“At times, only the poem exists, not Modise, not the audience” – Modise Sekgothe


Poetry lovers have come to expect nothing short of extraordinary when Modise Sekgothe steps to the stage. His showcase at the inaugural annual Spoken Freedom Festival at the Market Theatre did not disappoint.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
There was definitely something special for me, through and through. At times you perform and you’re giving it your all but it doesn’t always amount to that. Sometimes the microphone isn’t positioned properly and that fucks with some of my focus, there are very little things, sometimes the sound is too low or too high and that affects me.

Such distractions take away from how deeply I can be immersed in the energy of the poem, this means forgetting myself and forgetting everyone there with me, it means forgetting that this is a performance and embodying and morphing into the poem itself, at that time only the poem exists, not Modise, not the audience, not the microphone, not the instrumental or the bad speakers, just the energy, enveloping every part of me from the inside out, out of every one of my pores into every one of your pores as the audience.

It’s when I strip completely and I let every part of me to light and it’s clear to the observer and they enter and we journey, we forget and by the time we remember, we’re no longer the same, perhaps just a little bit, but we’re transformed forever by the experience.

This was my experience, I can’t attest to what the audience felt of course but…it’s come to me that at that point, there is no audience, there’s just the poem, and we all feel it in the same way when it’s allowed to live completely.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
The afore mentioned performance.

Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
Zewande Bhengu. He’s a monster! His skill as a performer is generations away from where I am, I wanna get there. I am very inspired by what he does when he’s on stage.

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
Koleka Putuma. I think she’s amazing.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
Yes, I am working on a project called “Metropolar” with Jotam Schoeman, who’s an insanely amazing Pretorian-based sketch-artist, visual artist and musician. “Metropolar” is a musical, spoken word, audiovisual production based on the Johannesburg CBD, all its horrors and beauties as observed and experienced by him and myself. It was born from an exhibition that he had at the Rubix Cube gallery in Maboneng, also portraying the harsh and interesting reality of life in the CBD.

It’s a cool exploration of animation, video, sketch art, music and spoken word, I flex my singing skills in it…hehehe, he created a stop-motion video from his sketches creating an animated stop-motion representation of the poetry and music and theme.

We’ve performed at the Rubix-cube gallery as part of Writers on Main, twice at the Atterbury Film Festival in Pretoria and will be producing a DVD to sell to the buying masses early next year. It’s going to be great!

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