King Nova’s poem ‘The House That We Built’ has been nominated for the first ever Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award. Find out how to vote for this poem below.
When writing the poem, what did you hope the audience would take/experience/learn from it?
I remember being annoyed with my class-privileged friends saying that I “worry too much about poor people” and that I wasn’t around when Apartheid happened. This poem was written in response to the overwhelming ignorance that prevails around the South African condition and, really, the lack of compassion shown by people who are not directly affected by the sort of issues that actually imprison the daily lives of others.
This poem is a house. And in building it, I hoped that the audience would understand that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and therefore, we are all responsible for what becomes of it in future. We can only move towards better when every citizen is willing to acknowledge the role played by themselves and their ancestors in the creation of our current situation.
That means: an end to Apartheid denialism and all the denialism around white and male privilege and also for People of Colour to love themselves again without subjecting themselves to a self-imposed white supremacist gaze.
How did the Word N Sound fam receive the poem? Was the feedback positive or negative?
If I remember correctly, the poem was well-received. And it won me Queen of the Mic that day. Like a boss.
If you could perform this piece to anyone in the world (one person or a group) who would it be and why?
The group would have to be South Africa, from the people at the top of the hierarchy to the very bottom. From government to Black people to white people to the rich and the poor – everybody all at once because this poem reveals the connection between everyone and their circumstances, whether good or bad.
If someone were to hear only one line of your poem, which line would you chose to say?
“And, we must have been playing house , that’s the only way to explain it . When the tortured psyche of a people somehow becomes worldwide entertainment.”
For me, this phrase captures the essence of my message. South Africa finds itself in this position today because the old wounds have not healed and it seems that the leadership was all too keen to put up a brave face for the world in order to continue their agendas while presenting the sham that was the TRC and ignoring the fact that South Africa is a traumatised nation.
This connects to how the leadership is always able to pull out their struggle credentials for election campaigns and suspend their voters in fear while shunning accountability for the state of the nation. Everything is connected. If the foundation of a house is questionable then the rest of the structure will suffer the same fate.
How does it feel being nominated for the first ever ‘Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award’?
It’s wonderful. I like to write memorable poems so the fact that this is one of them makes me tres proud of myself.
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HOW TO VOTE
It’s so simple to show support for your favourite poem nominated for a Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award. All you have to do is;
1. Like our Facebook page,
2. Find your favourite poem on the page
3. Watch it and
4. Like it!
The video with the most likes + views wins. So get watching and liking, share with your friends all over the world. Voting closes: 7 Dec 12pm
PERFECT POEM AWARD NOMINEES
The category is inspired by Kojo Baffoe’s poem in which he is “on a quest to find the perfect poem, a gentle balance between word, rhythm and thought …a poem that sends the moon and sun dancing over the skyline hand in hand”.
Conelius Jones – Never Meant To Stay
Mandi Poefficient Vundla – The Starving Preface
Mpho Khosi – Where Did It All Go Wrong
Purple Jupiter – Every 17 Seconds
Masai Dabula – What Do You Know About Freedom
King Nova – The House That We Built
Andrew Manyika – Make-Up (Your Mind)
KB Kilobyte – Joburg Let My People Go