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16 October 2014

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The Bards of Bonymaen

By Kate Kelly
January 2003, Bonymaen
A digital story from Capture Wales

Poetry in Bonymaen

Kate works as a community development trainee in Swansea. Here she tells us what it is like living in Bonymaen and how anywhere can be magical.

"This is not a fairytale...

Once upon a time there was a quiet, sleepy village at the foot of a great hill. The outside has told tales of burning beacons lighting up the sky and of strange tribal markings on the buildings... warning their children... don't go into the village!
Locals telling their children... don't leave the village, whatever you do! But the bards of Bonymaen tell a different story.

Legends of the Roman soldier, fire-breathing dragons, the ancient standing stone and the proud leaf clad green man watching over the village. Stories for telling... magic.

There's magic in Bonymaen, but not just from old monuments and legends thouands of years old but from them... Muka - Most United Knowlegable Artists...the day Johannesburg met Bonymaen... the village where others feared to go.

They came to us to sing out their stories... danced to their rhythms, and to share their legends with Bonymaen... two cultures living and talking together; making children and adults laugh.

Magic doesn't only come from legends... I think it can come from the smiles of people and those who make them smile... Muka Magic... I know, I was there.

And now I've got a story to tell... something inspirational that happened to me... six weeks of stories, six weeks of magic... so now Muka take their place with the legends of Bonymaen and I take my place with the storytellers - the bards of Bonymaen.

This is not a fairytale... there are no fairies in it."

Kate Kelly

Please tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Bonymaen all of my life and have grown up listening to the local legends and stories. There is something that gels people together here and adds some magic to everyday life.

What's your story about?
People and places are often labelled through the media - this has a huge impact on my community. Bonymaen is seen as one of the "worst" areas in Swansea. Anyway, MUKA, Most United Knowledgeable Artists from Hillsbrow, Johnannesburg, one of the roughest areas in the world stayed in Bonymaen last year for six weeks. I was actually witnessing one of those fairytale stories for myself.
I made the digital story because I wanted to share six of the most incredible weeks ever! I also wanted to share my community and the stories we have to others.

How did you find the workshop experience?
The best thing about making the digital story was discovering the secrets of the digital camera and being given the opportunity to photograph Bonymaen as I was making the story. We are living in a digital world and I am a digital girl!

Your comments

"I'm glad you enjoyed and appreciate your comment.I know how bad Bonymaen has been and can be but i just wanted to turn the whole idea of the negative into something a little magical and fantastical.Unless anyone gives me photographic evidence of a dragon strutting along Colwyn Avenue or Prince Charming turns up at my door confessing his undying love for me then your right,Bonymaen aint as good as I made it out!Thank you all for your comments" kate kelly.

"What a lovely story and story teller, it reminds me of Burton reading Thomas." Sparks.

"I thought it was absolutely amazing! A true story told by a gifted storyteller! I'm still speechless!!" Ryan James, Swansea, Wales.

"I thought the story was a unique show of obvious talent, and passion. this young lady will go very far in the world of storytelling. thank you for the inspiration." Ralph Wigam, Bonymaen, Wales.

"Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this story. What a very passionate young lady! Really great to know that legends survive through our children." Mr Davies, Cardiff, Wales.

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