A TALE FROM BETLHEM He could easily be the voice of reason in a world that seems to have lost its moral compass and continues to slide into anarchy with every day passing. Victor Johannes Bayi is such a prolific poet that it is surprising that his biggest wish is still to recite at a regional radio station called Ligwalagwala's DJ Musa Nkosi's Poetry Session programme. He should be out there with Mos Def and Common conscientising the world. Reading his works and listening to him recite raises the question of what type of poets are invited to grace the public broadcaster's airwaves at the expense of gifted souls like Bayi? Surely, many mediocre souls have been heard defiling the ears of listerners while word soldiers are forever kept in trenches, beyond the mandate of the war. Victor lives at Tsakane Village (Marite) and confesses that he has been writing poetry since 2003, but his level of articulation defies such a confession. "I have written poetry with themes in line with SABC's Lentswe programme. I responded when they invited people to send their material last month (October 2007) but I haven't heard anything from them", he humbly grumbled. What he didn't know is that they had already filmed their show in Nelspruit, 'snubbing' his worthy contribution and those of other talented Mpumalanga poets. But Victor is philosophical about his chances of achieving prominence in literary circles in a country as divided according to class as South Afrika. "Tsakane is very rural and chances of someone making it are very slim. Even if you have talent you don't know who to turn to", he says. Talent is something he has in abundance, an opportunity seems to be the missing part in this large puzzle. He wanted to recite his HIV/AIDS poem during the December 01 World Aids Day celebrations at a bigger platform but seems to be at loss at how the people he sees doing so during government events ever get chosen. He lost out, it was actually the organisers' loss. His piece titled If is seminal and raises many moral questions that continue to dog society today. It's written from a defeated person's perspective which he says is a reflection of the attitude of the leadership towards all the moral morass. In Ooh Afrika he muses, "is it the thirst that makes you spill innocent blood Afrika". He has got poetry that cuts across and which can be relevant in Afrika, Europe and any part of the world with civil wars, AIDS, crime and suffering. His is indeed a voice of reason waiting to be discovered in a world full of chaos. Victor, who says he mostly bounces his new verses on his best friend Adelaide Mthiyane (21) also says that not everything he writes about happened to him but he observes and interpretes society's behavior while walking a mile in its shoes, no matter how big. And he has very harsh messages for young women who think that selling their bodies will bring them wealth. Victor sees opportunities and says everyone must seize their piece of the pie. As this 23-years old bard catches the early bus for his job at a laundry in Hazyview he's got only two wishes, to recite his Valentine poem at Ligwalagwala FM and his social commentaries at the station and public events as well. It's a wish that seems not too far given the talent of this young man who comes from a place synonymous with crime, which is reason enough why he should be given a chance to prove to other young people in Marite that 'not only crime is hip'. "The sweetest form of love/ dwells under my shadow/ I'll take you to the caravan of love/ I today pronouce myself your Romeo/ please be my Juliet", he writes in his Valentine's Day poem. Victor can be contacted at 0783741564.