INTERVIEW: MPHO KHOSI

Mpho Khosi is a simple scribe, a storyteller in poetic rhythms and  a passion filled performer…and the voice behind the dopest version of our national anthem.

“Poetry has always had an important role in society, it is just that some poets go into poetry with other ideas and motives in mind.” – Mpho Khosi

1.  How far do you want to take poetry as a career?
I have always enjoyed writing, so I would love to actually work on becoming a well established publishing poet, and also look at going into writing short stories. I believe that for us to preserve our stories, we need to write them out, thus we can never lose them.

2.  How are you feeling about your upcoming showcase?
The upcoming showcase neh, I honestly cant wait; I have found myself preparing a set that will be a showcase my old pieces and a couple of new ones. It will be a culmination and summary of what I have been up to since I started performing.

3.  You write a lot of narrative poems, what attracted you to this style of writing?
I love short stories, but have found that my stories tend to be too short. So they instead find a better identity as poems, this is also a fear of mine that one day people will see that I am actually not a “poet” in the poetic sense of the word, but rather a story teller. so, basically my narrative poems are inspired by this love of short stories and story telling.

4. Do you have any poems that never make it to the stage, and if so, what happens to them?
I have quite a few poems that never see the stage, but these are not just thrown away, they are compiled and put into “QUIETLY loud” an anthology I am currently working on.

5.  Are there any local poets that have an influence on your work?
I am more of an old school poet, and have found that the old voices even if they don’t influence my work, but they offer me a guide of what conviction of purpose is. the likes of Ntate Sipho Sepamla, Ntate Vusi Mahlasela, The Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile, Ntate Lesego Rampolokeng and an arsenal of others.

6. Three books that you think every writer should have in their collection?
1. How Can Man Die Better by Roger Porgrund (a biographical look at Robert Sobukwe”s life).
2. Indaba My Children By Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa (one elder with whom I would love to sit.
3. I write What I Like by Steve Bantu Biko.

7.  Do you think poetry has a significant role in society?
Poetry has always had an important role in society, it is just that some poets go into poetry with other ideas and motives in mind, they look at poetry as an instant ticket to fame and glory. poetry is a weapon, we just choose whether we want to use the weapon for the greater good of mankind or for our own selfish reasons….

8.  What are some of the challenges that you have faced ever since you decided to be a performing artist?
Being broke, but I have a very supportive family which allowed me to cope and focus on the work at hand.

9. Do you think poetry is always political and controversial?
Poetry is a reflection of life, so it would not exist if it only focused on certain aspects and left out others. So; I think poetry is multi faceted and therefore cater for different audiences.

10. What inspired you to write you own rendition of the national Anthem?
Azania neh, I honestly don’t know. This was a rhythm that somehow crept into my meditation and found a home in people’s ears.

Interview by Sibusiso Simelane

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