Monthly Archives: July 2012


My name is Ian Kamau; I am an artist. I believe my ability to create and communicate is intimately tied to my purpose in life although I am unsure of exactly how.

I am a writer, producer and a graphic/visual artist. I perform what I write so I also consider myself a performer, I make music and write poetry; spoken word. I do not think of myself as an entertainer.

Ian Kamau (A Long Walk 2 of 3)_ Prayers from Ian Kamau on Vimeo.

I was born and raised in Toronto to Trinidadian parents who immigrated to North America in 1970. My parents are documentary filmmakers, my mother a producer, my father a writer and director from a family of teachers. I grew up around ideas, information, education and art. I hope my entire life will be immersed in this kind of creativity.

Art is the creative expression of our humanity. The greatest artists are those who have the ability to create inspiring work while communicating ideas and powerful messages to everyday people.

Ian Kamau (A Long Walk 3 of 3)_ The Village from Ian Kamau on Vimeo.

Art and music instigate larger conversations. I believe music is the greatest communicator because most of us listen to it in one form or another. While some may never go to an art gallery or theatre production the majority of us listen to and appreciate a musical form of some kind.

Making music has taken me around the world, it has opened doors to experiences I never dreamed I would have and has put me in the position to have conversations with a diversity of interesting individuals, these conversations have helped to open my mind and my spirit.

Ian Kamau_ The Village (One Day Soon) from Ian Kamau on Vimeo.

I believe in community. My creative life extends to my work in community development, specifically with arts-based projects for young people. That side of my life has always run parallel to my artistic life and reminds me of the importance of expression, inspiration and opportunity.

My desire is to put my thoughts and experiences into the world so that I may enter into a larger conversation with people in different places. I am an artist who wants to continue to be creative and support others in being creative while finding my purpose.

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EVENT: Word N Sound Xtra Presents Ian Kamau (Canada), Nonn Botha and Tom London

R40 @ the door
12 – 6pm
Emonti Dinner On Bree (Newtown)

Word N Sound Xtra goes Outernational as we bring you Canadian Super poet and MC Ian Kamau.

POETRY MEETS NEW MEDIA Workshops by Nonn Botha (Kaya FM) & Tom London.

A limited Open Mic will start the show, so come through early to sign up.

A special performance by Afurakan is also on the cards. He will be giving an exclusive preview of the poetry set He will be performing in London at the end of the month.

See you there …

In #wordnsound we trust

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A major upset because we have never made such an error since the beginning of Word N Sound. So there is a correction that needs to be made and an apology that must be offered.

I calculate the scores each month and give the names of the Top 5 to Afurakan to announce. This month however I made an error in which names I handed over.

It would appear that I now owe Mpho Khosi an apology for denying his poem, that was impeccably crafted and beautifully performed, a spot in the Top 5. In our tightest results yet, Mpho actually came in 1 point after Mandi our Queen of The Mic.

The official top five is;
1. Mandi Poefficient 91 points
2. Mpho Khosi 90 points
3. Conelius Jones and Forgotten Planet 87.5 points
4. Masai Dabula 85.5 points
5. Concept TIM 85 points

So we’ll run with this Top 5 at next month’s show (4 August). This means there will only be 9 spots open on the day for the open mic.

To ensure such silliness never happens again. I will make sure one of the Word N Sound crew take a second look at the scores before handing them over for Top 5 announcement.

Mpho, I apologise yet again for my grave error, your poem was close to flawless and that Donald Byrd number in the back…yoh, FIRE!

PS: If this was a reality show, this mix up would have made for good TV neh?

Qhakaza Mthembu
Word N Sound Co-Founder


1.    Brother, we really have missed you. Where have you been and what have you been up to?
I’m humbled to hear that, dear sister.  I trust you visited my website and the blog ( every once in awhile to remember that even when I am not around I have left pieces of me in many spaces so that I can always be found.

Well I have learnt throughout the years that the stage and performance creates a certain need for over-productivity in us artists which at times leads to an oversaturation of our works.  As much as I love the space one must retreat every now and then to remember that it is in living that one finds the life breath of Art.  So I have been taking care of the life breath of the Art that I do, whether through speaking to my Badimo, God, rivers, mountains or people.  I would say I have been in myself learning to see God in all.

2.    How has your upbringing influenced and moulded your work and headspace?
Most days I barely know how to point out the relationship because I’m learning more and more every day that there is much about my upbringing that was the responsibility of the intangible that I have yet to find ways of accounting for- not that I owe anyone an explanation though- in a manner this reality can comprehend.

My father was a Ndau-e healer and when I was very young there were always ceremonies held at home.  There were drums beating everywhere, men dressed in healer adornments would share dances and spaces with me.  I had my own beads, school was too easy- I didn’t study- but humans were hard for me to comprehend.

I knew my father had helped many people close to death to come back and live again.  So magic and strangeness has always been a family thing.   But so too has darkness.

My father was very abusive.  There were days that I would have to stand between his drunken self and my loving mother when they would fight.  My mother has always been my guide at how to live with the power of love and how to remain rooted in that power when things turned against you.

So my work celebrates both the light and darkness that make up life while praising the love that binds all, no matter how painful that may be at times.

Read some Khalil Gibran, Toni Morrison, or Ben Okri to better comprehend what I’m trying to convey.

3.    Your profile says you’ve spent a decade practicing your craft, nurturing it and learning ways to better tell the Afrikan story. What is the Afrikan story you would like us all to hear?
I can sound like some old aged Afrikanist sometimes neh?  Aha Aha Aha.  ‘The road to hell is paved with good intention’, I have heard some say.

Not the Afrikan story that the politicians need to maintain their hierarchies; not the Afrikan story that the churches need to maintain to keep their temples and tents warmed by followers; not even the one that keeps the mental institutions flooded; nor the one that has healers drawing more and more from the darkness to survive.

An honest story reminding humanity of its oneness with all and its need to take heed of the lessons from its experiences. Should these lessons not be learnt the experiences shall be relived over and over again.  Would you not say that this is a summary of human history?

4.    How has the response to your book ‘Read, Write Dreams Into Life’ been and will you be bringing some with you on Saturday?
In terms of book sales it hasn’t been much to write home about.  +/- 300  copies sold thus far.  It is the responses of those who were brave enough to share their experiences of the work after reading it that have reminded me to remain guided by love.

I launched the book in my township to ignite the belief in dreams in those around me and that day still remains etched in the memories of the many who attended.  It was my first official performance at home and in front of my mother. Even my white primary school teachers drove +/- 50km to my township, Tumahole, to share the experience.

It has also though made me realize how a culture of reading is not that established even at poetry events, the demand seems to be for audio offerings and not book offerings.

5.    What challenges did you come across with publishing your own anthology?
I struggled to get the funds for the printing costs.  As you know a lot of poetry events’ organizers are still inviting us to their events with exposure as their currency and nothing monetary, so poets don’t have funds to work with.  It is my mother who was the sole funder for the book.

The other challenge was in deciding to publish a book in itself because I was aware of the state of reading in poetry circles, but I knew that I needed to find the few people who would be willing to be a part of my writing journey from the beginning if I’m to remain alive in this world.

There are many more books to come, if I can just find means of staying alive while writing.

6.    A little birdie (called the internet) told me you are working on a fiction novel. Could you tell us a bit more about that?
That birdie never shuts its beak neh?

Yes, I am writing one.  It sucks the life out of me when I write it, but I remain writing it.  It is called ‘Messages From the Stars’.  That’s all I can say for now, but you can visit my website to download a short story titled ‘Lost Days’ to get a feel of how my to approach fiction.

7.    Your performance style is rather unique. What influences have brought you to where you are in your art?
It was during my literary studies that I came across a module titled the Semiotics of Drama.  It was basically about how in a dramatic presentation (play) there is a code of signs which can be used to communicate certain messages.  Meaning communication is not just depended on the dialogue, but props, movements and clothing can be used to communicate too.  This struck a chord with me for if you think about it is this not what takes place during rituals?  Everything present in the ritual has a certain message to communicate.

The other influence was the fact that I had been performing for ten years in the same manner and trust me that didn’t sit well with my spirit and also if the audience just loved the words they would flood the libraries as they flood events.

We are blessed with many means of communicating all that we feel we are to on the stage so utilizing all these means can increase the clarity of our messages but more importantly it can further convey the many dynamics of communication.

Love always reminds of how much more there is to everything and how fear can stifle everything, so through love amazing things can be done.

8.    The one thing I know for sure is…
Certainty is not a temple I pray in.

9.    One day my words will…
Remind their receiver of the power of silence.
10. The one thing I wish more people knew about me is
I become a comedian on some days. (Transformers ain’t got nothing on me)

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1. Just in case someone has been living under a really big rock, please introduce the members of Likwid Tongue and briefly tell us what the collective is about.
Likwid Tongue is a poetry collective with 3 members (Thabo Flo Mokale, Richard Quaz Roodt and Pheladi VallentineKekana) that each have 28 different personalities. Seriously, and…. (Imagine the rest)

2. What is the driving force behind the collective, what has kept Likwid Tongue together over the years?
We thoroughly enjoy what we do. It has never been about money. We understand the role that we play and we are comfortable with it. People that started out at our shows as nervous unknown poets now pull in crowds and are at the forefront of the movement. That’s such a beautiful reward for all the work we put in. It makes all the bad times worth it.

3. In 10 years time, I want Likwid Tongue to have done…
Quaz: a show on the moon. Oh and some more traveling, More books more photography, More music. More money would be nice too.

Flo: to have done what has never been done, eh….yes…what Quaz said…

Vallentine: still be in the minds of our guests and performers.. Exploring more avenues for poetry to take center stage.. Watch this space.

4. Having being involved in poetry for years, I think you guys are best suited to tell us what the state of poetry today is?
The Poetry scene is in a good space. After what seemed like a 5 year slump there is certainly new energy around poetry circles. On any given weekend there is a poetry show. There are new, strong voices emerging and guys are upping their performances. I think the energy is right for something big to happen as long as we all push in the same direction.

5. You work with many new voices on your open mic platform. Who has really impressed you?
Amanda Dlamini
Afurakan (kikikiki)




that other guy with a voice the list just goes on and on. Everyone is really on some next level type vibe. Its crazy.

6.If you could each be a superhero, what would your name be and what super power would you have?
I’d be “anything-I- wanna be man” (Not sure if it will all fit on my chest) My powers? Anything I want to be. Now that’s power.

Vallentine: The power to love more.. I’d be LOVEMORE VALLENTINE…lol

Flo: I’d be FLO the ultimate superhero who has the ultimate power – sorta like Naruto in the body of the Hulk and with the mind of Terry Pratchett and the arti-tude of a summer sun ray.

7. The best thing about being part of Likwid Tongue is….
The groupies. hehehe, No seriously, the groupies. Oh and getting in for free at shows. HAAA!!

Vallentine: The free food (sometimes), the best best thing though is the conversations we have in the car going and coming from shows.. THE BEST!

Flo: ME no I’m kidding but on the real I will have to say ME and knowing when I fumble Vall and Quaz will pick up the pieces and lie and tell me that nobody saw and I was dope…(Flippn Likwids)

8. And the worst thing is…

Vallentine: Quaz

Flo: Vallentine

9. Other than Likwid Tongue, what else do you do?
I do artsy stuff with artsy institutions. I teach a poetry and creative writing class at UJ. I rap (well). I Blog. I write for websites. I host shows. And I look after my cat Peanut.

Vallentine: Design, music and bloggin

Flo: I do legendary stuff (top secret) in my full time I Watch the Full Moon and in my spare time I experiment in freezing moments and selling stuff and also chatting to journos

10.When next can we expect from your set this Saturday 7 July at Emonti on Bree?
It is a secret. We don’t even know. All will be revealed on Saturday…I think.


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Clint Smith is a 23 year-old poet, educator, and activist from New Orleans, LA. He is a 2010 graduate of Davidson College where he founded FreeWord, Davidson’s first and only slam poetry team. In 2010, he led the team to a top ten finish at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, the premier national competition for college students. Upon graduating from Davidson, Clint lived in Soweto, South Africa working to educate youth in the township on HIV/AIDS by engaging them in sport and spoken word.

He currently teaches high school English in greater Washington D.C.. He is the 2012 Graffiti DC Grand Slam Champion and is a member of the 2012 Beltway Poetry Team, representing DC at the National Poetry Slam. Additionally, Clint has served as a cultural ambassador to Swaziland on behalf of the U.S. State Department, conducting poetry workshops with youth throughout the country focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and self-empowerment.


He believes that slam poetry presents and important platform to discuss a variety of important issues in our society. “While spoken word certainly doesn’t always have to be socially or politically oriented,” he says “it does provide a unique opportunity to tell the stories of those who are not given a voice. It can also give insight into the human experience by contextualizing each of our lives relative to those around us. It’s a dynamic artform that challenges or perceptions and continuously allows us to think outside of ourselves. I’m grateful to be a part of something that has the potential to be a transformative in how people perceive the world around them.”


Aside from poetry, Clint loves his mom, soccer, scrabble, libraries, playing Xbox late at night with his roommates, documentaries, being chased by his little cousins, pretending he knows how to play the piano, and the feeling you have right after you eat way too many barbeque ribs.


EVENT: Word N Sound Series 2 _Episode 6 _ Likwid Tongue, The Truth, Clint Smith (US)

Remember Clint Smith – epic American slam poet – who killed Word N Sound last year? Yep, he back in the country and will be on the Word N Sound Stage this Saturday. Ok, you can breathe now – IT WILL BE AN EPIC SHOW!!

When was the last time you saw Rantoloko Molokoane on stage? Yep, its been a minute! Finally, The Truth will make Word N Sound Episode 6 one of the most memorable show this year.

LEGENDARY poetry collective – Likwid Tongue (pronounced HAAA!!!) will make the cypher complete with another classic performance.

With only 3 competitive events left before the grand finale at the Word N Sound Festival in October, the stage will be set ablaze this Saturday as poets battle it out for the top spot on the WNS Poetry League. Last month’s King Of Mic – Cornelius Jones will be the man to beat if anyone is to cause and upset and claim the R500 weekly prize.

Still only R40 at the door, with the most affordable Bar in Newtown, 12 – 6pm. Let’s Go!

… In Word N Sound We Trust …

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With just three more rounds till the finals of the Word N Sound open mic poetry league, the competition is certainly heating up.

If you missed last month’s show, here is a quick reminder of your top 5 for this month:
5. Schrodinger’s Cat
4. Masai Dabula
3. Mandi Poefficient
2. Ellipsis…
1. Cornelius Jones

So good luck to the 5 of you, lets hope you can keep your spot and a little note to the newcomers, if you thought cracking it into the top 5 was a challenge, just imagine what it takes to stay there.

Now for the finale, which is fast approaching (this is when everyone takes out their diaries to jot down SATURDAY 6 OCTOBER 2012) all that matters are each poet’s points on the Word N Sound Poetry League.

And I must say, with 3 new entries on the league’s top 10, a new number one and number two with only 7 points between them…Saturday’s show is set to be real interesting.

The current standings on league are as follows;

  1. Mandi 509 points (up 1 spot)
  2. Cornelius Jones 507 points (up 1 spot)
  3. No Life 455 points (down 2 spots)
  4. Mpho 397.5 points
  5. Ahimza 374 points (new top 10 entry)
  6. Purple Jupiter 372.5 points
  7. Masai 366.5 points (up 2 spots)
  8. Bonga 365 points
  9. Diema Dika 341 points (new top 10 entry)
  10. Andrew 335 points (new top 10 entry)

As per Word N Sound tradition, the top 5 on the league at the end of September’s show will do battle at the finale while those who hold spots 6 – 10 will perform a piece on the night.

So…3 shows to go. Who will take this year’s crown of Word N Sound King/Queen of the mic?