Monthly Archives: April 2014

I look forward to performing with Blast again – Afurakan

AfurakanWe caught up with Word N Sound founder, Afurakan Mohare ahead of his showcase at the next episode of the Word N Sound Series in Newtown this Saturday.

1. What have you been up to in this last year since your last showcase?
When I showcased last year I had just started working as an Arts Projects Manager at the British Council. I have now recently joined Be Bozza, a digital distribution company, as the Head of Brand and Marketing. Outside of that I have been focused on growing Word N Sound as a brand and exploring other business ventures in the creative sector.

2. We hear your showcase is a preview of your first collection. Please tell us more about it?
Yes. So I have finally put together my first short poetry collection called The Book of Afurakan | “Blueprint for a Coup D’état”. On Saturday I will be presenting a few poems from the book and also look forward to performing with beat box genius “Blast” again.

3. What is the one poem you just have to write but the words refuse to come?
It is a poem called “Letter Bomb” and it just refuses to come out. I guess I have to be patient while the poem is busy writing itself, when it’s ready it will just fall out of my mouth.

4. ‘Cypher With God’ ends with “my tongue was then imprisoned for 21 reincarnations and only then can I cypher with God again.” Question is, has 21 centuries past and will you be cyphering with God again?
Eish but why? Wasn’t one cypher enough? And no, 21 reincarnations have not passed yet! LOL!

5. The Word N Sound stage has seen plenty new faces this year. Which poets have excited you the most and why?
If I can think of 2 names off the top of my head it would be Bafentse Ntlokoa who is an amazing new voice and Xabiso Vili who has an interesting energy and writing style.

6. What is next for Afurakan?
My next big move is taking poetry into the commerce of the digital space through my work at Be Bozza while continuing with my preparations to be President of the country in the not so distant future.

7. Complete the sentence: Dear Leader… Love got us here and love will free us from you!

Catch Afurakan on the Word N Sound stage this Saturday alongside beatbox legend, Blast. Also on the line up is Nancy G, the hottest Open Mic Slam in SA and the launch of #DearLeader. Don’t miss out, head to the Barney Simon Theatre (inside the main Market Theatre complex) on 3 May. Doors open at 12, show starts at 1. R50 gets you in.

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Poet In A Suit

Mandi Vundla met up with Mxo Mtshali a poet and organizer from Durban to tell us more about “Poet In A Suit” a KZN festival taking place in 3 different Cities.

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“I’ve spotted pictures of fine poets dressed in suits on Facebook and I must say, it commanded my attention. Gggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” – Mandi

1. What is the inspiration behind naming the festival “Poet In a Suit “and what is it that you are trying to achieve with the event?

Kwazulu Poetry Festival contains poet in a suit and other sessions that will be taking place at the festival…. with a suit we are saying to the working class and people in business we are working too. Respect us; pay us well if the job is done well. We are saying we respect our job.

2. When and where is the festival? Please take us through the proceedings.

Durban, from 10h00 -17h00 we will be at the Bat centre doing workshops then the open mic and slam poetry competition.

From 19:00 Moses Mabida, Poet In A Suit Show
Date: 25 April 2014

Newcastle – Poet in a suit -black rock casino, day sessions -Newcastle art centre.

PMB – Day sessions Winston Churchill, Poet in a suit golden horse casino.

3. Organizing a multi-city festival is no child’s play, what challenges have you been faced with?

It’s those poets who feel that we were unfair by not putting them on the line up… money money, everything needs money. But next year I think it will be better.

4. “Poet in a suit” is a bold statement on its own, it challenges the conventional misconception that poets are dirty. Do you think the image of the poet matters?

When it comes to image i think it’s more about what a poet wants with his art. Some poets are too spiritual about it to the point yokuthi they think it’s wrong to be paid for it. But if a person is business minded about it lapho image counts a lot. With poet and a suit we are business minded it will be unfair for us to drag poets to it if they view poetry as a religion of some sort.

5. How can people find out more about this event?

Poet in a suit Facebook page…
Mxolisi Mtshali
0739260466

‘I’m drawn to the untold stories of the downtrodden & forgotten people’ – Makhafula Vilakazi

Word N Sound’s Head of Production, Xongani Maluleka, got to know Makhafula Vilakazi a little before in this interview before his performance at the second installment of Word N Sound Presents… this Thursday at Sophiatown, Melville.

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1. I understand that Makhafula Vilakazi is just your stage name. Please tell us what made you choose this as the moniker of your public persona?
There is nothing in the poem per se. It was just a name that people elokhsini started calling me by, and I adopted it as a stage name I guess.

2. In one of the many reviews of your critically acclaimed album “I’m Not Going Back To The Township”, it is noted that the box of “Poetry” is limiting for your style of delivery. What kind of artists do you consider yourself to be?
I am writer.  I sometimes write poems, sometimes I write prose and sometimes the distinction between the two is muddled.

3. Did you produce your album ‘I’m Not Going Back To The Township’ independently, and did this impact the ease or difficulty of making collaborations happen?
Yes, I produced it independently. I wanted the album to have a bit of variety in the form of music and I approached a number of people. Because I was doing an independent project with no real commercial prospects, I was rejected by quite a few people. Samthing Soweto and Impande Core were prepared to do the collaboration for art’s sake I suppose.

4. Many artists say that if it were possible to just be artists without worrying about the administrative side of things, they would opt for that. Do you feel the same?
Yes, I tend to agree with that. Ideally artists should just focus on art and have someone to do the admin. Unfortunately, the current industry model dictates that artists have to be signed with record labels for this purpose. The contracts they end up signing are exploitative and the artists end up getting fraction of what we pay for their art.

5. You’ve published an anthology “Sections of Six” under the Botsotso Publishers banner. How has the book been doing in terms reception by the audience and sales? Do you feel that it is viable to monetize performance poetry through books at present?
I was one of six poets who were published on the anthology. Honestly, I do not know how the book is doing. With regards to your second question, I do believe there is potential for both. Some poetry is better packaged in books and some in audio. I have also seen some amazing audio-visual work from poets at Word N Sound and I think there is a lot of opportunity there as well.

6. What drives you to create art?
I am drawn to the untold stories of the downtrodden and forgotten people ekasi. I am also inspired by the everyday.

7. What would you say has been the major highlight of your career thus far?
I would say preforming on the same stage with Botsotso Jesters in 2005 was the highlight.

8. After winning the B-Connected competition hosted in Soweto by Music Mayday, you went on to perform at The Music Mayday Festival in Tanzania. What valuable insights did you learn from this that you would like to pass on to other artists that are looking to expand into the continent?
I am not sure if that qualifies me to give advice but the biggest lesson I took from it was around language and authenticity. In Tanzania I performed my poetry in Zulu and Tsotsitaal some in English. Interestingly the people related more to the feeling that went with the vernacular poems more than the English one.

9. Oh, and one more thing; where can we get your album and your book?
I gather that the book is available at Xara Bookshop. If you want a copy of the CD you can email me on ramashia1@gmail.com.

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Rise of the Underdogs presents Bongeziwe Mabandla

Bongeziwe

So, how does Word N Sound follow-up having the eclectic Bongeziwe Mabandla as a headlining act at their 3rd annual Word N Sound Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival? The answer – collaborating once more with the two-time SAMA nominee; this time to be the headline performer at our new show – Rise of The Underdogs!

Rise of the Underdogs is the newest show to be produced by Word N Sound. Hosted at the SABC’s S, it is a live music showcase featuring music by up-and-coming bands, and headlined by an established act.

It is our endeavour to provide a platform for said bands to showcase their talents, and engage new audiences, whilst giving audiences a sneak peek into what the future music scene looks like.

So, what better way to launch than with the ineffable talent that is Bongeziwe Mabandla? This versatile artist is a singer/songwriter/actor and instrumentalist. His musical journey has taken him from the rural plains of Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, to as far afield as London and Paris.

His unplugged style is an eclectic afro-soul collage that draws from hip-hop, soul, mbaqanga, and traditional Xhosa music. It has left audiences and artists so enamored that it has been featured in TV series and movies.

The show will take place at the SABC studios on the 19th of April at 13:00, and tickets are sold at the door for R50.

Do come through and witness history being made.

Day of the Author: ‘A good book speaks to the soul of the reader’ – Phehello Mofokeng

Independent publisher Geko Publishing announces Day of the Author so Mandi Vundla touched base with Phehello Mofokeng about being the founder of an independent publishing company, writer and organizer.

Day of the author
“Parents born in the 70s and 80s are raising their children with TV, while most of them were raised with books” – Phehello Mofokeng

11 April 2014, Gheko publishing will be hosting “Day of the Author” Please tell us more about this event?
Day of the Author is an event of literature, book expo, book readings, discussions, book launches, workshops, a book sprint, poetry session, book cover gallery/exhibition and music/live performances. The aim of the book day is to expose readers to the 20-book titles of Geko Publishing and to profile the authors of the award-winning independent publishing house Geko Publishing. The event takes place alongside the International African Literature Conference at Wits University, hosted by African Literature Department under Dr Bhekisizwe Petersen.

You have a jaw dropping line up, how did you narrow down your selection?
Well that was easy! We pulled almost all the authors that Geko has published before and we made a line up with them. Then we went out of our immediate Geko family into the extended family to ask practitioners to host a workshop here, run a networking session there, to take part in the book sprint etc

Please describe this event in one quote?
“Orgasmic symphony of creative literary minds in one space under the auspices of one of the leading independent publishing houses in SA”

What does it mean to be an independent publisher?
It means a lot of hard work. It also means that you can publish whatever you want – whether it’s good or bad, but at Geko we try and print only what is not only good, but best! It also means that you can break the rules of publishing and literature. But I think most importantly it means you can set new trends and lead the pack and that is what Geko aims to do.

Please tell us what best defines a good book?
I have no idea – all publishers are in search for such. But I would say that, at Geko a good book is one that speaks to the soul of the reader, one that resonates the author’s storyline well and one that fulfills primarily the ideals of the author.

What do you presume is the reason for South Africa’s low literacy rate and what is the resolve for this dilemma?
I know this is cliché – but I think we can blame apartheid for this. Remember the people that we consider illiterate now mostly come from Bantu education or are a second (if not the first) generation of that! Remember Bantu education was not teaching people for any good reason – it taught people to raise them as labour for white privilege or industry. Secondly, the generation after Bantu education is the TV generation … Parents born in the 70s and 80s are raising their children with TV, while most of them were raised with books. TV sucks out the intelligence out of anyone watching. It is a one-direction medium and it takes nothing to absorb it, whereas consuming books is very beneficial – you are reading, comprehending, imagining, using all your senses – seeing, smelling (the book – try it, it is an orgasmic experience), touching etc … Lastly it is technology! Technology is making things easier – it requires people to use less and less of their own mental faculties – so the is GPS when we used printed maps, there is Google when we used encyclopedia, there are cell phones when we used to write letters etc

There is no one reason why people are getting dumber and dumber – there is a whole cacophony of them … If your question aims at me addressing books, here is my answer. Books are too damn expensive. For as long as the monopoly of selling books and distributing them sits in the hands of big chain stores, our people will never afford books. Geko is opening Book Spazas in the next two or three months. Book Spaza will be a spaza shop in the middle of a township … our aim is to sell books so cheap – for example with R100 you should get 2 books, and a Coke or cup of coffee or cheap wifi connection. The Book Spazas will be in Soweto, Alex and other townships – the main aim is to roll them out to rural areas and all over SA – you will see levels of literacy improving … You cannot make books ultra-expensive and expect people who have a  choice between bread and butter to buy them. So we need to bring the cost of books way way down and then we will see a change

If you were trapped in a burning building and you had to choose 3 author to write you to safety, who would it be and why?
Sabata-mpho Mokae, Tuelo Gabonewe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Mofolo – I can go on!

What is the one task you hate about organizing an event?
Everything. I hate events – period. If I had a choice, I would not do it!

INTERVIEW: I’m glad Manufacturing Kings became what it is – Elysium Garcia

TshepeMutle Mothibe interviewed Elysium Garcia ahead of his showcase at the next
Word N Sound Series.

1. How long have you been writing poetry and how long have you been performing/reciting your work?
Looking back now, it has been some time since I started writing things down. It, however, took much longer to understand what that meant and what I’m exactly doing with it. So with that said; I might have just started a few months ago, I don’t know.

I started saying the things I write to people late 2007. Performance is a recent story as well, that came after a lot of attempts and what I now consider to be incomprehensible metal-like baby-talk. I’m grateful of the growth.

2. What is your favourite poetic device and please share one of your current favourite lines if possible break down the word play and what you mean to say with the line?
Man, beyond that whole alchemy of syntax, rhyme schemes and metaphors, I’m a fan of Voice, a poet’s distinctive sound! The command a poet charges just when they start speaking. It really doesn’t count that much to me if you are saying the simplest of things, as long as they are carried by command, I’ll love you stupidly!

“Soldier; there’s a lot you haven’t bled enough to know, a lot you haven’t cried enough to see. You haven’t suffered enough to accept defeat. Pick yourself up!” …I don’t have an explanation.

3. What sort of books do you like reading and please name 2 of your favourite authors?
I LOVE Magical Realism books! I read now a lot of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and yes; the father: Monghadi Kgabane Qhoboshiane Nnate Morena Okri! (Yah noh, you know; he deserves all of that!)

4. Do you have a ritual you do before going on stage and please take us through your preparation process before a major performance?
I do have a ritual, which unfortunately I cannot disclose, The Shadows won’t allow.
Ey man, for a major show, I just ‘LOGIN’ from the moment I hear about it. I never stop talking about it. I think about all the time.

5. What inspired Manufacturing Kings and where did you find the different pics in the vid?
Manufacturing Kings was inspired by the Word N Sound Do Good Inc. It reflected on the tragic past of the lack of everything informative in my early life, the hardships and dust, thereof.

And also (a concealed truth) I tied a lot of tools into the poem trying to retain my previous month’s King of the Mic spot, which didn’t actually happen. But today I’m horrendously euphoric that the poem became what it is, beyond the slam realm.

The images revealed themselves to me, everyday oblivious blogging and suddenly something powerful photographs would just jump in front of me. I had to do something about it.

6. If you had a million pounds to put together a show…What would the one man poetry show look like?
A DAMN NEW WORLD (to the extraterrestrial) ORDER!!!
I would eat it’s face!
I would unearth all shadowy things, materialize dreams and pull a whole Houdini on stage! Levitate and metamorphose all I want! IMAGINE!!!
People would never attend a poetry show after seeing that one, unless it is set to be far beyond that.
Ey I’d break the damn thing! Decompose it to ashes.

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Who will take the Queen/King of the Mic title?

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With every Word N Sound Series comes the question who is taking the Queen/King of the Mic title? Last month NoLIFE took the title after his provocative piece about corrective rape earned him a near perfect score.

Poetic Butterfly returned to the WNS stage after close to two years to take the number 2 spot. Pretoria poets turned up the heat, giving Jozi poets a run for their money on home ground. Bella, representing the capital city took 3rd place, while Claudia Mac (sometimes known as Xongani when she’s not so angry) and Bafentse took 4th and 5th places.

With 4 ladies in the hotly contested Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League Top 5, all we can say is: ‘Who said women don’t slam?’

‘I Stand Corrected’ by NoLIFE
235 points (King of the Mic)

‘Kade Kwabanje’ by Poetic Butterfly
214.5 points

‘Balloons’ by Bella
212 points

‘Untitled’ by Claudia Mac
210.5 points

‘Awe’ by Bafentse
209 points

The Runners Up
6. Xabiso – 207 points
7. Apiwe – 201 points
8. Nkosinathi – 188.5 points
9. Puleng – 178 points
10. Bulumko – 177 points

Join us this Saturday at the Market Theatre Laboratory for the next round of the Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League Slam. The slam is open to all poets, all you have to do is arrive early enough to sign up.

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#WNSallstars: Chris Redmond’s imagery made me want to burn all my poems – Mutle

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1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
The first time I heard of Word N Sound was through my girlfriend’s friends. They kept telling me how I need to be part of the performance line up and they’d told me how they need to speak to Afura and get me to perform.

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 first time was at the UJ space where I performed ‘Parkinsons’. I came 3rd place which was rather disappointing. But it was a fun experience and got to meet all the interesting characters of Word N Sound.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?
My most memorable performance and Word N Sound experience was the Tongue Fu performance. That was fucken amazing! Chris Redmond’s imagery was like a solar flair bursting inches away from my third eye and made me want to burn all my poems and work even harder. Haven’t felt that way in YEARS!

4. You are now part of the WNS committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I’m the International Relations Manager at Word N Sound. Dealing with building and maintaining relations with international clients. It’s more fun than anything really. I get to see the people behind the artist and their art. I get to see the real side of these amazing witty and quite sensitive beings. I love that I’ve also come to gain friends internationally. I really don’t have any lows in my line of work.

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?
Kagiso’s Manufacturing Kings, Mandis poem on the kwaito stars and Mpho Khosi’s Nkosi Sikeleli iAzania piece.

#WNSallstars: There was a stage now for poets to come and just be poets – Mpho

AllStars_Mpho
1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
I can’t really remember where I first heard of Word N Sound, but it came at a time when I had told myself I wanted to try out performance poetry.

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 first experience on the Word N Sound stage, I was told my poem was too short, I went home and redid it. I loved the fact that there was a stage now for poets to come and just be poets. Initially, I didn’t like the competitive nature of the stage.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?
My most memorable would have to be the first WnS Festival, getting to be part of such an event and stand next to great poets.

4. You are now part of the WNS committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
My role in the committee is as merchandiser and also looking at the WNS paperwork. The challenge is learning the role on the job, the reward is learning all these new trades that one didn’t posses before.

5. 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?
Favorite poems would have to be Mandi’s poem that she performed at the WnS poetry corner, the name of the piece escapes me. Bonga’s cyber-dating, its poem that shows that as poets we don’t always have to be serious and political. Andrew’s poem, make up your mind. I love the poem as it highlights the plight that women face of having to please their partners by looking all made up, while neglecting their intellect.

#WNSallstars: It’s nice to be part of a movement bigger than ourselves – Bonga

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1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
From a young fetching broad, that used to attend the sessions we used to host at the Boston Media House. And I wanted to be part of it mainly because it was at the Baseline and everyone one wants to be able to say I performed at the Baseline at least once in their lives.

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?
That was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve had at WNS, it was a day spent with old friends, making new ones. And it didn’t hurt that this was all done in the name of poetry. I don’t think there was anything to hate on that day.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?
The most recent, TongueFu show was pretty awesome, so I’d have to go with that one.

4. You are now part of the WNS committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I am the merchant of Venice! I do the whole Jason Statham transporter thing at times, bald head and all, and I’m supposed to be projecting managing but work is kinda getting in the way with that one at the moment but I’m working on it. It’s been a pretty rewarding experience because we get to hang out with international artists and get to feel important in life but yea it’s nice to be part of a movement bigger than ourselves in creating a sustainable platform for poetry…it sucks sometimes because we can’t get to enjoy the full shows cause of all the running around but all is well that ends well.

5. 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?
This is a hard one but uhm… Maybe the Lebanon Cedar tree poem by Andrew(I think I’m messing this tittle up and I do apologise), Manufacturing Kings was a pretty powerful piece and the poem about Joburg letting his people go by KB.