Six of us eagerly waited backstage. We listened for hours as poets, comedians and singers took the chance to show off their skills.
The rappers were told that we’d be going on last at the Tshwane University of Technology talent show, so we had no choice but to sit and wait. Then came heartbreak.
A co-ordinator came to tell us that the event had gone over time. They’d only be allowing one of us to perform. After all that time waiting, just to be told to go home! None us wanted to give up the opportunity to go on stage and perform to hundreds of students.
We decided to battle for it. Three guys chickened out before we even got going, leaving a trio of us to go to war. I let the other two go first. After that, the one dude came at me hard, dissing me in vernac for rapping like all the other American hip-hop stars.
I took it in my stride and hit back. I dished out rhymes crafted from my own experiences, designed around my life, nobody else’s. The judges — other rappers backstage with us — agreed that I was worthy of the opportunity at the mic.
The crowd thought I was a dancer at first. In my act I like to throw some moves in before I get going properly — they cheered as the DJ dropped the beat and I came out from behind the curtain.
Once I had them warmed up, I knew the time was right. When the bass reached crescendo I launched into the lyrics. The people went crazy. I rapped with every shred of energy in me, delivering the ability I know I have.
The audience stayed on their feet the whole time. — Elvis Pieters (25), as told to Luke Feltham