting, and how much their support is appreciated. This space is specifically for the strengthening of the artist-follower relationship. Who knows, you might also come across other interesting artists to follow and get to know about things happening around you.

I sincerely hope that the idea will be welcomed by warm hearts, as it is still a new born baby that needs a lot of time and work invested in it, for it to grow and develop into something better. I am open to suggestions and advices from other knowledgeable people that will join this new family. Also, you will be allowed to suggest artists that you wish to read more about, and I will take it from there. On my journey to get to know my followers, I want to have my siblings from the world of art, next to me, holding my hand. I don’t want to enjoy this experience alone. I want other artists to experience it as well.

To my fellow artists, this is our space. Let’s all own it. Do not hesitate to contact me and ask to be interviewed too. I would actually be very happy if that would happen. This space will be safe for us all, because we will be sharing it with people who love us unconditionally. Respect will be the anthem, as everyone who will be a member of the family will know how to address the next person, whether in a discussion or in private. We are not always going to agree about everything, you know, sometimes we will disagree and that is when we will need to show respect the most. Nobody is smarter than other people, therefore, no comment or question is smarter than the next. I know and trust that we will work really well together.

Thank you so much for your time, the first interview will be on Friday the 20th of October 2017 (Friendly Fridays). I think it would be more interesting if I wouldn’t reveal who the artist will be. Bye for now, see you on Friday.