Monthly Archives: September 2014

And in this corner… Introducing the Top 6 Contenders for the crown!

Top6

Ahead of the 4th annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival, we sent our members of our content team into the training camps of the Top 6 Contenders for the coveted 2014 Open Mic Champion title. Our mission was to see who would rattle who between our fearless contributors and these warriors while trying to find out more about them.

Before we profile each of them we decided to tease you a bit. Accordingly we asked Kgotatso Maditse [the newest member of our content team] to put together an introductory package, so let’s find out why these Contenders think they should win, and what they will be bringing to the stage.

Thando

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi is a writer and poet. She writes poetry, scripts, music and plays. Thando turns to writing to vent frustrations and bring healing not only to herself but also to others. In her own words, she writes for “the rural ones who write in Zulu and don’t have a formal way of writing”.

If she wasn’t a writer though, Thando says she wouldn’t mind being a cyclist because of her love of bicycles.

Props must be given to her for writing in Zulu. Poems like uThembeka have literally brought tears to Word N Sound audience eyes, but she admits that it doesn’t come as easily as it sounds.

“Writing in Zulu is actually hard. I had to read, I had to learn, even the accent. I had to work on it because I had gotten used to the English way of writing”

Asked why she should win, she simply said “because I want that money!”

Thando

Nkosinathi Gaar

Theatre director and actor Nkosinathi Gaar says he’s been trying to get to the top for a while, and finally, he is here. This multi-talented and multi-lingual, young man speaks three languages fluently [one being German], and also plays the guitar, and bass, and is a competent songwriter.

A consummate lover of words and ideas and “how they come together”, Nkosinathi admits he feels compelled to write because it is important to, “anchor down experiences and emotion and try to give them voice. Writing has the capacity to change things, which I think is important”.

One cannot miss his animated face and general mannerism, but this is not an alter ego, rather different aspects of himself.

No stranger to the poetry scene, and the stage in general, Nkosinathi feels he should win simply because, “I’m a strong writer and performer”

Nkosinathi

Xabiso

When he is not blowing peoples’ minds away, Xabiso Vili is running events, as well as writing and performance workshops in Pretoria, and the greater GP, in hopes of building a strong portfolio for him to study drama therapy.

Xabiso has a deep passion for art and its remedies and says he writes to make sense of himself and his inner workings, of society and how he relates to society and vice versa. He believes art is a powerful medium which is important to “better not only ourselves, but our communities. Art has the capacity to do that”.

Having grown up watching Jo’burg poets on various stages, Xabiso feels blessed, lucky and excited to be in the finals, and believes he should win because he is “Sharing an honesty other people relate to!”

Oh, and he’s not fond of losing.

Xabiso

NoLIFE

Once upon a time, there was a graffiti artist that would write “(No)body (LI)ves (F)or(E)ever, which then got shortened to NoLIFE. A lover of hip-hop, poet and rapper Carlos NoLIFE Ncube, also known as Snooty Esoteric, is back in the top 5. Well, 6 this time.

Some of his poems have a tone that can easily be read as anger, but NoLIFE says that’s just how his passion translates.

“I believe passion is driven by anger. But I also believe that passion has multiple facets. So for different people it manifests through other emotions whereas for me it manifests in what seems to be anger.”

A self-professed minimalist, NoLIFE says that all he is bringing to the stage is all his words and passion.

“Language is binding, so it is all about sharing perspective and creating discussion. Writing is a personal public thing for me!”

Asked why he should win, he says it’s time he harvests the fruits of his labour. “Poetry is war, and I’m armed!”

NoLIFE

Bafentse

After a 7 year hiatus from the stage, poet Bafentse Ntlokoa, says she wasn’t even competing when performing on the Word N Sound stage earlier this year, she was just performing.

“I kind of missed performing on stage, and I like Word N Sound because it has bright lights and you can’t really see the audience. It was about performing.”

Some of her poems, like “Beautiful Like A Gaping Wound”, sound like odes; like she is in awe of her subject.

“I marvel at life… In all its vastness, in all its contradiction. I’m a seeker and enquirer of life, constantly questioning things. Like why I do whatever I do? Why I participate in whatever I participate in? So I marvel at how it’s ever changing, and it’s so vast. And there’s so much more of my own self to discover all of the time. So many layers.”

Excited to be in the Top 6, Bafentse says she should win because, “My writing is raw and honest … and me!”

Bafentse

Zewande

Zewande Bhengue, also known as #Mcmora, was a finalist in the Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam earlier this year, and now, is a contender for the Open Mic Champion title.

Zewande takes performance poetry to a whole new level, so he brings along his words, sounds, theatre (even chains and bare backs) to the stage. He is on a mission to bring something different and unique to the stage.

“It’s for this same reason that I want to take a break from slamming next year. I just want to explore slam and try to expand it beyond what it is understood as being. So I am trying to do something that other people are not doing. It adds quite a lot, for myself but for the audience as well, to get a picture of where the poem is coming from. That’s why I do that.”

Zewande wants to be remembered for his dedication to his art.

“I want to be remembered for being a guy who gave his all to art, and all art-forms that I engage because I do quite a bit outside of poetry. So I want to be known as the guy who not only gave his all but was also successful in all those art-forms.”

Asked why he should win, Zewande says he doesn’t know, but if he were to give a reason in 6 words, he thinks he should be crowned, “Because I’m better!”

Zewande

The battle lines have clearly been drawn. One thing is for sure, each of these warrior is aware of their formidable opponents and the pressure is on. Now let the games begin!

That being said, we are all dying to see what the Top 6 have in store for us.

Oh, just in case you wanted to know, our hard-hitting contributors held their own during their encounters with the Top 6 Warriors, but the war is not over so that’s a story for another day.

In Word and Sound we trust!

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WNS Fest: 29 Poets| 5 Days| 2 Cities

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The South African poetry landscape is set to be ignited once again as the Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival comes to Johannesburg and Cape-town from the 3rd to the 8th of October 2014.

 

The Word N Sound Live Literature Company, in partnership with The Soweto Theatre and British Council Connect ZA, present the 4th annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry & Live Music Festival. Continuing in the tradition that began last year, the Festival moves between Cape Town and Johannesburg with workshops and performances by local and international poets.

The Soweto Theatre marquee of the Festival will be lit by bright names such as three-time US slam champion Buddy Wakefield; one of SA’s most pre-eminent poets, Lebo Mashile; Spirit of London Awards ambassador & Gay rights activist, Dean Atta from the UK; celebrated poet and arts entrepreneur TJ Dema (Botswana), winner of the first national edition of Slam for Your Life at the National Arts Festival and South Africa’s first National Slam champion, Koleka Putuma, and hailing from Zimbabwe, poet, comedian and MC, Andrew Manyika.

A new Open Mic Champion will be crowned in a breath-taking finale of the the yearlong spoken word development initiative, The Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League. Bafentse Ntlokoa, Nkosinathi Gaar, Zewande BK Bhengu, Carlos NoLIFE Ncube, Xabiso Vili, and Thando Bhuthelezi will be vying for the coveted King/Queen of the Mic title, which for the first time in its four year history has six (and not 5) contenders.

Top6

“We are thrilled to partner again with the Word N Sound Spoken Word festival. Our UK element, Dean Atta joins an already impressive lineup of South African spoken word talent. Through a project like the British Council Connect ZA, we are able to continue to develop cultural understanding between South Africa and the UK,” Tom Porter, British Council Connect ZA programme manager.

The jam packed festival is scheduled as follows:

Saturday | 4 October |12:00 – 19:00 |Soweto Theatre | R50
Open Mic Slam Finale: After eight months of intense competition in the Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League, 6 of Gauteng’s most exciting emerging spoken word talent, will vie for the coveted 2014 Word N Sound Open Mic Champion title. The top six contenders for this year are Carlos “NoLIFE” Ncube, Zewande BK Bengu, Bafentse Ntlokoa, Nkosinathi Gaar, Thando Buthelezi and Xabiso Vili.

The second half of this day will also feature “A Live Literature Company” a multimedia performance by the Word N Sound company members who balance the difficult task of balancing being arts entrepreneurs and renowned poets. The 2 hour production features Afurakan, Mutle Mothibe, Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Conelius Jones, Mandi Poefficient Vundla, Masai Dabula, Mutinta Bbenkele, Elysium Garcia, Xongani Maluleka, Bonga Ndziweni; Lwazi Mthembu, Mpho Khosi and hosted by literary critic and Poet Ayob Vania.

TheCo

Sunday | 5 October |15:00 – 19:00 |Soweto Theatre | R50
Poetry Is: Showcase performances by local and international poets featuring Lebo Mashile, Buddy Wakefield (US), Dean Atta (UK), TJ Dema (Botswana), Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Makhosazana Xaba and Koleka Putuma.

Tuesday | 7 October |15:00 – 17:00 |Amazink, Stellenbosch | Free
Workshops Day: Facilitated by Dean Atta and Adrian Van Wyk TJ Dema and featuring local poets and literature practitioners. The workshop sessions will focus on Poetry As Social Conscious as a central theme.

Tuesday | 7 October |19:00 – 23:00 |Play Bar |Goodwood | R30
Poetry Is: Showcase performances by local and international poets featuring Dean Atta (UK), Afurakan, Adrian Different and Koleka Putuma.

Wednesday | 8 October | 19:00 | Lighthouse on 7th | Free
Poetry Corner: Returning to Johannesburg to wrap the festival, is an event that will feature a brief open mic followed by DJs and that will mark the end of the festival.

The 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival is brought to you in partnership with: Soweto Theatre and British Council Connect ZA and forms part of the part of SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015 which is a partnership between the Department of Arts & Culture, South Africa and the British Council.

Tickets will be available at The Soweto Theatre Box Office and through Computicket. For more information, please visit www.wordnsound.wordpress.com and www.sowetotheatre.com.

Check out the official Facebook event page.

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Poetry Corner to host Francesca Beard (UK) and Msaki

FRANCESA

The Word N Sound Live Literature Company will host UK poet Francesca Beard in Johannesburg during her trip to South Africa. Francesca is in the country for the Open Book Festival in Cape Town UK courtesy of the British Council Connect ZA

She arrives in Joburg on 15 September and will be hosted by our CEO, Thabiso Afurakan Mohare. “Opportunities such as these allow artist from different backgrounds to interact, share knowledge and inspire each other,” says Thabiso.

Francesca will be take part in various activities which include a workshop, performance at Poetry Corner and networking with local poets and artists.

Pre-Festival bumper edition of Poetry Corner
In addition to Francesca Beard, Poetry Corner will also feature Msaki, a performing and visual artist from East London. Her main expression vehicle is folk music with elements of indie rock and progressive jazz. Her appreciation of simple melodies, warm harmonies and afro-rhythms is evident in her live performances.

…But wait, there’s more!
Wednesday 17 October will also see seven of the best poets battle it out in the exhilarating Word N Sound Secret Slam. There’s R1000 up for grabs, come through and see who will take it home.

SECRETSLAM

Poetry Corner
Every Wednesday Night
The Light House on 7th, Melville
7 – 9 pm

Introducing the top 6…yep 6!

Remember remember the 6th

It was the first Saturday of the month and as our hordes of faithful fans know, that just means it’s Word N Sound Saturday. So we said to ourselves, “We’ll have a show”; and Eskom said “No, you won’t”. And so it was with great sadness, that for the first time in the history of Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series, we had to cancel an episode due to a power outage in Newtown that affected our venue.

As a testament to how big a part of our lives the show has become, it wasn’t until a good two hours after the notices announcing the cancellation had gone up, that the last of our audience members left (still in disbelief), and we thank you for that support.

So, I know what you’re thinking, “If the show got cancelled, and the festival begins in less than a month, who’s competing in the Open Mic Finale?”

This question also presented an interesting conundrum to the team at Word N Sound; and after much deliberation, some raised voices, tears, and of course sandwiches; we came to a resolution that we hope meets everybody as close to halfway as possible.

The League standings on the morning of the 6th

10. Southern Comfort – 458 points
9. Apiwe – 459 points
8. Puleng Zealot – 473 points
7. Monica Fumez – 642 points
6. Zewande Bhengu – 732 points
5. No LIFE – 750 points
4. Bafentse Ntlokoa – 772 points
3. Nkosinathi Gaar – 901.5 points
2. Thando Bhuthelezi – 963 points
1. Xabiso Vili – 1 230 points

Looking at the average points scored each month, Zewande Bhengu had the best chance of making it into the Top 5 had this month’s slam taken place. We have therefore decided to go with a Top 6 as there is not enough time to host another slam before the Festival that kicks off on 3 October.

At this point I would just like to reiterate that this was not a decision that we took lightly but it was imperative for us to plot a way forward. And so, for the first time in the 4year history of the Word N Sound International Youth Poetry & Live  Music Festival, there will be Six (6) contestants vying for the coveted King/Queen of the Mic title, and they are: Bafentse Ntlokoa, Nkosinathi Gaar, Zewande #McMora Bhengu, NoLIFE, Xabiso Vili, and Thando Bhuthelezi.

We foresee fireworks in our future, and trust you’ll be there to see them at the Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival: 3-8 October in Johannesburg & Cape Town.

WordNSound MD comes up short for last Episode!

Just recently the WordNSound Content Team asked our Managing Director if she would make time in her busy schedule to scout some up and coming talent for the next Episode of WNS Series and she willingly agreed…

When we check in with her a few days later we found that she had come up short

8barsshort

How many company executives in this day and age can say they actually get their hands dirty? We are proud to say that our Managing Director does!

Before we delve into her  [virtual] sit down with one half of the dynamic duo check out this joint:

Q: The first time I met you, you were dressed in all grey and introduced yourself as Grae Matter. Please introduce Itai Hakim?

A: Itai Hakim is an up and coming South African born and raised multi-disciplinary artist who uses different artistic mediums – to produced what he calls ‘Channeled Work’.

Namely through his performance poetry, singing, writing (songwriter, author and playwright) and acting. Itai aims to revive, on contemporary artistic platforms ancient, cultural and traditional understandings and narratives of legend and myth through his work. Hakim believes that art is an integral apart of of his personal project of healing and education project.

 

Q: In one of your performances you speak about Grae as another ‘character’ of yours, and that he’s angry. Why is Grae angry? Do Itai and Grae work well together?

A: Grae Matta is dead. I made peace with the reasons behind his anger (mainly direceted at his personal past and the state of his immediate surroundings ( i.e politics, poverty, the state of education etc ) in the Shrines of Haifa while I was on pilgrimage un Israel in 2011.

Q: How and why did 8 Bars Short come about? And what’s the story behind the name?

A: 8 Bars Short is the remainder of a band called  ‘NO IDEA’ which parted ways in the June of 2012.

Nomi and Itani met on campus at a cypher at Wits, later at a poetry slam Itani invited Nomi to and again when Nomi gate crashed a NO IDEA rehearsal on the Wits Lawns.

The story behind the name is while recording the rough cut songs currently on SoundCloud, being newbies to studio settings. After having recorded the instrumental guide for a song, while Nomi sang she noticed we were 8 Bars Short

 

Q: There are many bands out there. What makes yours different?

A: Apparently we’re different because we’re an acoustic duo which sings folk-soul. Something that has been absent since BLK SONSHINE a decade ago.

 

Q: Which 3 poets would 8 Bars Short love to collaborate with on an album? And why them?

A: We haven’t thought that far and aren’t really aware of the poetry scene.

8-Bars-Short-1

Q: On your Soundcloud account you describe your music as “music from the heart for the heart, infused with indigenous folk”.

A: Indigenous Folk came about as a response to assigning our sound to a genre. Our sound is a mix of a number of genres (blues, jazz, classical, indie) Indigenous music and folk music are influences we draw from. At best we’re still figuring it out, but the closest descriptions have been Country Soul / Folk Soul

 

Q: Could you please explain this; the sound of your music as Itai Hakim as a solo, and Itai as part of 8 Bars Short.

A: Both sounds are quite nascent,  but come from a place of self reflection and questioning.

 

Q: You are signed with Motif Records. What has your experience been? What advice would you give other artists looking to sign with a record label?

A: Being managed by Motif has been good. Our advice to upcoming artists is to stay true to their own voices and to protect their work vigilantly.

Just a point from me: Motif is not a label, it is a management company.

 

Q: What have been the highlights of your journey as an artist?

A: Having a conversation with the audience through our work.

 

Q: What challenges have you faced as an artist and how did you overcome them?

A: Biggest Challenge: Being true to myself.  Overcame Challenge: By being true to myself.

 

Q: What can we expect from you at the next Word N Sound Series?

A: 8 Bars Short will just be sharing who they are as per usual.

video source: http://vimeo.com/91839339

Now hurry up and go check out more of the brilliance available on their Sound Cloud Page before Saturday –  https://soundcloud.com/8barshort

 

PS: Thank you boss lady!

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Wordsmiths “Speak The Mind” at Arts Alive

Speak the Mind 9 sessions have been part of Arts Alive since 2005, with the objective to create a word class platform for local and international artists, and also to revive the spoken word spirit. Fusing music, hip hop and beats with spoken word, Speak the Mind 9 sessions include workshops, live performances and dialogue sessions. The main organiser/creator of Speak The Mind 9 is neither a poet or performer, but runs one of the longest running spoken word showcases. This year it will be taking place at the Joburg Theatre. Previous years have had the likes of Napo Masheane, Natalie The Floacist Stewart from Floetry fame, Nova Masango, The Muffinz, and Def Poetry performer Shanelle Gabriel, who have graced stages from Bassline, to Arts on Main. The show has now expanded to Cape Town in collaboration with Artscape. Due to popular demand, some artists do return to the stage, and this year there are a few, including American artist Queen Godis. Tumi and DJ Kenzhero on the decks. This year, expect to see:

  • Gratitude Fisher
  • Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla
  • Tumi
  • Soul House Project
  • Lebo Mashile
  • Dr Mongane Wally Serote
  • Josh Meck, from Zimbabwe
  • Jazz P, from Swaziland
  • Queen Godis from the USA
  • Efe Paul Azino from Nigeria
  • Mtuabaruka from Jamaica

Here are some short bios on the artists performing:

Soul Housing Project

SoulHousingProject

Bokani Dyer, Sakhile Moleshe, Eugene”Mr Grooves” Ackerman, Al “Dirt” du Toit and Kissangwa Mbouta make up the Cape Town based band. Founded in 2007 by lead singer Sakhile Moleshe and Bokani, the band has played at the Grand Daddy Hotel and the Fifa World Cup Fan Park, as well as many stages abroad and locally. With jazz, hiphop, dubstep and house music as their influences, Bokani and Sakhile compose the band’s music, and they are currently working on their debut album You can hear them on their SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/soulhousingproject  

Dr Wally Serote

dr mongane wally serote

Dr Wally Serote is an internationally acclaimed South African writer and poet. Known as one of the Soweto poets in the 1970s who resisted the Apartheid regime through their poetry and literature. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Columbia University and ho norary doctorates in Literature from  the Universities of Natal and Transkei. Wally’s bodies of work include essays, poetry and novels, the most recent being his 2013 book titled Rumours.

Efe Paul Azino

efe-paul

Lagos based Nigerian poet and writer Efe Paul has been in the Naija spoken word circles for over a decade. A self-proclaimed book worm, Efe Paul is regarded as one of Nigeria’s top poets. He has performed on many stages and many audiences, from conferences to churches. He is inspired by the socio-economic and political issues of Nigeria. Here’s a link to one of his poems: http://efepaulspeaks.com/video/

Josh Meck

Josh Meck

Zimbabwean born Josh Meck is a jazz musician. Before relocating to Johannesburg is 2012, Josh performed at concerts and festivals in Harare in Zimababwe, Zambia, Stolkholm in Sweden and Durban in South Africa. The bass guitarist has been in the jazz music industry for well over 10 years, has two albums and says his music has a touch of social commentary. He performed at the Arts Alive’s Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake on Sunday, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to share at the spoken word event

Queen Godis

queen godis

Born and raised in Brooklyn in the USA, Queen Godis is a singer, poet, and director, and “performance art therapist”. In 2001 she founded Queen Godis University, through which she offers life skills coaching and mentoring, aimed at high school and university students, using poetry. No stranger to the Speak The Mind stage, she has also performed in New York, France, and was part of a Choreo-poem workshop in Trinidad. A link to one of her videos: http://www.reverbnation.com/queengodis  

Jazz P

Maputo based Swati artist Jazz P, is a hip hop and soul singer and lyricist who performs in both siSwati and English. She released an album, In My Heart in 2012, is a founder member of the band The Next Generation, and has performed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. A link to one of her songs off her album: https://soundcloud.com/jazz-p/sweet-melody-by-jazz-p

Lebo Mashile

lebo mashile

Poet, producer, presenter, MC, actress, author, and mother Lebo Mashile needs no introduction. She won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa in 2006, she co-founded ‘Feel-a-sista’ spoken word collective along with Myesha Jenkins and Ntsiki Mazwai, she acted on the Oscar nominated film Hotel Rwanda, presented and co-produced the tv show L’Atitude, published anthologies and even had one translated in Germany … we could go on forever. She currently presents Great Expectations on eTV, a show about pregnancy and parenting. http://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/love-elastic-4119#.VAe4OPmSxDI

Tumi tumi

Tanzanian born Tumi Molekane South Africa Tumi Molekane, famously known as Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, is a poet/MC. Founder of  Motif Records in 2006, which boasts local artists such as Reason, Ricky Rick, 8 Bars Short, Nova, not forgetting Tumi himself. Tumi has shared the stage with great names in hiphop, including Talib Kweli, and recently has worked with the likes of Zyon of Liquid Deep, L-Tido, Zeus, AKA, the list goes on. In the early 2000s he released an anthology called The Black Inside Out. In recent years Tumi has performed at TEDx Soweto, Poetry Africa as well as Speak the Mind in previous years. Next month he drops his next solo offering, called Rob The Church https://soundcloud.com/motifrecords

Mutabaruka

mutabaruka

Born in Kingston Jamaica in 1952, Allan Mutabaruka is a dub poet who has graced the stage of Speak the Mind and Def Jam a number of times. He came to fame in the 1970s. His poems touch on black history and consciousness, spiritual awareness, imperialism and colonialism. He recently released a double volume of poetry, which consists of his old works, Mutabaruka: the first poems and his more recent works, Mutabaruka: the next poems. Not new to the Speak the Mind Stage, it will be interesting to hear what he has to offer this time around

 

Gratitude Fisher

gratitude fisherSibongile Fisher, also known as Gratitude Fisher, is a poet, writer and actress. She started writing in 2005, and in 2009 joined the UJ Poetry Society. She has shared the stage with poets such as Mysesha Jenkins, Likwid Tongue, and has performed on stages at Bassline, the Soweto Theatre, the Market Theatre Lab to name but a few. https://soundcloud.com/gratitude-fisher/a-poem-for-africa

Mandi Poefficient Vundla

mandi1

Mandi exploded onto the spoken word scene in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since. Although she was writing since her teens, destiny revealed itself to her and us in 2011. Mandi has blossomed in front of our eyes. Her pieces are personal, deeply moving, reflective, sometimes introspective, almost like the pages in her diary. Miss Poefficient has  shared the stage with Poetry Legends, performed on the Art Alive and the Jozi Book Fair , and in 2012 crowned Word n Sound’s Queen of the Mic, nominated for a Perfect Poem Award. She is to be one of the youngest poets to grace the international Speak the Mind stage   To miss the rush Click Here to Order Tickets Now

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2014 Open Mic Poetry League standings

It certainly has been an interesting year for the Word N Sound Poetry League. Pretoria came out to play…hard. Xabiso Vili and Nkosinathi Gaar have been giving Joburg poets a run for their money. Women have also been claiming their space in the slam with Bafentse, Monica Fumez and Thando The Poet gunning for the Top 5 spots.

After 7 months of SA’s toughest Slam we are proud to announce the Top 10.

#10 – Soutern Comfort

#9 – Apiwe

#8 – Puleng Zealot

#7 – Monica Fumez

#6 – Zewande #McMora Bhengu

#5 – No Life

#4 – Bafentse Ntlokoa

#3 – Nkosinathi Gaar

#2 – Thando The Poet

#1 – Xabiso Vili

After our last Word N Sound Series show this Saturday, the Top 5 on the league will face each other at the finale at the 4th annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry and Live Music Festival on 4 October 2014.

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Poet Thuli Zuma to debut on the WordnSound Series Stage..

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We get into the heart and mind of Thuli Zuma, “a full time human being who comes from love.” The South African poet says she only discovered a poetry community in New York.

1.Please define Thuli Zuma for us, who is she and where does she come from?
A full time human being. I come from Love.
2.We were introduced to your amazing work through U.S digital platforms like the Bowery Club, Button Poetry and Speakeasynyc YouTube channels,did you have any relationship with the South African poetry circuit prior to this? No, I didn’t. I’ve always written poetry, for myself but New York was the first place I discovered a poetry scene/community I didn’t really know things like that existed. It was the first time I started sharing my work on stage.

3.You were based in the U.S for some time, what challenges did you face when trying to connect with the
South African poetry community when you came back ?
My biggest challenge was just trying to find out what was happening and where.4.You coordinated a women’s festival at the play house, how did this event pan out?

Yes, I curated the poetry session at this years South African Women’s Art Festival, it went down this past Tuesday-26
August. It was a wonderful night of poetry and music. We had the first ever slam at this event which was a lot of fun and a big success as well as fantastic musical guests such as: Khanyo and the band, Nu Savoy and a stellar open mic, to top it all off.


5.A little birdy whispered that you declined the invitation to slam on the WnS platform. As a poet, with a heavy
slam background; who had taken part in the Women of the World poetry slam in Minneapolis, what were your reasons for refusing the invite?
The birds I’m afraid are not always correctly informed, I was invited to slam on the WnS platform, which was an invitation I was chuffed to receive and accepted excitedly. Unfortunately with WnS Slam happening only once a month the window of being able to make it is narrower than if you were attending a weekly slam and to my disappointment the 4  Saturdays since I was invited have found me out of town, travelling for work and family engagements. I have not declined the invitation   and I look forward to being able to take part in the WnS Slam one of these good days.


6.What inspires your content for poems?

  A shorter list would be what doesn’t? Life does, the world, people, this human experience we’re all trying to figure out.


7.
“The 1st time my mother told me she loved me i cried, a child should not remember the 1st time these words are spoken. I was 12,” is an excerpt from ‘One’. Speak to us about the effect of the added emotional deficit which the black child faces when being raised by a single black woman. 

I don’t believe the black child has an added emotional deficit as a result of being raised by a single mother. In my mind the  one does not necessarily follow the other. Certainly I don’t believe I do. 12 years old is the first time I remember those words being spoken between my mother and I, but it was an expression of a fact I had known my whole life to be true. I had and have never at any point doubted the love of my mother, I’ve always known it even when it was not spoken aloud in those 3 words. And yes, my mother was unmarried for a portion of my upbringing but I wasn’t raised by
a single black woman,I was raised by many and by black men too.

8.If you had to dedicate a poem to the leadership of this country, what issues would you address?
It would be a poem of praise and thanks. I often sit quite literally dumbfounded at all that was done and all that was sacrificed in order that we could be free, that South Africa might belong to all who live in her. Now, I am fully aware that we are not where we want to be, that we are not where we need to be, but I thank God and the countless men, women who worked and work tirelessly, that we are not where we used to be.


9.What do you think the role of poetry is in our decaying society?
Poetry has the power to transform, not just the individual but the collective, it shines a light on what is and it also points the   way to what could be. It records our history and seeks to usher in a better future. It unpacks and processes the world around us and our place in it. I think this is the role of poetry in our society, which has many ills and faults, but is not decaying. It has much virtue still.


10.If you had to organize a poetry event that best describes the teething Democratic Republic of South Africa 20 years post liberation, who would be on the line up and why?
I would call for submissions and open the platform to local unknown poets, my line up would consist of South African poets, those celebrated and unknown who wanted to stand up and share their art, their words and why not, that is the bases on which our Country’s democracy is built, let the people speak.


11.This will be your first time showcasing on the #WordnSound series platform, what do you have in store for us?
Poems, poems, poems! I put my heart into my work, so that’s what I have in store.

 S4EP8_ThuliZuma