Monthly Archives: October 2014

WNS Awards: Vote for your best newcomer

WNSAwards_Newcomers

We’d love to know, of all the poets who joined the Open Mic League this year, which one of them completely blew you away.

The Nominees for the 2014 Word N Sound Best Newcomer Award

  • Bafentse Ntlokoa
  • Nkosinathi Gaar
  • Xabiso Vili
  • Thando Bhuthelezi
  • Zewande Bhengu


BafentseTHUMB

“The one thing I have learned about slams is that they are very unpredictable and that it isn’t wise to get cocky.”  – Bafentse Ntlokoa. Read her full interview here.

NkosinathiTHUMB

Nkosinathi Gaar’s advice to aspirant slammers is: “Speak with your own voice before you speak with anyone else’s. Read his full interview here.

XabisoTHUMB 

“Write your truth and the audience will resonate. Even if it’s one person in the audience – you have done your job,” says Xabiso Vili. Read his full interview here.

ThandoTHUMB

“I gave the slam my all and I was not only doing it for myself, I was doing it for the people who were there to support me,” says Thando Bhuthelezi. Read her full interview here.

Zewande_THUMB

“The Word N Sound Festival was my highlight of the year! I think the idea of a no holds barred slam really let me play to my strengths and also I was really hungry for that title so I spent a lot of energy on it.” – Zewande Bhengu. Read his full interview here.

 

VOTE NOW

WNS Awards: “Talent alone is never enough.” – Zewande Bhengu

Zewande

 

Slam Poetry can stretch far beyond just
the man and the mic.”

 

Where did you find out about the Word N Sound platform?
I honestly cannot remember how I found out about Word n Sound but I think it was just buzzing in the poetry scene and I kept telling myself that I will slam for a whole year but never did until this year. I decided to start slamming to gauge myself against other fellow writer/performers and then while slamming my reason changed. I just wanted to grow and become a better writer and then later to I just wanted to see how people would respond to a little theatrical twist to slam poetry.

What has been your highlight of the year?
The Word N Sound Festival! I think the idea of a no holds barred slam really let me play to my strengths and also I was really hungry for that title so I spent a lot of energy on it.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Open Mic Poetry League?
Working with a microphone in front of me. PHEW! That took some time getting used to.

How has this year on the Word N Sound stage taught you about;
a. Poetry: Versatility. I am more aware of the different styles of writing from person to person also that Slam Poetry can stretch far beyond just the man and the mic.
b. Slams: It’s a highly competitive field with a lot of hungry people so you need to constantly be working on your poems and performance.
c. The audience: The audience we perform to very easily recognise good writing and responds accordingly…most of time. So I highly regard their opinion. We are performing to a well-learned, socially aware audience after all.
d. Yourself: That I have a lot of growing up to do.

Which of your performances did you enjoy the most and why?
Word N Sound Festival, second round – “Lilly Blue”. I was extremely nervous about audience response because people would have easily taken offence on how I was dressed [as an old woman] verses the subject matter of the poem. When the audience took to it, that nervous energy just turned to almost overwhelming performance energy. But I spent a lot of time trying to perfect it in delivery and timing with the music and the projection and sorting out costuming and props so it was also my most prepared for piece ever.

Will you be returning to the slam next year?
Before the Word N Sound Festival, I had told myself that I would not be returning to the slam but after the festival, I was asked by a number of people I respect much not to leave so…I am still thinking…

Any advice for those who plan to slam next year?
Rehearsal. Rehearsal. Rehearsal. Talent alone is never enough; you must sustain it with hard work.

WNS Awards: “Without honesty, your poem will crumble!” – Xabiso Vili

Xabiso

Write your truth and the audience will resonate.
Even if it’s one person in the audience – you have done your job.”

 

Where did you find out about the Word N Sound platform?
After seeing the caliber of poets and competing against certain poets in the DFL Lover + Another competition in 2011 who were affiliated with WNS, I knew I had to test my own skill on a platform so large, intimidating and exciting.

What has been your highlight of the year?
My highlight has to be drawing with Modise at the Market Theatre in July. That day was one of the most stressful in terms of competition and there was no way to predict who was going to win. When the draw was announced, it was so unexpected.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Open Mic Poetry League?
The biggest couple of challenges that I had to face and think I am still facing were definitely expanding the range of topics I wrote about, finding a performance technique I was comfortable with and losing my ‘poetry voice’ when performing to make the sharing more authentic

How has this year on the Word N Sound stage taught you about;
a. Poetry: In whichever poem you write, the base has always got to be your honesty. Without that, your poem will crumble.
b. Slams: Start with your strongest line and no line must be weaker than that one from that point on
c. The audience: The audience is an amorphous monster, writing for them is like writing for a river and hoping the same river is there that was here yesterday. Write your truth and the audience will resonate. Even if it’s one person in the audience – you have done your job.
d. Yourself: My skin is thicker than expected, but that doesn’t mean I like losing. Not. At. All.

Which of your performances did you enjoy the most and why?
Ah man, I put so much into each performance it would be tough to choose one. But if I had to – The Amaranth Flower – not my best performance but it allowed me to have a conversation with someone that I otherwise would not have been able to.

Will you be returning to the slam next year?
Until the King of the Mic Title is mine there shall be no rest for this poet.

Any advice for those who plan to slam next year?
Fear no one but yourself.

WNS Awards: “Take the Word N Sound stage seriously” – Thando Buthelezi

Thando

“I gave the slam my all and I was not only doing it for myself,
I was doing it for the people who were there to support me.”

 

Where did you find out about the Word N Sound platform?
I found out about Word N Sound from other poets and I got into the slam because I was curious about that stage.

What has been your highlight of the year?
The highlight of my year was performing at the 4th Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival and sharing the stage with Gratitude Fisher.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Open Mic Poetry League?
My biggest challenge for me was having to adapt from being an ordinary poet to being a slam poet and have to compete against the best slammers in Joburg.

What has this year on the Word N Sound stage taught you about yourself?
I think more than anything it has taught me about discipline, commitment and hard work.

Which of your performances did you enjoy the most and why?
The performance I most enjoyed was the festival performance, because I gave it my all and I was not only doing it for myself I was doing it for the people who were there to support me and have supported me throughout the year.

Will you be returning to the slam next year?
No I will not be returning to the slam next year.

Any advice for those who plan to slam next year?
The advice I would give to people who want to slam next year would be to take the Word N Sound stage seriously, and to do this for themselves more than to compete.

WNS Awards: “Resist the urge to people-please” – Nkosinathi Gaar

Nkosinathi

“Speak with your own voice before you
speak with anyone else’s.”

 

Where did you find out about the Word N Sound platform?
I heard about Word and Sound through other poetry events I participated in in Gauteng, particularly Jozi House of Poetry.

What has been your highlight of the year?
Featuring in the top six of this year’s Open Mic League Slam finale at the 4th Annual Word N Sound Festival at the Soweto Theatre.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Open Mic Poetry League?
Trying to reconcile my own taste with what makes an impact in the Word and Sound Open Mic League.

What has this year on the Word N Sound stage taught you about;

a. Poetry: I’ve learned to create pieces that are denser and less predictable than many of the pieces I was writing before
b. Slams: It is important to stick to what you believe in
c. The audience: The impression you make is not always immediately evident to you.
d. Yourself: That I create best when I can get over the urge to people-please.

Which of your performances did you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoyed performing ‘Attrition’. The piece asks a lot of the audience but it felt like it managed to communicate despite this.

Will you be returning to the slam next year?
If the other projects I am involved in allow it I will come back

Any advice for those who plan to slam next year?
Speak with your own voice before you speak with anyone else’s.

WNS Awards: “Maybe I am a poet after all” – Bafentse Ntlokoa

Bafentse

“I just wanted to share and I spilled out of myself in the most delicately unpolished and raw manner.”

Where did you find out about the Word N Sound platform?
From some girlfriends of mine who are patrons of the arts.

What has been your highlight of the year?
My very first performance on the Word n Sound stage after having not performed poetry in over 5years. It was such a raw and vulnerable thing to share and I was amazed at how well received it was. It inspired me to want to share more of my writing. Winning the May round of the Open Mic Slam was more than I could have ever expected when I first decided to perform.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in the Open Mic Poetry League?
When I ran out of writing that I had some faith in, the pressure to keep presenting new material monthly was horrible. I don’t do very well with writing on demand in a very limited time frame.

What has this year on the Word N Sound stage taught you about;

  1. Poetry: That it is an incredibly profound art medium that is so vast.
  2. Slams: That they are very unpredictable and that it isn’t wise to get cocky.
  3. The audience: The audience can affect so much for your energy and presence on stage, work with it but don’t depend on it.
  4. Yourself: That perhaps I am a poet after all and that I can get quite competitive and corky.

Which of your performances did you enjoy the most and why?
My very first performance, because it carried the least ideas and concepts about the “how to’s” of slam poetry, it had tons of nerves but no pressure or any sense competition, I just wanted to share and I spilled out of myself in the most delicately unpolished and raw manner.

Will you be returning to the slam next year?
If I have poems I may but I will not write specifically for the slam.

Any advice for those who plan to slam next year?
Art is so very subjective, don’t let the competition tamper too much with your spirit.

And the Award goes to…

WNSAwards_2014_FBcover

Glitz! Glam! And… Poetry?! If the guys at the Word N Sound Live Literature Company are to be believed, then there is nothing wrong with this picture. This is the setting for the upcoming Word N Sound Awards, an occasion for the Company to honour the artists who have generously shared of their talents on the Word N Sound stage throughout 2014. The 22nd of November will see many of the poets and audience members descend on the Market Lab in Newtown in a flurry of glitz, glam and (yes) poetry.

The 2014 Word N Sound Awards mark the culmination of a year that saw the company launch the Spoken Freedom Festival and South Africa’s first ever poetry booking agency- Poetic Act; take their production “Slam For Your Life” to the National Arts Festival; and produce the 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival (headlined by Buddy Wakefield and Lebo Mashile). Whilst they are showing no signs of slowing down, the Word N Sound Awards provide a much needed light hearted occasion for everyone to let their hair down and take stock of what a rock n’ roll year it’s been.

“We see so many talented people on our stage every year, and 2014 has been no exception. The Award show gives us a chance to thank the artists, the audience and our partners. They’re also an entertaining way for us to collectively take a moment, and recharge for 2015”. Andrew Manyika, Word N Sound Marketing & PR Director.

The Award ceremony features the following categories: Poet of the Year, Best Newcomer, Best Showcase, Open Mic Champion, Perfect Poem and WNS Hounours. Voting for the Best Newcomer and Perfect Poem Awards will be open from 3 – 15 November. All the nominees and voting details will follow so keep your ear to the ground.

 

IG_WNSawards_blk

 

Previous winners in each category include:

2012
Poet of the Year: Mandi Poefficient Vundla
Best Newcomer: Kaelow No Life Cords
Best Showcase: KB Kilobyte aka The Spartan
Perfect Poem: KingNova – The House That We Built

WNS Honours: Myesha Jenkins

2013
Poet of the Year: Kaelow NoLIFE Cords
Best Newcomer: Apiwe Mjambane
Best Showcase:  Modise Sekgothe
Perfect Poem: Manufacturing Kings – Elysium Garcia

WNS Honours: Xavi Black

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Word N Sound crowns a new Queen of the Mic

Saturday 4th October saw the 2014 WordNSound Open Mic Finals take place during the at the 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival held in partnership with  the Soweto Theatre.

Day1_Slam

Remember we told you the finals would be breath-taking? I don’t think any of us were fully prepared for the Word N Sound Open Mic Finals.

After months of competition in the Open Mic League this year, it boiled down to this one night. 3 poems per performer, one stage, one winner. We thought we knew. We thought we had an idea. We thought we’d seen it all…

…And then it began.

I don’t think the Soweto Theatre will forget what it bore witness on this momentous occasion. When we say it went down, we mean literally. The stage came alive with props, from oil and powder by a blindfolded Zewande, to condoms and cards by Thando, balls of paper by Nkosinathi, and smoke, courtesy of Xabiso’s incense; we saw flames (by means of a projection on the screen).

What did you expect though? This is the WordNSound stage we’re talking about.

The first round saw three contestants bowing out, leaving Xabiso, Zewande, and Thando to do battle for the crown.

At this point the gloves came off, (and so were the costumes). The competition was tight. The final points tally was close, but in the end there could only be one.

They stood on their feet, they pumped their fists and shouted her name, all this before the judges even announced it.

After a night of standing ovations, including one during her poem (believe it), the WordNSound Open Mic Crown went to the unsuspecting Thando Buthelezi.

 

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi  2014 WordNSound Queen Of The Mic

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi
2014 WordNSound Queen Of The Mic

“I feel like I represent a certain group of people. I represent the rural ones. The rural guys who write in their Zulu language, those guys who don’t have a formal way of writing. I represent those people who are just .. you know?”

That is what Thando said a few weeks before the finals when we had asked her what set her apart from her compition.

… and the audience agreed (well, the ones we spoke to after the show). They loved her. Congratulations to all of the finalists. The performances set a whole new standard.

Congratulations to the new Queen of the Mic.

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SA Literary Flame Extinguished – R.I.P. Chris van Wyk

While we at Word N Sound celebrate our 4th Annual International Youth Poetry Festival we take this time to pause and pass our condolences to the Family, Friends and Fans of Chris van Wyk.

Chris van Wyk crp edt

A raging Inferno on the South African Literary Landscape uncle Chris van Wyk has passed on. His Legacy lives on in his published and unpublished works but I am sure he would say the piece of work he is most proud of is his life! His marriage to his Highschool sweetheart, Aunty Cathy, and the two sons they raised together.

Uncle Chris’ first published work was a collection of his poetry at the age of 22. This collection introduced the world to one of the most gifted and masterful storytellers of our age.

As a young man I first experienced and fell in love with Uncle Chris through his most famous poem ‘In Detention’ a poem based on the reasons advanced by the Apartheid Regime for the deaths of prisoners while in police custody at the infamous John Voster Square [now known as Johannesburg Central Prison] in the Johannesburg CBD.

In Detention - Chris van Wyk

http://prezi.com/embed/-lz8qfjru3bs/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0#

It is a poem that feels like it wrote itself. It is a simple poem. A deeply haunting poem.  Knowing only a little bit about how poems are made, I assume this is a poem which haunted Uncle Chris until it was put to paper and then continued to haunt him as it still does its readers today.

From poetry and short stories to editing Staffrider and publishing children’s stories uncle Chris really came into his own when he started writing memoirs. His own for me was the most gripping as it spoke to me so intimately about the community in which I had spent my formative years. The years before I too would take pen to paper to make sense of my world through the written word. He spoke of people I knew, or knew of and of families I had encountered. This was the first time I truly  experienced my people in literature.

The flame which was Chris van Wyk is no more but during his lifetime he has been able to pass on the light. As his mortal remains are prepared for his burial over the next few days we will mourn his passing deeply. We will turn to his words to find solace and remember him. We may ready some of his work to our children or introduce a new generation of South Africans to his work and in doing so the embers he left behind in the form of well crafted words will spark a new flame and so His Legacy will live on.

In memory of Chris_001

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THE 4TH ANNUAL WORDNSOUND FESTIVAL PRESENTS THE LIVE LITERATURE COMPANY

                                                          WordNSound presents the live literature company.
The Word N Sound Live Literature Company is spear headed by 12 arts entrepreneurs of which 9 are performance poets and 1 an Vocalist and actress. On Saturday October 4th from 16:00 – 19:00 WordNSound will feature a multimedia performance by these members of the Live Literature Company. These members balance the difficult task of being arts entrepreneurs and renowned performers. The 2 hour production features Afurakan, Mutle Mothibe, Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Mandi Poefficient Vundla, Masai Dabula, Mutinta Bbenkele (Uganda), Xongani Maluleka, Bonga Ndziweni; Lwazi Mthembu, Mpho Khosi and hosted by literary critic and Poet Ayoba Vania. We chat to the members about their roles in the word n sound company.


Andrew Manyika
is an award winning poet and comedian who has performed in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has appeared at the Harare International Festival of the Arts 2014, TEDx Johannesburg 2013, Melville Poetry Festival and appeared twice on the first season of ZimComedyLive and performed Comedy at Oliver Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am Andrew Manyika. I’m Word N Sound’s Marketing Officer, host of the Word N Sound Awards (from Inception); MC of Word n Sounds Poetry Corner, sometime host of Word N Sound Series, Perfomance Poet in the Open Mic League, and generally involved with the Word N Sound Festival from it’s inception
  2. What department do you man?
    Marketing & Public Relations.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    My goal is to ultimately increase the visibility of poetry and performance poetry in Africa as a vehicle for communication. But in the short term- poetry on more platforms, poets in more spaces.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To Position Word N Sound as the go-to stable for performance poetry and our other various activities.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    Resources do not abound, and the one to which this most applies is time. This being the case, we have to work within the confines of the amount of time and money available, as most company members have other jobs that necessitate an “after-hours” approach to running the company. Given that Word N Sound is largely a digital brand, ease of access to the internet becomes of paramount importance for doing things as basic as show invites (which, on a smart-phone can be quite a task). With more money, we could have a full-time staff contingent and that should translate to more efficient work.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    With some difficulty. For instance, suppose there was a slam, and one had two weeks to prepare, but also there was a festival and one had to prepare a press release and interviews within three weeks, and those two overlapped. Something might have to give yeah? So those are the kinds of challenges one faces, the live shows are things one watches in retrospect because in real-time one has administrative aspects of the show that need taking care of. The rewards are of course that you get to be part of a vision that can change part of the world. How many people can say that?


MUTLE MOTHIBE
Widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering artists of the current generation of South African spoken word, Mutle is a founding member of the group Inaudible which released the acclaimed album “Definition”; as well as Brake Seshions which produced the play “Estar”. In his own right, this multi-faceted author has released the album “In_Sense” and has performed on most major poetry stages in South Africa and has performed in Cardiff, Scotland.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutle Mothibe. Spoken word artist and also the International Relations manager of Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am The International Relations Manager
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    Make sure we have better relations with more artists internationally. Make sure international powerhouses and poetry movements know of our company and refer to us as the first landing spot when it comes to collaborating and also hosting us when we tour in their area.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To make sure we are the first reference spot when international artists come to our country
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I have noted that much as its not my department we need to get more conceptual videos and better quality vids on the net so international houses see the calibre of work we produce. This will give us a better standing when it comes to the view. Will collaborate with multimedia department and make sure this look is accomplished. Get more intel on international festivals so we can be on the A list of most of their rosters.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I dedicate one day of my week to admin… other days are then dedicated to my craft and all my other responsibilities


Bonga Ndziweni
was born in the Eastern Cape, like all the other kids he wanted to be a doctor or a teacher and at the time had no idea that poetry even existed. In 2001 he moved to Jo’burg but it would only be around 2005/6 that he was introduced to poetry and like the perfect love Story they’ve been together since.
An artist and optimist Bonga’s poetry is often a parody of itself, depicting depth as comical ‘shallowness’. He has been performing for 3 years now, won slams and has performed around S.A.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Bonga a writer and performance poet, I am also one of the people responsible for bringing WnS followers to the dopest shows ever.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the Shelela Boys Tuck shop, occasional PC host, and Future brand manager… watch this space.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To set-out a clear and unmistakable brand presence, establishing WnS as the premium go-to poetry brand.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To grow into a brand that can attract funding, inspire collaborations and be a top of the mind brand when it comes to poetry in South Africa.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We need a brand strategy session – to outline brand ambitions and objectives.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Making time for everything is a little bit tricky, but has I grow into the various roles, I think it will become a lot easier to find the balance needed.


Qhakazambalikayise Thato Mthembu
is a multi talented and multi-tasking journalist, multimedia producer, writer, events organiser, arts enthusiast, education activist and a true reflection of the new energy propelling South African youth.She is currently a Digital Content Creator at Don’t Look Down and the Managing Director and co-founder of The Word N Sound Live Literature Company.She has worked as City Press’ Web Editor and Multimedia Editor. She is also the founding member of an education intervention NPO called Miyela.She studied Journalism and Media Studies along with Political and International Studies at Rhodes University where she was an active member of the poetry society, wrote for the student publication and hosted popular shows on Rhodes Music Radio. Qhakaza is a legend in the making and believes she, just as all young people in a society, is a powerful agent of social change.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Qhakaza Mbali Mthmbu. I am the co-founder of Word N Sound and the Managing Director.
  2. What department do you man?
    As Managing Director I over see all departments, working closely with the dept heads. I also manage the blog and all of WNS’ digital properties; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud and Instagram. Thabiso and I also head up the vision and strategy for the ever-growing company?
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    Wow! My biggest goal which I hope to make real progress in is getting more young poets to to start publishing their own books. We are launching the digital store in November so this next year is the true test of how commercially viable poetry is. I also really really want us to own our own venue. I’m tired of being at the mercy of venue owners who do not respect us as business people and have no understanding of our craft.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?Word N Sound digital footprint has been expanding in an amazing way. Now the challenge is to create more in depth and regular content around the work we do and the amazing poets that grace our stages. I would love to see our Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog stats rising, this is already happening so I’m glad.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?Our biggest challenge at the moment is time. With our team holding down day jobs or free-lancing we can not invest the necessary time to creating compelling content. We also need to train new members on digital journalism which in itself is an ever changing industry.We are working hard at getting funding to allow more time to be freed up in order for us to do all the things we have wanted to do. With training, it’s a learn on the job kind of set up. The more we do, the more we learn.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of having a 9-5, being the WNS MD and being an active member of the WNS team?Balancing a very demanding and challenging 9 to 5 with being MD of a dynamic and growing company is very difficult. To be honest, some times I really don’t cope. after a long day at the office the last thing I want to do is continue working, but it has to be done. I have a great team so work is easily shared among us and when you understand the goal and the grand vision, it keeps you motivated to keep pushing. It’s not easy but the reality is that it has to be done in order for us to help build careers for the next generations of writers and performers so that they don’t have to juggle a ‘real job’ and their passion.But another reality is that it’s important for artists and creatives to know how to juggle admin and their craft. We need to take full ownership of our work and stop relying on 3rd parties who might not have our best interests at heart.


Xongani Maluleka
, aka Claudia Mac, is a writer, poet and performer from Soweto, Braamfischer. The 22 year old only started performing when she got to varsity as it allowed more leverage for diverse styles of the spoken word. The Fore.Word Poetry society at the University of Johannesburg was the first platform that opened doors to many stages.

Claudia Mac is known for her controversial take on social matters, challenging and questioning the norms, breaking boundaries to create new ones. These have made her style of writing unique thus securing her own signature.

She has performed at multiple open mic sessions where she learnt how to familiarise herself with the audience and stage. The shows that sit close to her heart are her first showcase at the Next Generation: Let’s Talk Homosexuality, where she stood as an LGBTI ally because these are issues that are sensitive and should be acknowledged. She was even coined ‘the gay poet’.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Xongani Maluleka, I am a poet and also the He.d of Production manager for Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the Head of Production manager for the WNS.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    I would like to foresee growth and fluidity in the execution of our shows. Creating more shows across the country so poets in areas outside Johannesburg can be afforded the same opportunities as those who have access to it. I would also like the WNS to form part of the arts and culture department in South Africa in a more critical manner.
    I would like to be more involved in my department, growing and making sure that I become fully skilled in order to handle bigger projects with ease, therefore I will be able to contribute and manage our projects and be a profitable asset to the company.
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I will admit I am not the earliest bird of the bunch, and working together with other departments, time is valuable, and I tend to lose track of time, thus my way of overcoming this challenge is to work on my punctuality. Other challenges that come with being the Head of Production manager is having to work under pressure and still maintaining calmness at the same time, I believe in time I will grow even more acquainted to these.
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team
    When one does what they love, it will never feel like some form of responsibility but it forms part of your nature. All I do is with love, I am passionate about the arts and I enjoy it. I am proud to be part of this movement because I do believe that we are on the verge of transforming the country’s ideology of art, specifically poetry.


A truth telling. Soul searching. Love bearing Azanian royal, otherwise known as ‘Lwazilubanzi Mthembu’. She is a singer-songwriter, an actress, a director and arts entrepreneur.  She fell in love with music and theatre from earlier than she can remember, attended the University of the Witwatersrand studying a BADA to go be a big balling, famous, life changing superstar and has since found out the truth about the rise to stardom and influence.

She believes in telling stories that are riddled with truth and is not afraid to talk about ‘the dark and twisties’ that we often think we should hide. She has taken her stories around the country, performed on various stages from Wits, Joburg Theatre, Lyric theatre, the Swaziland Bushfire festival, to opening for Mos. Def on skyroom live, performing at the album listening session of Nothende’s.

She is a also one of the 13 dynamic arts entrepreneurs that make up the Word n sound Live. Literature company. She plays the role of the Live music manager and stage manager for all the shows.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am an actress, musician, and director. I head the live music department and also the poeticals. I am the stage manager at all the major festivals and an all round poetry and live music lover.
  2. What department do you man?
    Live music and Poeticals
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    We aim to reignite the flame that is live music in Johannesburg. We would love to be the company that holds monthly events where people are guaranteed a new, emerging band with great sound and quality of work. We aim to be the best place for strong emerging bands to come to showcase their work and build relationships with other young artists.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    I would like us to spearhead the revival of live music in Johannesburg, allow artists to make connects and grow the connections we have on our database. Someday, we can run world renowned concerts with all the artists we have been building relationships with.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We acknowledge the hardwork and time that the artists put into a performance and would like to pay them for their efforts. As bands could be anything from 2 to 13 members this is not always possible. We are trying to ensure that shows pay the bands so marketing becomes crucial on both our side and for the artist themselves.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Only the Lord knows. Passion can sometimes stretch 24hours to house all your ambition …
    sometimes it doesn’t though 😦


Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele
, known to the stage as The Duchess, is a young performance poet with a deep love for poetry, literature and dance. Her subject matter is based on an array of topics that resonate true to anyone willing to be moved. Most of her subject matter is inspired by the quote “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” By Maya Angelou.
Mutinta has headed the University of Johannesburg’s poetry society for two years. She managed to scoop up an award for Best Chairperson of the year in 2013 amongst her many other achievements academically. Only introduced to the stage in 2010, Mutinta’s performances remain flexible to different occasions. Mutinta has been described as a conummate performer and prides herself in her story-telling style of poetry. Having performed at corporate functions, weddings and poetry shows, The Duchess is a performer you shouldn’t take lightly.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele and I am the Head of Admin at this here company, WordnSound
  2. What department do you man?
    My department mans every detail concerning accommodation, catering and finances within the company. I am basically the go to person for most information
  3. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I think my department is the simplest to man because there is a set standard frame work to what should be happening and i ensure that happens
  4. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I am not sure as yet. It’s easy because i am doing what i enjoy, when anything satisfies an internal aspect of you, tasks are not tedious.  It does tire you out eventually but there isn’t much beyond time management.


Mpho Khosi
was born in 1982 in Orlando East, Soweto, Mpho Khosi draws his inspiration from his surroundings and the blues. He was introduced to poetry in grade 4. He was initially just a writer and started performing in 2011. He has performed on various stages including WORDnSOUND, House of Hunger, and Likwid Tongue. He self-published two anthologies: Portraits of Propaganda (2006) is a co-publication with visual artist Frank Manakane; Quietly Loud (2012) describes his work and growth and himself. Mpho considers himself more of a storyteller than a poet and his work echoes his own inner voice.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    I am Mpho Khosi, a poet, father to two wonderful children; Zolile and Kamo. I am part of the WNS team as the operations director, i also co-run the Shelela Boys shop at our monthly shows.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the overall behind the curtain part of WNS, making sure that all our affairs are in order business wise.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    In the next 12 months I am looking to have the department able to run on its own, and have secured funding for the company while all the paperwork that means we remain a company are all sorted.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    The vision is to build more of a business mindedness when it comes to administrating and running poetry. My department should look at ensuring that we are able to approach anyone and say we are legally complaint to receive funding and or sponsorship.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The current challenges start with me not having enough time to dedicate to the department and WNS as a whole; in short, I need to quit my current job to focus on what I am passionate about.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I’m honestly still struggling with balancing the responsibilities more so that I have a 9-5 and fatherhood. But it is a daily challenge that I aim to win soon.


Rhawell Mthiyane
was born in 1977, in Soweto. He was a part time student at Fuba and Sara.
where he studied music and Sound engineering. He was the engineer for the late Moses Khumalo.
and has worked with the band called Kutu, HHP, Thandiswa Mazwai and Mzwakhe Mbuli. Rhawell
also worked with Bra Hugh on his theatre production called Songs of immigrations.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Brian Rhawell. I am head of technical at WordNSound
  2. What department do you man?
    The technical department
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    It’s to see the technical part WordNSound Grow towards owning equipment.
    To have more people on the technical team
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The hiring of equipment is a major challenge. I would like us to own our equipment.I am comparing the industry rates for hiring equipment to avoid overspending.If we could secure a budget by raising funds through hiring out the equipment we already have and to utilize those funds to purchase more equipment for WNS
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a technical manager, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    By dedicating more of my time to the company

Mandi Poefficient Vundla is a writer and spoken word ambassador who was born in Soweto, Johannesburg.Vundla made her debut in the world of competitive poetry in 2011. Since then, she has appeared at different events on various stages, she’s opened the stage for Tedx Johannesburg,co-hosted Tedx Soweto,performed at Poetry Africa.She’s also performed at Action aid’s 5 year country strategy launch, KPMG womens breakfast and the Gahamstown festival and Arts Alive.Vundla co-wrote and featured in the Banyana Banyana theme track, featured in True Love’s September edition, where she dedicated a poem to South Africa for Heritage month. Dubbed Queen of the Word N Sound Mic 2012 in Johannesburg’s prestigious Slam, Vundla went on to win the Poet of the Year award then ended off the year 2013 by breaking her own record and making history by defending her @WordnSound queen of the mic title.She is officially queen of the The word n Sound mic 2012+2013

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am part of the digital content production team at WNS and I also provide content
    for our digital platforms
  2. What department do you man?
    Digital content production
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To develop a stringent content calendar plan for #WNS every 3months
    and to abide by it.
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To stream all our shows online.
    To dedicate 30 min of our WNS series show to a live cross over, so we are able to interact
    with other poetry shows internationally in real-time. This will strengthen our global presence and open us up to international opportunities
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I am sometimes a slow paced worker and given my schedule as a freelancer, it becomes challenging to complete articles on time.The calendar would curb this challenge as I would ensure that we work ahead. When my finances are low, purchasing data bundles become troublesome.


AFURAKAN
is the Co-founder of Word N Souns, Arts Entrepreneur, Award-winning Poet and Copywriter, Afurakan has a career that spans 11 years in the Johannesburg poetry scene and has steadily risen to the upper-echelons thereof. He was the official poet for AFCON 2013, and part of the Olympics Artists Delegation for 2012.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Thabiso Mohare. CEO of the WordNSound Company. I am responsible for outsourcing funds for
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the CEO and overseer of the WNS company.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    -To launch the WNS digital store
    – To launch poetic act and to start working on an arts resource center
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    To have the company full resourced and in a position to pay salaries
    To grow the companies footprint globally
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    -I am faced with financial challenges and finding the appropriate project partners to collaborate with
    -Managing a crew of 12 individuals, aligning all the stakeholders interest
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, CEO and active member of the WNS team?
    I wake up at 3:00am everyday to begin my work.