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Meet the Poets: Linathi Makanda

Linathi Thabang Makanda is a twenty-two-year-old South African-based writer of poetry and prose. A Communications and Marketing student and self-taught photographer, she strives to portray genuine emotion through her writing and photographic art. An avid reader, Linathi also has a great interest in music and all forms of visual expression.

Readers are fascinated to learn the process of writing a poem. Can you tell us about your process and how long a poem takes to compose?

My writing process is very fluid. I’ve learnt more each time to let my work take whatever shape it wants to take. The same applies to time taken to write, some pieces take longer to finish either because they require a lot from me spiritually and emotionally and some take a shorter time because they come to me as finished products.

How did you get into poetry? Was it a calling?

I started writing because I was in love with genre. I read it a lot. However, as my journey with writing progresses, I am realising that this is a place I have been called to.

Does geography or culture influence your poetry?

In some instances, yes but for the bigger part of things, my work is governed by what my heart demands me to write at the time.

Have you ever delved into other forms of writing?

Yes, I do write for purposes of blogging.

What would you be doing if you were not able to write poetry?

I would probably still be trying to find another avenue of expression within the arts. I don’t see myself expressing myself in other spheres.

Who are your favourite poets?

Warsan Shire, Trista Mateer, Ijeoma Omebinyuo

Do you feel that the love of poetry has declined in the modern world?

No, I think the art form evolving over the years has prompted more people to indulge in it. There are a lot of writers with different things to say and I think there is space for all those stories to find even more people who will resonate with them.


When No One Is Watching is a compilation of poems about love and the loss thereof, trauma and the dark reflections that come with it. It is a depiction of sides that people don’t readily show, sides of vulnerability, insecurity and tiny amounts of hope. One could say it is the result of shedding light into a world of secrecy, escapism, an alternate reality belonging to an alternate version of an individual. When No One Is Watching is the truth in its purest form.

Available in paperback and ebook here and from Amazon, Bookshop.org, or your favourite online bookstore or online retailer.

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