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


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.

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