Monthly Archives: August 2014

“Poetry in the air was an awesome experience.” – Quaz

Quaz

We caught up with Quaz Roodt after his Poetry In The Air showcase.

Poet MC, creative writing facilitator, poetry events organizer and father to Malik, Richard Quaz Roodt has managed to reinvent himself time and time again. Notorious for his ability to write short impactful poems, this member of the Likwid Tongue Collective shared a piece of his writing expertise with the SAfm family in the first week of the Poetry In The Air Radio Series. Hosted by Myesha Jenkins, the woman with a voice for radio.

Myesha Jenkins asks: “As somebody who does hip hop and spoken word poetry which usually entails longer poems, how is it that are you’re able to write short poems of this nature?”

Quaz explains that he encountered a moment where he was analyzing his work and he was trying to figure out what it is that he was trying to say. “A lot of it was hidden in ego and verbosity and trying to show people how smart I am as opposed to telling them how I feel or how I experienced life,” he says.

“A lot of the hip hop stuff is very ego driven. Hip Hop is the only art form that encourages you not to be wack, so from that ego driven type of writing i wanted to come back to understanding myself and to use my writing as a tool to find myself, which was a personal journey. That was a conscious deliberate thing that i did. To sit back and rethink how i want to give myself to the world and how i want to give the world to the world as i perceive and understand it”

 Poetry in the air was really awesome.” Myesha is such a beautiful, gentle soul, she really cares about the art form. I love being able to share my work and thoughts on any platform, especially national radio. I’m happy that poetry is getting the type of exposure it is receiving. Coupled with the amazing and consistent work done by organizations such as WNS we can only do better and even greater with time. And yes yes yes!!! There is room for poetry on mainstream media

POET OF THE WEEK- Koleka Putuma is on a winning streak!!

Writer Kgothatso Maditse get’s into the mind of this rising star to find out more about her journey as a poet on a winning streak..

 “Ashes are unofficial metaphors for black sons”

“Ashes are unofficial metaphors for black sons”

Who is Koleka?

I’m a final year student at UCT studying Theatre and performance. A lover of words, an awkward quiet being, one of 8 kids

Where did this all begin? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off for 6 years, but seriously for 4. It started in Grade 9, we had to write a poem about HIV and Aids, unprotected sex for LO. So yea if it wasn’t for that……

What inspires you?

Personal experiences, pressing issues in society

What do you want to be remembered for?

The effort and time I put in crafting my writing. Eventually, and I do hope to get to this point, where the title’s not something that goes before me, but rather that the work is what goes before me.

Which poets do you look up to and what do you like about them?

Zora Howard, Nayyira Waheed, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Te’v Smith and Joburg based poet Mandi Vundla, among others. Their work jolts and twists and rearranges the way I once thought of things. And I dig writing that has the ability to do that to my perspective

You said you had told someone you wanted to be on the Word N Sound stage. Why Word N Sound?

They are doing really dope, amazing things, and whenever there is something that dope, you want to be part of them moving forward in a positive way

You’re the first National Slam Champion. How does that feel, and what do you think it can open up for you?
She came out victorious
It feels amazing and affirming, and right now it’s drawing a lot of attention too. People didn’t know who i was before the thing. I think more people know my work. Not my work, but me. They cannot be acquainted with my work

If you could fix one thing about the poetry/spoken word society/environment, what would it be?

Perhaps not fix, but just draw attention to. The business aspect of the society/environment needs constant evaluation, respect and attention

What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I’m a passionate being. I’m a really passionate being. About everything

What is one thing most misunderstood about you?

That i’m sociable. People don’t know! I’m awkward and that’s awkward.

Your future in terms of poetry, where are you going? What can we look forward to from you next?

I want to travel some more. I want to publish, hopefully. But I’m not rushing anything. I’ll take it as it comes. Stay glued to my blog I’d say: www.cocoputuma.wordpress.com


We wish you everything of the best on your journey
SALUTE!

Khadija Tracey heeger opens POETRY IN THE AIR

 “We hold a mirror and it’s everyone’s face there.” K.Heeger

For those who missed out on the 1st installation of the 3rd season of poetry in the air.
Kadhija Tracey Heeger opened what will be the first of many interviews with Myesha Jenkins on SAfm, every week from 11:45 to 12:00

She shares her experience with us and explains why she believes there is room for poetry on main stream media.

“I love the feel of the show” she says. There is a beautiful intimacy and Myesha’s voice creates this. I felt like I was having tea with a friend somewhere in a garden. And yes, there is absolutely a place for poetry in mainstream media. Many people are discovering their voices, not all of this translates into poetry, yet those of us who use poetry to express, we know how important it is to say these things. It has been proven that people are hungry to hear these stories. Stories that often connect deeply to their lives, like an echo of self, a reflection of us out there in someone else. It’s a human connection. And even though the poet may write about his/her own experience, we hold a mirror and it’s everyone’s face there. We all need witness to our lives, poets make that possible. Artists make that possible.

If you enjoyed the poems she read on air, you’re in luck as we have all 3 of them for you.

 1. Aunty Beaty (for Beatrice Heeger my father’s sister) 

I knew here once.

She walked like polyester against stocking and smelled of geraniums.

My aunty Beaty.

She always over cooked the rice.

Her house had the melancholy light of long forgotten happy things.

It struck me that she found herself a memory too soon.

And being a memory one begins to mimic an almost life.

At 6 I feared that house.

And she scared me as the prematurely dead do.

I was after all too early for the experience of dead things.

Once I heard her cackle frigid as a dry bone.

It was the kind of sound that prised itself into one’s personal Pandora’s box.

Everyone has a box like that in a house like this. (gesture to body)

At 48, I journey into her house again.

I start at the beginning?

I come to her differently.

Uncovering her beauty.

Her garden overrun with tangled roots and tree-arms.

Behind a rotting wall in From Road Wynberg.

The Khoi pond and my grandfather Nunkie hammering something or other

in the outer room leading off the stoep.

At 48 how bad can she be.

At 48 I enter her space.

Sense her flesh, her warm, her cold.

Her frailty and towering enormity.

Woman alone.

Loveless bed. 

This thing we call memory is frail at best

Wild and accusatory when we are young

Memory builds its house so differently

One never knows where you’ll find the windows or the doors

The roofs or the floors.

At 48 aunty Beaty.

Has become someone.

I can love.

2. Sister (for Loretta Thomas nee Heeger)

In Denovo the Plum trees stand at the edge of the front garden

almost equi-distant on either side between the other two fruit trees.

The white daisies in the field frolick in the breeze and you teach me how to make daisy chains

beyond the barbed-wire border and the alcoholic’s home

and next door the old age home where mommy works.

Every Friday they collect the balie from the outside toilet

The smell of wood, newspaper and poop permeates the air in that little space in our yard

Vineyards line the fence across from the sunflower in the back

I live here.

A nappy dangling from my bottom.

Sunglasses to big for my face

and arms to short to fold across my chest

You keep this photograph.

You keep many.

You love to document.

I page through albums find bits of hair, a tooth.

The family archivist I call you.

At night when I take baths.

I scream – afraid of the water.

You take me, still dressed in my vest and panties on your lap in the water

and ladle water on me slowly with your cupped hand.

God only knows what the water has to say.

But you take the fear away

We take up adventures between daisy fields, vineyards.

Snakes sunbathing scales in the sun till dusk

and bustling birds laying eggs in tree nests.

I love the open space.

The dogs and cats, Gigi, Mo and His Nibs.

Those tadpoles with their magic,

how they startle me the first time they grow legs – as if by magic.

Nature is an icky, weird, magical mistress.

You teach me this too.

Your heart pumping motherhood at 19.

I remember.

The sharp smell of rain on dirt road

and how my sister grew me the magic with her stories and her games.

And how she fastened me inside with her love

And I rode the unicorn of life.

To beyond what eyes could see.

3. I come from

I come from Caledon dust

Where my mother grew her bones to fit under my father’s arm

I come from crooked fig trees in my grandmother’s backyard alive with the procreation of bees

I come from loose tongues women who speak their minds

And drink beer with men under Oak trees on a Saturday afternoon in Wynberg

Where the politics of what was proper fell short of the doorstep

Here at the hearth of a coal stove boiling water for baths in a steel tub

Made for 5 women and their children

And from there where a woman took me slimy into her midwife arms

And called me daughter with her whole heart

I come from a man who used his hands and spirit to make my life safe

Driving Cape City Council trucks for something that could not be called

Making a living

I come from biology, mythology, adoption, community

From unnatural catholic beliefs, masturbation is a sin

To rape and overriding carnal pleasures deceptively

Disguised as love

I come from pain masked by alcohol and amphetamines

Imperfections that called me a whore at 14

A pregnant teen at 15

A dead mother at 19

Two marriages, two divorces

And four children, Bjorn, Nicole, Alfred and Wayne

I come from ‘I think nothing of myself’

To nights when suicide was a pure option

And poetry was for dark thoughts

A place where forgiveness did not pause

I know what alone is

When my neighbours the Furlongs were the only people who had food to give

I come from passion and power

Marigolds, Dahlias, Frangipani

Starlings in our roof

I come from a complex identity that cannot be fashioned around colour,

Religion, gender, sexual orientation and conventional notions of family

I am the offspring of Harry die Strandloper, Krotoa, Ansela van de Caeb, Van Bengal, van Riebeeck the barbarian and many more

I come places I have not been and people I have not seen

I am the parchment of a history that is never spoken

Sitting behind museum curtains

Entrusted to tour guides whose tongues speak benign slavery

In the ledger of time nothing adds up

For what happened in the lodge, Prestwich place

Gallows hill, Greenmarket and Church square

On tortured pages of history

Is never really written in their tongues

Horror

Their voices catch in a spirit gag

And the sperm of centuries ago walk on streets of denial

In European cities that I need a passport for

And in unsaid celebrations of black mothers and fathers

Until we speak

Until we speak

Until we speak

Our unanswered questions cancer our children

Horror and anger unspoken is a ghost with a grudge

My love makes me speak

I come from this.

Interact with Kadhija Tracy Heeger

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Kadhija Tracy Heeger 

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@khadijaheeger

For bookings email:
ktheeger@gmail.com

Luka Lesson drops a new video

“Celebrate The Storm” from Australian Spoken Word and Hip Hop Artist, Luka Lesson’s latest album EXIT is out! The video features the Nahko Bear (USA) from Nahko and Medicine for the People – fresh from tours with Xavier Rudd, Michael Franti and SOJA.

“This video is by far my best yet, and Nahko and I hope it touches you in a way that makes you believe in your strength and power as you struggle and push through the hard times,” says Luka.

Enjoy!! Share!! Dance!! and turn it UP!

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A beautiful start to an amazing series

Myehsa Jenkins kicked off her annual month long radio series called Poetry In The Air. Cape Town based poet, Khadija Heeger was the first of 14 poets to be featured on this SAfm series.

A big thank you and #Salute goes to Myesha Jenkins and SAfm for bringing poetry to nationwide radio. #PoetryWins!

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The Poetry In The Air series runs until September so be sure to tune in to SAfm for more.

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MYESHA JENKINS has the soul for poetry…

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Hi Mandi: Just found out that we have more days for the poetry show on SAfm. Would you be willing to do it?” Myesha Jenkins

When I read this message in my Facebook inbox, I had to take a moment just to breathe a little. Feminist, immigrant and activist, Myesha is no stranger to the poetry community, the contribution that she has made goes far beyond that of just being a poet. We chat to her about the role she continues to play in our industry, and we find out how she managed to get poetry on TALK RADIO.

“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and i could think on my feet to come up with the right idea” Jenkins

1. Safm is one of South Africa’s leading talk radio stations, how did you manage to convince them that poetry on the airwaves is a good investment?

I’m sure you’ll think I’m lying because the story is so magical it just doesn’t seem like it could possibly be true. The preface is that it was the Year of the Dragon, known for things getting whipped around by that powerful tail, turning things upside down, profoundly changing reality.

I had been out of the scene for a couple of years and had lost many contacts. It was 2011 and I was coming to grips with losing my vision in one eye but at the same not wanting to hide away. I had produced a new poetry collection, had launched it at Poetry Africa and needed to break back into the Joburg scene. I had a friend who was in production at SAfm, so I called Geoffrey Matenji to see if we could meet. My goal for the meeting was to get some suggestions of shows I could approach to do interviews to push my book.

When I got there, he had arranged for the Community Liaison to meet with us, which I thought a little strange. So we did a little chit chat about poetry, my collection, the work I was doing with Jozi House of Poetry and then she said, “So how can SAfm help your organisation?”

I went blank. I hadn’t come there with Jozi House of Poetry in mind so I had to think …. Real quickly. Maybe they’d like to sponsor our monthly sessions. Maybe they’d like to fund a book of our regulars. Maybe they’d like to record some of our sessions. I was literally pulling ideas from the air, ideas that could build Jozi House of Poetry.

“Yes”, she said, “lets explore that idea a bit.” So I described our sessions, the diversity, the mixture of page and stage poets, the goal of promoting poetry to a community whose reference was Daffodils and Clouds. She liked the idea of recording poetry sessions. “Lets get Julia from Drama to come down.”

As we waited for Julia-Ann Malone, Geoffrey and I did a full on pitch for my personal legitimacy and longevity in the poetry scene. They had to know I wasn’t a fly-by-night character and that Jozi House of Poetry was a credible community based institution. I gave her my book but then after all that hoorah, i humiliated myself by not even having a pen to sign it with. (I’d cleaned my purse that morning and forgotten to put the pens and notebook back in.)

Luckily Julia-Ann arrived at that point. We talked further about recording Jozi House of Poetry sessions, refining details. She had experience, recording poets in the 80s and knew that the producer of those shows was still around. They had some space in the audio drama schedule during August, so it made sense to try and create something for that time to focus on women.

I jotted down some of these ideas (yes, I had to borrow a piece of paper too) and we exchanged email addresses. I promised to write up the notes from the meeting and Julia promised to check if the producer was available. That was it.

I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and i could think on my feet to come up with the right idea. SAfm wasn’t committed to poetry, they had no idea of its popularity and of the scope of contemporary writing but they liked how I presented myself and they were looking for something new.

They were clear, there was no money for this and I willingly accepted that because I was thrilled at the national exposure we could get for poetry.

Of course I went home and wrote up the notes, then shared them with Phillippa Yaa DeVillliers and we refined the notes into a proper proposal that was submitted and approved. Phillippa came up with the name.

When the MOU came it was clear that SAfm was not really engaged with the concept as we were limited from using the material in anyway and SAfm retained all rights. But still, we knew the value of such a show, even if they didn’t.
That’s how Poetry in the Air came into being.

What inspired Poetry in the air?

You can see there wasn’t much thought that went into creating the show. Nevertheless, Jozi House of Poetry had been operating for a number of years and by 2011 was in a second incarnation. Its explicit purpose was to provide a platform for poetry, particularly to create a safe space for women writers who didn’t always get much attention in the male dominated world of spoken word. We also wanted to encourage writing, reading and developing the skills of written poetry. We also placed a value on authenticity and poetry that spoke of personal truths and emotion.

The inspiration for Poetry in the Air then, was to expose the nation to that ethos, to promote the work of primarily black women writers. The added kick to the show would be that women would be reading their own work and responding to questions about it, so listeners could hear the writers’ intention, intonation and her personal voice.

Myesh Jenkins-The Atrium, Women's Gaol, Constitution Hill.

Myesh Jenkins-The Atrium, Women’s Gaol, Constitution Hill.

3. How did poets adjust to the dynamics of performing poetry for radio as opposed to being on the stage?

Radio is very different from stage performances and some people battled. Poems had to be shortish (the ear gets tired easily), they had to have different rhythms and themes. One could over emote but the work had to convey emotion. Imagine, two people sitting across a small table from each other with a huge microphone dangling between them, only able to speak when the red light came on. No props. Some found that terribly intimidating. As well, some were uncomfortable with the editing process and that someone was going to maybe cut out some of their words or change the order of the interview.

In addition, poets were asked to suggest music that would be used in the show, music that reflected them and the material. After editing, the music was added to the introduction and it served as a link throughout show. Many people hadn’t thought of their work from this perspective and had a hard time.

We were lucky to have a producer, Posy Buckland, who is extremely experienced and skilled. She was the person Julia had mentioned, who’d worked on this kind of poetry show in the 89s but from years of putting together radio dramas, she was a skilled editor and had a sensitivity or rather sensibility to use just the right music to enhance the words

4. What can we expect from the line up for poetry in the air?

This is the third year of the show and we wanted to add a new element. The previous two years used local Johannesburg poets but this time, we also included three poets from Cape Town. It was a big thing organisationally for SAfm to link from studio to studio but it all went well without any problems.

In the second year we added males to the line-up and that was continued again.
The theme was pretty vague though everyone had at least one poem addressing the strength and experience of women.

Specific poets for 2014 include: Khadijah Heegar, Ouaz Roodt, Vangi Gantsho, Nova Masango, Sarah Godsell, Conelius Jones, Natalia Molebatsi, Khosi Xaba, Afurakan, Mandi Vundla, Toni Stuart, Phillippa Yaa DeVilliers, Dejavu Tafari, Mutle Mothibe and Myesha Jenkins

5. You have continued to play an influential role in the poetry community, what keeps you inspired?

I like the idea of building poetry so I’m interested in seeing our community expand in numbers, in platforms, in types … all of it. I think it’s important to express the reality of our lives. So my inspiration is in building that community, supporting writers, encouraging more people to express themselves through written poetry and spoken word.

6. You are also the co-founder of Jozi House of Poetry, tell us more about this platform.

Jozi House of Poetry is a monthly session that provides a safe space for women poets and encourages authentic, personal, reflective kinds of writing. As a woman-friendly space, kids are also welcome, i.e. you don’t have to take the baby out. You don’t have to memorise and people can read their work. And it’s not about competition and looking good. We usually have a theme and discussion which allows both poets and non-poets, just lovers of the word, to share their opinions and ideas and their poems as they fit into the discussion.

We are now in the third incarnation of Jozi House of Poetry. It was first started by Feela Sistah in 2003 and ran till 2006. It was housed in the old Couch and Coffee in Newtown. We Then started again in 2011 and operated for two years at the POP Art Theatre in the Maboneng Precinct. In January of 2014 we moved to the African Freedom Station in Westdene where we currently have a much more open and relaxed atmosphere.

7. What has been the greatest highlight of your poetry career?

Personally it was receiving the 2013 Mbogodo Award in the category of Poetry. The Mbogodo award honours women making meaningful contributions to the arts. Winning that was very special.I’ve also enjoyed performing at Poetry Africa. The first time was in 2004 as part of the Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective with Napo Masheane, Lebo Mashile and Ntsiki Mazwai. The second time was in 2011 when I launched my second book, Dreams of Flight. I worked with jazz musician, Bradley Maponya.

8. Name 3 writers you can’t live without?

Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, and Warsan Shire and locally it’s Gabeba Baderoon, Khosi Xaba and Phillippa Yaa Devilliers.

9.If you could improve anything in the poetry communities, what would it be?

More cross fertilization and sharing of knowledge. More sharing of technical skills. Less competitiveness. Expanding to reach all the provinces. More intergenerational platforms. Somehow seeing ourselves as branches of the same tree … the PO E TREE.

We thank you Myesha for all that you do. Catch poetry in the air at the end of the Ashraf Gardia show, from 11h45 to 12 noon, Safm  (104 –107 fm) Monday through to Thursday.  (The first week starts on Tuesday, 12 August and we go into September, ending Thursday, 4 September.

Tuesday, 12 August Khadijah Heeger

Wednesday, 13 August Quaz

Thursday, 14 August Vangi Gantsho

Monday, 18 August Nova

Tuesday, 19 August Sarah Godsell

Wednesday, 20 August Conelius Jones

Thursday, 21 August Natalia Molebatsi

Monday, 25 August Khosi Xaba

Tuesday, 26 August  Afurakan

Wednesday, 27 August Mandi Vundla

Thursday, 28 August Toni Stuart

Monday, 1 September Phillippa Yaa DeVilliers

Tuesday, 2 September Dejavu Tafari

Wednesday 3, September Mutle Mothibe

Thursday, 4 September Myesha Jenkins

 

 

Vuyelwa Maluleke stars in new play

It feels like a great victory when I witness poets stretching their ability beyond words on stage or feature in theater productions.

Mpapa Simo Majola- Playwright and Poet explains how poets are breaking boundaries by mix­ing theater tech­niques, poetry and music to cre­ate a unique per­for­mance style. “The Funeral is a med­i­ta­tion on the changing and think­ing of traditions around death,” he said.

His one-man play speaks of a man who finds himself loitering in the afterlife trying to find his place, chased by shadows, voices and sounds, as he tries to communicate with the living to tell them where they had gone wrong in conducting his funeral

This masterpiece is co- written by Modise Sekgotle and Simo himself. Choreographed by Lerato Matolodi, performed by Mpapa Simo Majola and directed by Modise Sekgotle who is also no stranger to the spoken word community.

But these 2 spoken word artists are not the only poets making waves in­­­­­­­­­­­­­ the theater scenes. Vuyelwa Maluleke known to the poetry community as Vee, the other half of Purple Jupiter, stars in Eve Enslers latest offering; Emotional Creature, a collection of original monologues which chronicles stories inspired by girls around the globe.

Too often girls must struggle between remaining strong and true to themselves and conforming to society’s expectations in an attempt to please. Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, empower themselves, and follow their dreams.

Emotional Creature had its off-Broadway premier in the United States in 2012 but it’s South African rapper Cassper Nyovest’s song Doc Shebeleza in the opening act that helps to localise the production and remind the audience that the production is now in Mzansi.

This play forms part of the South African leg of V-Girls, a global movement of girl activists inspired by I Am an Emotional Creature. If you’re in Cape Town be sure to catch this jaw breaking show.

Written by the women who shattered taboos with THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, the production is set to run at the Baxter Theater from 6-16 August after a successful run in Johannesburg.

Tickets are only R75.

BE THERE!!

Review: Season 4 | Episode 7

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