Skopje, 25 February 2020 (MIA) – The poems that Aleksandar Matovski, alias Cako, has been writing for the past ten or so years have been published in a collection of poems. This collection will be launched Tuesday, at 7 pm in the “Frosina” theater located in the Youth Cultural Center.
The title of the collection, I am Cako, sounds like an invitation to get to know the author, though he needs no special introduction. Aleksandar, better known by the nickname given to him by his grandmother – Cako – is well known to the public. He is a young man with Down syndrome, but he is also a young man with a full life, a curiosity for new things, and the energy necessary to devote himself to them.
The activist and human rights fighter, who has spoken at the World Down syndrome Congress, has a brown belt in karate, and he is a member of an international medal winning dance club. He has also been hosting an internet radio show titled the same as his poetry collection – “I am Cako”, on Radio MOF every last Wednesday of the month, as well as having been a journalist for the street paper Face to Face. He is also a member of the Inclusive Solutions associations KRIK and Trisomija 21.
He graduated from the School of Pedagogy in Skopje the previous year, and since February 3, 2020 – his 29th birthday, he has been employed at the City of Skopje to help contribute towards the social protection of persons with disabilities.
In his free time, he enjoys to read. Apart from Macedonian authors, he likes ex-Yugoslavian authors, his favorite being Ivo Andrić.
When we met him at Literatura.mk, the bookstore which sells his poetry collection, published by Ars Libris, he recommended some books to us: The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time and Why me? by Martin Jovanoski, because it’s about psychology, something Cako has a special interest in.
The review of his book describes his poems as gentle and simple, written as lyrical images, in the way Cako experienced them. They center around love: love for his family, his grandfather in particular, women, nature, his idol, the late pop star Toshe Proeski, and life as a whole.
“They are pieces of the mosaic comprising the I am Cako syntagm. He threads them like pearls, one for each loved person in his life. The poems are sources of pure emotion from someone who lives life to the fullest, whose motto is ‘When a person loves, they can do more’. His poetry, as well as all he does, is inspirational for every person with disabilities,” his book publisher says.
“I guarantee that it’ll be beautiful and emotional because the poems are like that. I draw inspiration from positive people, some kind of event, or a walk through the park. I draw inspiration from everything that surrounds us,” Cako told MIA for the forthcoming book launch.
I am Cako is becoming a sort of trademark for him.
“It is an honor to have my book named the same as my show. I believe in its power and it makes me proud. This shows off the effort I put into the book’s creation,” Cako said.
He didn’t say much about his work day at the Department of Social and Children’s Protection and Healthcare. He said he talked about his work-related tasks at the press conference 20 days ago. Cako expressed his gratitude and said he would contribute his experience in social work, garnered in multiple European countries. He thanked his sister, Marija, and his family who supports him most.
“I would like to point out that I got the job right on my birthday,” our cheerful interviewee says. His responsibility towards his work was shown to us when he accepted to talk about his book only after work hours.
Does he have any free time now for the things he does, particularly dancing and his radio show, and where does he find the energy to accomplish it all? His answer is simple, “I’m good with time management”.
“I have a plan every day, you know. The secret is that dancing and the radio show are hobbies of mine. They relax me and give me energy for each day, where I know exactly what I need to do,” Cako says, enthusiastically.
It means a lot to him to be an inspiration for Down syndrome youth. He knows that he’s achieved a lot, that he is successful and that many people follow him in his footsteps.
“Lots of people named me ‘Person of the Year’ last year. It’s challenging, it’s hard work, but it means a lot to me. I want to set an example for young people with Down syndrome, as well as every person with disabilities, and show them that the impossible can be made possible,” Aleksandar Matovski-Cako says.
Translator: Dragana Knežević
Photo: Frosina Nasković