WNSAwards: “I feel like I keep re-writing the WNS history books.” – Mandi Vundla


1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
I was raised on Kwaito Music, from next door to front and back opposite, I grew up in an environment that celebrated Kwaito as a music genre that depicted our lives in the townships.

“Ode to Kwaito” was inspired by the downfall of the genre and its artist. Kwaito was a form of liberation music for me. A successful genre that we as the black race of the slums could own post-apartheid how liberating. When the artists abused this privilege, I needed an outlet.
And so the poem was born

“Mother” was written for the only mother I know, my rock, my soldier, my happiness my stress. This was for her and everything she gave up
for us, I wanted to give back to her tenfold through this poem. And I did but I went off a tangent when I personified her to my God. I began to question why my mother’s name or names pronounced with clicks and folds like my grandmother’s were not captured in the Bible, where were we, did we not exist, was our skin not Godly enough to be aligned with the story of Christianity?
2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
Both poems would have to change the way we as Africans perceive ourselves. We are beyond the broken black boy story. Lets rewrite the narrative.
3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
I’m truly uncertain.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem category?
I may be blowing my own horn here, but has it ever happened that 1 poet gets 2 nominations in 1 category? I feel like I keep rewriting the WNS history book…unless I’m wrong.

For the record: Mandi is not wrong. Yes, yet again she enters the record books for being the only poet to be nominated twice in one category. Salute!

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