INTERVIEW: BONGA NDZIWENI

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1.  You sometimes refer to yourself as “the stand up poet”, please explain what this means and how it is different from just being a poet?

The Standup Poet is really more of a positioning statement than it is a pseudonym and speaks more for the kind of poetry that I do. This simply inclines or calls for a little bit of humour in every poem.

2.  Do you perform all the poems you write and if not, what happens to the poems that don’t make it on stage?

I wish but no. All the poems that don’t make it to the stage eventually make their way to some obscure corner at the back of my mind and wait their turn I guess… one day.

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3.  Do you believe that people receive poems about serious issues much better when they are presented in a satirical form?

I don’t really think so, I mean I think they way people receive poetry is very subjective and for some people every time I get on stage that’s like five minutes of their lives they will never get back. The way I see it though, in the same manner as bleeding does laughter has a funny way of reminding us that we are human. That we are an inherently fallible people and makes it easier to accept that truth and makes it easier for us to forgive ourselves when there is cause to.

4.  How much of your personal experiences do you put on paper?

Only bits and pieces really but I think with every passing year a little bit more of me creeps onto the page. which is kind-of-cool cause now writing ceases to be just a creative exercise but a more personal one.

5.  Why did the poet cross the road

Hehe,mmh…because he hadn’t eaten for a while, because ‘poets are always broke’, and he saw a chicken ‘elahlile’ across the road

6.  What are your thoughts on the current state of South African poetry

I don’t think I know enough about the whole country’s state but from where I stand I’d say we are going in the right direction.

7.  We haven’t seen you on stage in a while, have you been working on any projects that we should look forward to

Well nothing worth mentioning now because they are all pipeline projects at the moment but coming up rather soon is a 3 man show between myself, Mr Jones and Masai people need to look out for that. Also I’ve been diversifying my portfolio(segoa ntate) and I’ve been performing at birthday celebrations which has been an easy transition because of the style of poetry I do, soon I’ll be looking to do weddings so you know if you need a brother of word, I’m your guy.

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8.  What was it exactly about poetry that intrigued you and got you hooked

I think for most people the starting point has always been the allure of the pursuit of conscious and I guess the dopamine has kept me hooked I can’t say for sure.

9.  What fuels this interest

Gas? I don’t know cause it’s not like a car where you know every time you at the garage it’s ” 93 ngeR50 nja yam” I think on different days it’s been fuelled by different things but I guess at the end of the day it must be the love of it all cause it sure isn’t about the money.

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