Monthly Archives: March 2014

#WNSallstars: WNS challenged me as a writer – Xongani

AllStars_Xongi

1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?

I first heard about Word N Sound at the launch of the Next Generation shows in Melville in 2013. I wanted to be a part of the it because I believed that it was an important platform to start from in building my career in poetry and that it would be a great stage to get on in order to make it into the spoken word industry.

2. Tell us about your first time on the WNS stage. How was the experience? What did you love about it and what did you hate?
The first time I was on the WNS stage I was extremely nervous, it was my first slamming experience and I didn’t have an idea of what I was getting myself into, all I could focus on was the tough competition I was faced with. I liked the competition, as it challenged me as writer, forcing me to break into different levels of the art that is poetry. I guess what I hate about it is losing the competition.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?

The first time I made it into the top 5, my showcase at the Next Generation “Let’s talk homosexuality’’, the 2013 Joburg WNS Festival, the show we had at the Soweto Theatre. The showcase by Megan Godsell. The first Open Mic in 2014 and the Tongue Fu Show on the second episode of the Series in 2014.

4. You are now part of the WNS Committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I’ve recently been appointed as the Head of Production. I am responsible for looking over every show that is hosted by the WNS. I am yet to learn of the experience, I am looking forward to the challenges and rewards.

5. Name your favourite poems from any of the artists in the All-Stars line up. What is it about that poem that makes it stand out?
Elysium Garcia – Church of Assholery: this poem is a reminder that I am not alone, there are more like me, and that brings me comfort.

Masai Dabula – What Do You Know About Freedom: I love how this poem because it challenges my thoughts on how I perceive freedom. I appreciate the approach to how he wrote this poem; I’m crazy about the execution, his performance is captivating.

#WNSallstars: WNS needs to capitalise on the momentum – Andrew

AllStars_Andrew

1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
In passing during a workshop, ahead of the Drama For Life Regional Final. Nova and I were among the poets competing, and she was answering a question on previous poetry wins. After that, Afurakan took my number at the DFL Finale and invited me to Word N Sound (above Madi’s emphatic protests). I missed the next show, but attended the one after. I guess I wanted to be part of it because I’d seen people raving on Facebook about it being such a nice show, and also having just won Drama For Life, I was still in the mood to slam.

2. Tell us about your first time on the WNS stage. How was the experience? What did you love about it and what did you hate?
It was at the Con Cowan Theatre in the Bunting Road Campus of the University of Johannesburg. It was a nice vibe, nice atmosphere. I remember almost going with a new poem because I felt I owed it to the audience to present new poems each time (I was still very new to this performance poetry thing). Romeo The Poet talked me out of that fortunately in a hurry and I wound up going with “Consequence” and that got me to the Festival. I loved the audience, but I wasn’t a fan of having to pay to perform. (the free mageu was nice though).

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?
There have been so many, where does one even begin. I’ll just rattle off some highlights because the thing about WNS shows, is that often, someone brings something never-before-seen to the stage and that’s always memorable. So here goes:
-Masai storming off stage during his showcase. Won’t forget that in a hurry.
-My 1st showcase. I had so much fun, I was walking around in a haze for days afterward.
-Harry Baker, what more can I say?
-Ex Ka Dubandlela’s debut was awesome, (and considering his entire poem was in Zulu, that’s a big impression to make on a non native Zulu-speaker).
-Modise Sekgothe’s showcase. Some background: Once I’m seated in my chair, I have no intention of standing up. I’ll clap or whatever, but I will not stand up. I gave Modise a standing ovation.
-If I forget every other moment at WNS, I’ll always remember this: at the second festival, when the order of the top 5 was being announced after we had competed; and my name came up fourth, the crowd went ballistic. They were very vocal in expressing their disappointment (many who came up to me afterwards told me they believed that on the day I had taken it), and that was another kind of victory I suppose. It taught me a little something about winning the hearts of the people.
-Purple Jupiter’s debut, they were performing ’17seconds’. It was a thing of beauty.

4. You are now part of the WNS Committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I’m Word N Sound’s Marketing Consultant.

The Good – We’re an easy group of people to market. The poets that have graced our stages generally do good work. The team itself is dedicated to the vision of creating an industry that makes poetry and writing a viable career choice, so it’s been rewarding to be part of that vision. Also, we can see clearly that the work we’re doing is getting noticed as we find ourselves in more mainstream spaces and media (I’ve performed at an art gallery opening along with Rennie Alexander; and have been on the TEDx Johannesburg stage as have Conelius Jones, Mandi Vundla, Elysium Garcia, and Vuyelwa Maluleke).

The Bad – Living your dreams in a part-time capacity. There really isn’t a full on poetry industry locally. There are a few established poets who are able to make their living herein, but no industry yet. As a result, the work we do is on a volunteer basis, and because food is nice, we all have to have another hustle. The sad reality is that you inevitably work on this thing you love with less than 100% of your energy. It just means we’ll take longer to get there. Also, poets are generally not great when it comes to trying to get administrative stuff out of them. Case in Point – we’re still waiting on some artist bio’s from the last festival.

The Challenge – is twofold: Garnering mainstream attention and grooming business-savvy artists. We’re starting to get mainstream recognition as evidenced by appearances on Morning Live, Expresso, & Sunrise. That’s great for poetry, but we need to capitalise on the momentum that this current wave of poetry has been generating since 2011. Taking nothing away from the active participants in the previous eras of poetry, without their efforts we wouldn’t be here, but we do need to learn from past experience and take this artform to a new level. This will require Business Acumen. Artists need to either learn the business principles governing their art or surround themselves by people who do. Or face the reality of being talented and broke.

The Reward – Reshaping a landscape. We’re in the privileged position of being at the coalface as the world cottons on to the reality of what contemporary poetry is; and we get to play a part in shaping what it shall become.

5. Name 3 of your favourite poems from any of the artists in the All-Stars line up. What is it about that poem that makes it stand out?
Mutle’s – “Message in a Massage” , “I am an Artist” and “Parkinson’s” – What stands out? It’s evident that the research is thorough. He mingles wordplay and imagery to convey a well-thought out message/depiction/scenario. It’s masterful and the dedication is commendable.

#WNSallstars: WNS always tries to out-do itself – KB

AllStars_KB

1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
I was busting in PTA, went to EVERY session imaginable, in 2008 I heard there was WNS, and to me it was another stage for me to share and receive. PLUS when I was starting out, I had inboxed Afurakan that “one day” I will share a stage with him…. Lo and behold…

2. Tell us about your first time on the WNS stage. How was the experience? What did you love about it and what did you hate?
My 1st time was in September 2008, I performed the poem called “I Lied”, I had chosen it because it is powerful, it’s real and causes curiosity where it’s going. The response was out of this world, “the underdog from PTA” burning up the stage, I just hated that PTA was not well represented in JHB and that was about to change.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?
Too many, I think WNS always tried to out-do itself and every time I’m there, artist give it their best. One is only as good as their last performance right?

4. Name 3 of your favourite poems from any of the artists in the AllStars line up. What is it about that poem that makes it stand out?
Mutle – Parkinson, I’ve seen the movie that Mutle drew inspiration from, and his interpretation of the character was on point. That poem will always be remembered as one of his best works whether he likes it or not.

Afurakan – Dream, I don’t think this dude realises how powerful that poem is, enough said. These days dreaming the right dream is a privilege. Also, “the U-n-i-verse moves with me”……”A hungry stomach scars the body, but a starving mind murders the spirit”.

Andrew Manyika – Make Up, A revolutionary poem, an enlightening piece, truth at it’s best. The calmness of Andrew as he sails through this poem, I think it’s always so well executed and I can never get enough of it. Women should really take this poem to heart. But Andrew has this other poem about the trajectory of a tear, another memorable poem.

Word N Sound April Calendar

Calendar_Apr

2 | 9 | 16 | 23 | 30 APRIL – THE WORD N SOUND POETRY CORNER

The Poetry Corner brings back a much needed non-competitive open mic platform where budding poets and spoken word enthusiasts can share and appreciate works and voices. As the cornerstone of performance development, open mic platforms offer emerging artists the opportunity to perform in intimate settings, building their confidence and receiving worthwhile feedback.
The Light House on 7th, Melville | 7pm.

PoetryCorner_Aprl

5 APRIL – WORD N SOUND SEASON 4 | EPISODE 3 FEAT THE WNS ALL-STARS

4 Seasons, more than 25 Episodes and 375 poems later; the Word N Sound Series has left an indelible mark on the Johannesburg, and South African Poetry scene. One of the major highlights of the Series, is the Open Mic Poetry League, which at the end of every episode, leaves one competitor with the coveted title of King/Queen of the Mic.

In all this time, and in the aftermath of all these battles and vying for glory, there have been some faces that have stuck with, and become part of the Word N Sound family. Having taken their craft beyond this stage to engage audiences as far afield as Cardiiff, and as quintessentially South African as Cape-Town, some of the stars of these shows return once again to the Word N Sound Stage to give us all a taste of what enabled them to stay the course. Click here for the Facebook event page

The inaugural Word N Sound All Stars Show will feature the talents of Afurakan, Andrew Manyika, Mandi Poeffecient Vundla, Mutle Mothibe, Xongani Maluleka, Bonga Ndziweni, KB Kilobyte and Mpho Khosi. This is one for the history books, don’t miss it.
Market Thetare Laboratory | R50 | 12-6pm | R50

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24 APRIL – WORD N SOUND PRESENTS MAKHAFULA VILAKAZI

Word N Sound Presents aims to showcase exemplary artists, give support to one wo/man shows and offer audiences a show with a shorter format than our regular 6 hour shows. Whether the show is a poetical, 1-man show or poetry & music performance, is left to the artist. The aim, is to allow artists an avenue to present their offering to the audience, prior to (or after) the official launch of any such show; and for the audience to connect with performers whose work they enjoy, and meet artists whose work they may connect with.

This first edition – “Word N Sound Presents Makhafula Vilakazi” will take place on March 27th, at Sophiatown Restaurant on 7th Street in Melville. Tickets will be available at the door for only R50.00

Makhafula_Banner

27 APRIL – RISE OF THE UNDERDOGS

‘Rise of the Underdogs’ is a new and exciting platform for emerging and unsigned live music bands to showcase their works to new audiences and re-ignite a culture of live music appreciation in Johannesburg. The monthly events will be hosted at SABC studios which boast world class stage, lighting and sound facilities.

The main goal of ‘Rise of the Underdogs’ is to assist emerging or unsigned artists to thrive in the industry, and create a credible performance track record. Showcasing their music to various audiences will also go a long way in helping emerging talent to build a following and even sell their products directly to potential markets.

Review: WNS Presents Modise Sekgothe

On Thursday we launched our latest show, ‘Word N Sound Presents…’ at Sophiatown Restaurant in Melville. Audiences had the pleasure of experiencing the magic that is Modise Sekgothe. Madd love and respect goes out to this phenomenal artist.

Modise Sekgothe: I’m getting excited about my One Man, I’m looking forward to it, here’s what it’s gonna be, Me…alone, my poems, that I love and some music to accompany it, that’s about it, no projectors or videos or guitarists or dancers or collaborants, just me, and you, together, for an hour, intimate with each other, sharing a love like no other, a love for poetry. A few glimpses into the colour of my soul, sapphire rose petals carrying each word from my mouth to your ears. Thank you for coming. Vus’umuzi Phakathi: King. All the best with your One-man on Thursday. Much respect for the move. We sees you. #2014TakeOver

Sibusiso Mkatshwa: Feeding the soul! Nice one…”a true poet is a stripper”
Makhosonke El Diego Mlotshwa: And it’s a wrap…beautiful and truly my money’s worth. Ladies and Gentlemen, Modise Sekgothe.
Xongani Maluleka: So let’s talk about this man, Modise Sekgothe. Our first main act for WNS Presents.An awesome show he gave us,one performance to always remember. The crowed was mesmerized.His poems are healing, exciting, inspiring, indulging. We have so much to take home with us. Thank you for reminding us why we do this everyday, why we poets voluntarily get on stage strip bare naked to expose our vulnerability,and it’s OK!!

 

Join us at Sophiatown in Melville next month as we host Makhafula Vilakazi.
24 Apr | R50 | 7 for 7:30pm

INTERVIEW: Modise Sekgothe

Ahead of his one-man show at the launch of our latest show, ‘Word N Sound Presents…’, Modise  Sekgothe took some time to answer Mutle Mothibe’s questions.

S4E1_Modise1

1. Tell us 2 questions you wish an interviewer would ask you and answer them?
What is your approach to poetry? My approach to poetry is experimental, each and every one of my poems are an attempt, an experiment, either at a different style, theme, subject matter, etc.

What in your opinion makes a great spoken word artist? A great spoken word
artist is a combination of two very difficult skills and that is; writing and performance, many good spoken word artists are very good at one and somewhat average at the other.


2. How important is meditation in your life and towards your art?

My goodness! This is definitely a question I would love an interviewer to ask me. Meditation is the most important thing in my life actually, it’s the basis of who I am and how I want to evolve as an individual, I feel I have created and continue to create a beautiful inner and outer life for myself because of meditation. With regards to my art, well…I feel like
poetry is a meditation in itself thus it only happens and comes to you and through you only when you’re in a certain state or level of consciousness.

I’ve recently found however that its always pivotal in the writing, memorisation and rehearsal but not necessarily condusive to performance for me because it makes me too calm and too aware of my surroundings during performance whereas performance requires somewhat of a narrowing of ones force and sensitivity.

3. Tell us your favourite poem from your collection and why that poems stands out for you?
Uhm…I love Winters Whimpers man and I feel like people just don’t get it…lol. I just think its beautiful man, I worked so hard on that poem and layered it sooo much, it never bores me, its one of my oldest pieces but still excites me more than most of my newer works. It’s very well written but perhaps not too performance orientated, its one of the most literal (literature) poems I’ve ever written. It’s a literature poem more than it is a spoken word poem.

4. Name 2 of your favourite authors?
Oh man, this is hard, I’ll go for Ben Okri and Paulo Coelho, they are my two of my most favourite “novelists”

5. You’ve acted in theatre productions… Tell us how that experience impacted on your poetry?
Yeah…uhm, the theatre influenced my work ethic and my understanding of performance as distinct from writing, its where I learn how to be a performer, where I learn how to bring to life what I put to paper so easily but struggle with a bit on stage. I also learnt that there is an infinite field of layering in what appears to the audience as a 3 dimensional performance and how to tap into that as a performer. I’m still learning man.

6. If you could choose 5 (local or international) poets to work with who would they be?
Yourself…lol (Mutle Mothibe The Boss!) lol! Isah Ngalo, there’s something about her writing that I feel a deep resonance with. Zewande Bhengu, I would love to share a stage with that nigga, he’s a fiery performer! Obviously Saul Williams, cause he’s just G! and Conelius Jones,
of course there are many more.

7. You recently graduated, If you had to choose between staying on as an artist or going into the field of a practicing psychologist which would you choose and why?
Hahaha, the universe chose for me, Im doing poetry and drama full-time now, I wanted to study further and get my Honours but I realised that the only reason I wanted to hold on to the Psychology was because I was afraid of poetry, of not making it…Outside of that fear, nothing makes me happier man, its what I was born to do, write and perform, its who I am.

8. What is one word you struggle to use in your poems and are still waiting for the right instance in which to use it?
Lol! gauntlet, its a really nice word but what am I gonna say about a gauntlet?

9.Do you feel as an artist you are paid enough for the efforts you put into your craft?
Lol! No…but I’m learning what I need to do in order for things to start happening differently.

10. Please write a haiku about meditation and share it on the Word N Sound series page.
Will do! this is the best interview ever! haha…big ups!

Modise_whitte_digital

The innaugural Word N Sound All-Stars Show

Hot on the heels of the introduction of three new shows to the ever-expanding roster of Word N Sound events, we take a step back to look at how far we’ve come over the past four years, by handing the stage over to the crop of talent that has taken the Johannesburg poetry landscape by storm since coming to prominence on the Word N Sound stage. It really is gonna be an All-Star weekend.

AllStars
Word N Sound All-Stars

4 Seasons, more than 25 Episodes and 375 poems later; the Word N Sound Series has left an indelible mark on the Johannesburg, and South African Poetry scene. One of the major highlights of the Series, is the Open Mic Poetry League, which at the end of every episode, leaves one competitor with the coveted title of King/Queen of the Mic.

In all this time, and in the aftermath of all these battles and vying for glory, there have been some faces that have stuck with, and become part of the Word N Sound family. Having taken their craft beyond this stage to engage audiences as far afield as Cardiiff, and as quintessentially South African as Cape-Town, some of the stars of these shows return once again to the Word N Sound Stage to give us all a taste of what enabled them to stay the course.

The inaugural Word N Sound All Stars Show will feature the talents of Afurakan, Andrew Manyika, Mandi Poeffecient Vundla, Mutle Mothibe, Masai Dabula, Bonga Ndziweni, KB Kilobyte and Mpho Khosi. This is one for the history books, don’t miss it.

Elysium Garcia
From the ethereal realm known as the shadows, the Showcase Act of the day will be the winner of the inaugural “Salm for Your Life” competition. Kagiso Tshepe, who has now adopted the moniker “Elysium Garcia”, was a top competitor in the Open Mic Leauge that ran throughout 2013, even making it to the top 5. This accomplished writer has been on such stages as the Word N Sound Festival, and TEDx Johannesburg.

His poem “Manufacturing Kings” also allowed us a foray into the mind of a poet who also works as a graphical designer. Along with fellow Vaal native Mutle Mothibe, their use of video as a complement to the poetry itself, has begun to open up new possibilities in terms of exploring the two art forms. Elysium Garcia, on the strength of “Manufacturing Kings” was nominated for and won the Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award. So, any show that he headlines is guaranteed to be out of this world.

The show happens on the 5th of April from 13:00 at the Market Theatre Laboratory, tickets are sold at the door for R50.00. See you there.

Spoken Word & Live Music Revolution grips Jo’burg!

‘Rise Of The Underdogs’, ‘Word N Sound Presents’ and ‘Word N Sound Poetry Corner’ are three new spoken word and live music events that’s are set to add a much needed freshness to the current Johannesburg entertainment landscape.

Rise Of The Underdogs
RISE_EP1

‘Rise of the Underdogs’ is a new and exciting platform for emerging and unsigned live music bands to showcase their works to new audiences and re-ignite a culture of live music appreciation in Johannesburg. The monthly events will be hosted at SABC studios which boast world class stage, lighting and sound facilities.

The main goal of ‘Rise of the Underdogs’ is to assist emerging or unsigned artists to thrive in the industry, and create a credible performance track record. Showcasing their music to various audiences will also go a long way in helping emerging talent to build a following and even sell their products directly to potential markets.

The first instalment of the live music showcase will take place on 30 March at SABC Studio V1A from 2-5pm. Tickets will be sold at the door for R50.

 

Word N Sound Presents
Modise_whitte_digital

Word N Sound Presents aims to showcase exemplary artists, give support to one wo/man shows and offer audiences a show with a shorter format than our regular 6 hour shows. Whether the show is a poetical, 1-man show or poetry & music performance, is left to the artist. The aim, is to allow artists an avenue to present their offering to the audience, prior to (or after) the official launch of any such show; and for the audience to connect with performers whose work they enjoy, and meet artists whose work they may connect with.

This first edition – “Word N Sound Presents Modise Sekgothe” will take place on March 27th, at Sophiatown Restaurant on 7th Street in Melville. Tickets will be available at the door for only R50.00.

Modise Sekgothe, formerly known as “Fragment of da Youniverse”, is a poet, playwright and actor who has previously taken to the Word N Sound stage individually and as part of the ensemble cast of “The Funeral”. He melds his highly visual writing style with a calm, yet finely nuanced delivery to present masterful poetry. So masterful in fact, that Modise was the recipient of the Word N Sound Best Showcase Award at the second Word N Sound Awards. He has also performed at the Izimbongi Poetry Festival, The Word N Sound Festival and presented his play “The Funeral” at POPArt in the Maboneng Precinct.

Word N Sound Poetry Corner
WNSpoetryclub

The Poetry Corner brings back a much needed non-competitive open mic platform where budding poets and spoken word enthusiasts can share and appreciate works and voices. As the corner stone of performance development, open mic platforms offer emerging artists the opportunity to perform to a small audience, build confidence and receive worthwhile feedback.

The Word N Sound Poetry corner takes place every Wednesday of the month at The Light House on 7th from 7pm. Tickets are available at the door for only R20.

Saluting the legends

While celebrating World Poetry Day this week we have to note that none of what we have today in the form of poetry and the different movements would be here if iyt weren’t for the legends who long paved the way for us.

The following 9 legendary poets who have been instrumental in shaping the face of poetry in Southern Africa throughout the years. Your contribution to South African Literature and Spoken Word has been inspirational. The work you have invested in and the role you have played is encouraging. Because of you, we are.

Myesha Jenkins

Myesha Jenkins
Jenkins integrates life experience into concise, witty poetry that provokes and inspires. Visible in the Johannesburg poetry scene for the last ten years, she launched her second collection, Dreams of Flight at the UKZN’s International Festival in 2011. Her work has been featured in We are (ed. Natalia Molebatsi, Penguin 2009), Isis X (Botsotso Publishing 2005), and Baobab Journal.  She co-founded the all-female, Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective and Jozi House of Poetry monthly sessions. She also contributed to the Arts for Humanity’s Children’s Rights Exhibit, collaborating with the visual artist, Louise Almond.
#WeSaluteYou

Phillippa Yaa

Phillipa
De Villiers wrote for television, taught mime and acted before publishing Taller thanBuildings (self-published) and The Everyday Wife (Modjadji, 2010, winner of the SALA award 2011for best collection of poetry). Her one-woman show, Original Skin, has toured in South Africa and to Germany. She co-edited No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry which translated into Mandarin in 2010 in Shanghai, and her poetry and prose appears in local and international journals and anthologies. She won the audience award and was the runner-up to the best writer award in Pansa’s 2005 national scriptwriting award, and in 2009 won the Writing beyond the Fringe award (National Arts Festival and Belgian writing organization Het Beschrijf) and was shortlisted for the Pen/Studinski prize in the same year. She is the recipient of the 2012 Overseas Scholarship for studies in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.
De Villiers was also chosen as this year’s Commonwealth poet. She read her poem “Courage”, written for the occasion, at Westminster Abbey in front of British royalty for a Commonwealth Day event organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society.
#WeSaluteYou

Makhosazana Xaba

Makhosazana Xaba
Xaba is a Writing Fellow at the Wits School of Public Health working on a book on the history of nursing in South Africa. She has published two books of poetry: these hands (Timbila, 2005) and Tongues of their Mothers (UKZN Press, 2008). Her poetry has been translated into Mandarin and Italian and published in anthologies in China and Italy.  Her long term project is a biography of a South African woman writer Helen Nontando (Noni) Jabavu. In 2005 Makhosazana won the Deon Hofmeyr Award for Creative Writing for her then unpublished short story, Running.  She holds an MA in Writing (with distinction) from Wits University. She co-edited with Karen Martin, Queer Africa: New and selected fiction (MaThoko’s Books, 2013).  Running and other stories (Modjaji Books, 2013) is her first collection of short stories
#WeSaluteYou

Natalia Molebatsi

Natalia_Molebatsi
Born and raised in Tembisa, Johannesburg, Natalia Molebatsi is a performance poet, writer, workshop facilitator and programme director.Molebatsi has performed in South Africa, Senegal, Italy, Zimbabwe, Holland, Kenya, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and England. She has performed alongside Alice Walker, Jayne Cortez, Zakes Mda, Myesha Jenkins, Lebo Mashile, Sindiwe Magona, Napo Masheane and Simphiwe Dana, among others.In 2009, Molebatsi performed at the Women in Africa and the African Diaspora (WAAD) International Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. That same year, she also appeared widely in Italy, where she performed at the Mantova International Literature Festival, Calendidonna Women’s Festival, Genoa International Poetry Festival, Firenze (Florence) International Poetry Festival and Sunsplash International Reggae Festival.Molebatsi was the host of ‘Evening with Alice Walker’ at the State Theatre in 2010. This was also the year that she made her debut at the Poetry Africa festival, where she was part of the main programme of poets. Her most recent performances include the Mangaung African Cultural Festival in Bloemfontein, Night of the Poets at State Theatre, as well as representing South Africa as part of the cultural events programme during the London Olympics.
#WeSaluteYou

Malika Lueen Ndlovu

Malika_Ndlovu
Malika Ndlovu is an internationally published South African poet, playwright and performer whose poetry and plays have appeared on stages across South Africa and throughout the globe, including countries like Austria, Uganda, the United States and the United Kingdom. With a Degree in Performing Arts and Diplomas in Arts Administration and Advanced Theatre Research, she has a career spanning 18 years in the arts and arts management arena.As a poet, Ndlovu is the author of numerous publications including Born in Africa But (1999), Womb to World: A Labour of Love (2001), Truth is both Spirit and Flesh (2008) and a poetic memoir entitled Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (2009). She has also written two published plays titled A Coloured Place (1998) and Sister Breyani (2010).Between 2007 and 2010, Ndlovu worked as a project manager for the Badilisha Poetry X-Change, an international poetry festival. She is currently guest curator and presenter for BadilishaPoetry. com, which is a unique African poetry podcasting platform..
#WeSaluteYou

Raphael d’Abdon

Raphael_dAbdon
D’Abdon is a writer, scholar, editor and translator. He holds a PhD in Linguistics and Literary Studies from the University of Udine (Italy) and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the English Studies Department of UNISA. D’Abdon has read his poetry in Italy, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States, where he chaired a session on ‘spoken word and literature’ at the 2011 Chinua Achebe Colloquium, a conference that hosted poets such as Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa and Prof. Achebe himself.D’Abdon has published articles, essays, translations, interviews, short stories and poems in several volumes and journals. He also edited I nostri semi/Peo tsa rona, an anthology of South African spoken word poetry.
#WeSaluteYou

Allan Kolski Horwitz

Allen
Horwitz was born in Vryburg in 1952 and grew up in Cape Town where he studied political philosophy and literature. Between 1974 and 1985 he lived in the Middle East, Europe and North America, returning to South Africa in 1986. Since then he has worked in the trade union and social housing movements as an organizer and educator. He currently lives in Johannesburg and is the coordinator of the Botsotso Jesters, a poetry performance group, and of Botsotso Publishing. His first book of poems Call from the Free State was published in 1979. Substantial selections of his poetry have been included in We Jive Like This and Dirty Washing, featuring the Botsotso Jesters, Essential Things (COSAW) and Throbbing Ink (Timbila,).
#WeSaluteYou

Kojo Baffoe

Kojo
Editor of the men’s business and lifestyle magazine, DESTINY Man, Kojo Baffoe is an editor, writer, poet and entrepreneur with origins in Ghana and Germany, raised in Lesotho, and based in Johannesburg. Kojo has been involved in the poetry / spoken word movement in Southern Africa for last 10+ years erratically; has published two collections of poetry; and been featured in publications in South Africa, Canada and Brazil.He has performed extensively, highlights of which include touring the UK with the Hammer & Tongue Poetry Slam Tour, Urban Voices, Arts Alive Speak Your Mind and Poetry Africa SlamJam. He has written for and performed at corporate events and shows and has facilitated workshops and functions.He speaks on a range of topics including Re-defining Success, Getting Back To Basics, Finding Purpose and Fatherhood. He is poet laureate for Gordon Institute of Business Science, was founding editor of Blaque Magazine, has written for a range of publications including as a columnist (2009 – 2011) for City Press’ lifestyle supplement, 7, is an avid blogger and loves social media.
#WeSaluteYou

Lesego Rampolokeng

L_Rampolokeng
Daddy Ramps is a poet, novelist and playwright, who came to prominence in the 1980s, a turbulent period in South Africa’s history. Born in Orlando West, Soweto, in Johannesburg, he studied law, but has not followed this path any further. Rampolokeng’s poetry often challenges the established order, with some critics comparing his confrontational style to that of late Zimbabwean poet and novelist, Dambudzo Macherera. Rampolokeng’s first poetry offering was Horns for Hondo, published in 1991. This was followed by End Beginnings in 1993. Among others, his works of poetry and prose include Talking Rain (1993), Rap Master Supreme – Word Bomber in the Extreme (1997), The Bavino Sermons (1999) and more recently, Head on Fire (2012).

As an author, Rampolokeng has written two novels: Blackheart published in 2004 and Whiteheart published the following year. Directly influenced by the works of Frantz Fanon, he published the play Fanon’s Children
#WeSaluteYou

9 young writers to look out for

To mark World Poetry Day (21 March), Word N Sound would like to salute the young writers who have gotten us excited about poetry and keep us motivated and inspired to keep pushing when things get tough.

Kurt Schröder, Modise Sekgothe, Zewande Bhengu, Roach Du Plessis, Apiwe Mjambane, Elysium Garcia, Bafentse Ntlokoa, Xongani Maluleka, Nkululeko Ngwenya you are amazing and we salute you.

Kurt Schröder

Kurt Ludwig Schröder is a Poet/Storyteller based in Pretoria, South Africa. He is currently completing his final year of undergrad studies in Human Movement Sciences at the University of Pretoria. While he studies and works in the field of sport, he has always enjoyed creative writing and drama.

Kurt is relatively new to performance poetry. He is a fresh young story-teller who started writing and performing poetry in early 2012. Most of his content is based on personal life-stories and experiences, and he strives to share art that will “re-sensitize” a numb and desensitized world. Kurt co-founded and co-directed a Pretoria-based poetry movement called “Spoken Sessions” which successfully hosted monthly poetry events from June/July 2012 until January 2014.

Kurt recently started working closely with Emote Record Company to record and produce his poems and stories. Kurt dreams of one day traveling the world to share his poetry.

Modise Sekgothe


Modise Sekgothe has been a writer for the past 6 years since 2007 having begun as an abstract Hip-Hop lyricist for the first 3 years. His exploration of Performance Poetry began in the year 2010 as a member of the UJ Poetry Society formally known as “Fore.Word Society”.

He has headlined and performed in all their major annual shows as an individual and in collaboration with a number of other prolific poets and performers. Aside from this, he has graced many stages throughout Johannesburg either in the form of slams, poetry competitions or open mike sessions. To mention a few, he performed as a guest performer in the regional semi-finals of the DFL lover And Another semi-finals in 2011. He has also recently performed as a representative of “Fore.Word Society” at the Izimbongi Poetry Festival 2012.

Aside from his experience as a Performance Poet, he has also quite recently explored other avenues of theatre through drama. He has thus far been part of three professional theatre productions under the UJ Drama Company. The first of these was “SA Shorts” which premiered at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2012 and was also staged at the University of Johannesburg Theatre. Followed by “The Boy Who Fell From The Roof” which was part of the “ThatSoGay Festival” hosted by the UJ Drama Company also in 2012. Lastly, in the current year of 2013, he was part of “Equus”, the prolific play by Peter Shaffer, also under the UJ Drama Company.

Further explorations of both drama and poetry came in the form of a poetical or dramatic poetry independent-theatre production called “The Funeral”. “The Funeral” was conceptualised, directed and co-written by Simo Mpapa Majola including co-writers, Modise Sekgothe, Obakeng Makhutle, Nyameko Nkondlwane and Lakai Saadiq.

Zewande Bhengu

Zewande Bhengu is a growing, ambitious theatre director who has a strong opinion on the socio-political, the national economical and the general world of arts and recreation. His journey in art began at an elementary level with short poems and further on in high school, he began to perform poetry at school functions.

In 2007 he moved to Johannesburg to study Dramatic Arts at the National School of the Arts, during that time he performed in a number of poetry sessions, open mic sessions, expressions night and the like. He directed a number of poetic works at this time and his best work was ‘The Speakers’ that earned him platinum certificates upon its success. He also co-founded Night Vigil Sessions which was hosted at the South Point Building (Norvic House).

He was part of the ’21 Poets and Poem’ cast which played at the Jo’burg Theatre Space.Com and the Jo’burg Theatre Fringe Stage. His later successful work was when he co-wrote and directed FIRE:BURN, which was staged in 2013 during Wits University Orientation-Week, The National Arts Festival, 969 Festival and had its last run at the Drama For Life Festival. He has since won the All Res Council Talent Show, The Christian Action Fellowship Talent Show (Twice) and in a display of versatility, took second place at the Transformation Office’ Photographic Competition. He later took the King of the Mic tilte at the Word N Sound Series Season 4 Episode 1.

Roach Du Plessis

I started writing when I was about 15, with the intention of composing lyrics for a band that hadn’t even existed yet. I went on to play bass in many bands, (and now currently for Brainwreck), while my lyric books piled up.

At the age of 24, I went to Brighton in the UK, where I rediscovered my love for poetry in the form of spoken word at a venue called the Sanctuary. At that point, I dusted off my lyric sheets and got back into writing. Since then, I’ve gotten involved with Poetry collectives such as House of Hunger, Gold Peanuts, Liquid Tongue and Word N Sound, often taking part in their slams and open mics.

Through Poetry, I try to convey concern for topics that the public are kept blind to. I wouldn’t say I’m entirely political, but I do address issues that matter, while touching on subjects that remind us of our humanity and the importance of individuality.

I aim to make my writing extend as far as possible, but I do feel that if I can reach at least one person, and make them think or feel, my objective has been achieved.

Apiwe Mjambane

I am a 22 year old upcoming spoken word poet. I am random, I love music and I enjoy my own company. I am a social misfit to put it mildly.

It all started in 2005 when I was completing Grade 9 at the East London Science College in the Eastern Cape. I didn’t know much about urban poetry at the time but I wanted to deliver an assigned oral task in a new, more exciting way. I had just discovered that I could communicate differently. That I could speak poetry. And I kept it a secret until I came to Johannesburg.

In 2010, with my move to this concrete jungle, I began attending and performing at open mic poetry sessions. That is when I realised that I was not just entertaining what most people call a ‘hobby’ I was actually practising the ideal way of communicating with different souls. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing.

After studying journalism at the Boston Media House I started building my profile as an Artist. I have grown a lot in my craft. I am currently part of a spoken word organisation called Word N Sound Live Poetry and Music Series a platform which grants me the opportunity to express my love for language and self-expression.

Nkululeko Ngwenya

Nkululeko Ngwenya, better known as Page is a 20 year old poet from Durban, South Africa. Also a B Sc Marine Biology student at UKZN Westville Campus he only started really performing on 2011 but has already been accepted in the circles and hearts of where he’s been. He describes his poetry as, himself; saying “my poetry draws from characters such as my father and other close family as I do myself”.

He has performed at Jomba! , Word N Sound Experience, Give Me Ten Mics, Cup O’ Thought and other nationally prestigious arts festivals. He was one third of the Poetry Africa SlamJam team against the European team from the Ordsprak Festival (Sweden) on the 16th Poetry Africa Festival in 2012 as well as being chosen the next year again to partake as the prelude poet for the 17th Poetry Africa Festival he is nowhere near stopping as he was first to be revealed as one of the headliners at KwaZulu Poetry Festival this April. Slam poetry champion of Cup O’ Thought as well as winning many minor events of the same kind has seasoned Page as a performer to travel around South Africa performing in Pietermaritzburg, Vryheid, Eshowe, Johannesburg and many other places.

Words with which he lives his art are, “poetry is not only in the words, but in the world. It is in the land, in the air and mostly, in ourselves.”

Xongani Maluleka

Writer, poet and performer. Credited for her unmistakable truth telling and unique style of writing.

Xongani started writing in high school for the lack of original poetry in her literature syllabus. As there were not many writers at her school to inspire growth in her poetry, she took leave from writing until university when she joined the University of Johannesburg Fore.Word Poetry Society and began to blossom into an eminent performer.

She has performed for important stages including the Word N Sound Poetry Slam where she won second place in the August 2013 top five. Her showcase at the Next Generation ‘Let’s Talk Homosexuality’ show remains closest to her heart as it was there that her voice became an ally for the activism of LGBTI rights.

Xongani wishes to grow in her writing and performing to have a bigger and critical voice for her expression of truth and advocacy for courses that are socially ignored

Elysium Garcia

Elysium Garcia is a writer and performance poet. An artist from childhood, his writing is a peculiar gallery of imagination and dream scape. Inspired by works of magical realism, absurd fiction and texts of mysticism, he writes his poetry from an alternative perspective, or as he defines it; ‘The Shadows.’ Garcia has been seen on stages in Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria and the Vaal.

In 2009, under a different forgotten name, he was part of a poetry collective formed at the Vaal University of Technology known as Secret Society 1696, blank compact discs were trafficked under seats at poetry shows with some of his’s primitive work of writing. It was not until 2010, that he opened up to a broader audience and came to Johannesburg to join and take part in the ever flourishing creative revolution of performance poetry.

Elysium has exhibited his work alongside many renowned names in the South African poetry community and international visitors respectively. He is one-third of Basic Channel, a poetry collective in Johannesburg currently working on numerous multimedia projects and literature products. He is the current Slam For Your Life champion and two times monthly (June and September) Word N Sound open mic poetry league king of the mic. His performance portfolio is comprised of performing at several poetry showcases and events in the country including a performance at TEDx Johannesburg in September 2013, Melville poetry festival (2013), Drama For Life poetry slam (2010), Izimbongi Poetry Festival (2011), Cup-O-Thought (Durban 2012), Current State of Poetry (2011), Likwid Tongue, UJ Poetry Festival (2010), he finished in the top 3 finalists of the first TEWOP Slam in 2012, top 10 finalist of the 2012 Word N Sound open mic league. He features in the 2012 Word N Sound poetry mix tape and KPN Live arts video mix tape.

Bafentse Ntlokoa

Born Sekang Bafentse Ntlokoa on the 26 of June 1985, this gifted mother of two fell in love with spoken word art after hearing Janet Jackson recite Maya Angelou’s ‘phenomenal woman’ in the movie Poetic Justice when she was only 10 years old. At age 16 she began scripting her own material but nothing she felt was poetry until age 21 when her spoken word artist boyfriend convinced her to take to the stage in 2006 at a poetry event organised by the VUT poetry society called Uvuko.

Bafentse did a few more performance in Johannesburg at Crammers coffee shop with balladry composition and some at Wits with but hasn’t always felt confident in her abilities as a spoken artist. It was only recently when she graced the stage with her enchanting piece called ‘beautiful like a gaping wound’ that the poetry public began to stand up and take note of this lyrical gem. Some patrons have been quoted as saying.

“If calligraphy had a sound, it would sound like the tone in your voice” -Sbusiso Simelane “Achingly honest, lyrically masterful, raw and gracefully eloquent at the same time, powerful yet dripping with delicate tenderness. I willingly flow where you flow” – Katlego Nakedi

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