MASERU – A law student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Lerato Amelia Khatlisi, has become so engrossed in poetry as an art form that it has become her only conduit to convey and share her inner thoughts with the rest of the world.
Known to her friends and fan base as Arkey, Lerato likes poetry because she feels it is the most interesting way to deliver a message, an art that just pleases her soul.She says her writing poetry is inspired by her own emotions.“I was an extreme extrovert and I still am and I could not talk deeply about my feeling back then,” she says.Not so many people know that she is a poetess, a craft she began when she was in Standard 5 at primary school, she says.
A young girl when she started out, she contends that this should not be construed to mean she did not have major things to worry or write about, in fact she had plenty.Her joy, miseries, nature, family and may other issues also preoccupied her mind at the time.She just enjoyed writing.However, she did not start off as a poetess as she began her stage life as an actress in primary school where she would perform in front of crowds. This is where her journey as a poetess began and got nurtured when she got to high school.
Lerato told Life&Style that her first performance was so enticing and still remembers it as if it only happened yesterday, that is when she discovered that poetry is her calling too.She has written so much that, to date, she does not remember how many poems she has penned altogether, but she knows there are plenty.She is more comfortable writing poems in Sesotho, as it is easy for her to express her poetry in the language. Generally, she still uses any language that fits the poem, but she has fallen deeply in love with her home language.At first she would just use English language to write her poems.
Lerato enjoys writing informative poems and those through which she encourages her audience on several of life’s challenges. As she reads a poem, she wants to feel herself reciting it with emotions more like she wants to feel what a poem tells her and other people not just to read for the sake of reading.She wants to be able to do it as hers.The use of vocabulary (tlotlo-ntsoe as she calls it) also hypes her up and this makes her know if a poem is really “dope.”
Although she loves poetry so much at this moment she does not feel the need to compile a poetry book and publish it because “I just want to vent, mount the stage, play with my thing and dismount.”To move from English to Sesotho in her poetry, Lerato was inspired by Nthateng Mokhochane whose stage name is Sotho Poetess.She says Sotho Poetess really got to her as she is young, and going all out with poetry while embracing the Sesotho language.
Lerato likes Sotho Poetess and even got herself into a theatre club with her where they sometimes do impromptu performances, she says this awoke the creative in her.“It only takes me an hour to come up with a piece and polish it and I sometimes perform without a written piece,” she says.Lerato says she has always had the spirit of advocacy and as she grew up it transformed into a dream hence she decided to study law.“Unfortunately we only have one institution that offers that noble course in our country and I was forced by my desire to be a lawyer to come to NUL,” she says.