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

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.

“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.


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