Monthly Archives: January 2015

REIGNING QUEEN SET TO KICK START THE 5th SEASON OF THE WORDNSOUND POETRY LEAGUE

Thando Buthelezi, reigning queen of the WordnSound mic

QUEEN OF THE WORD N SOUND MIC [2015]

What better way to kick start the 5th Season of the Word N Sound Poetry League than to launch our 1st show of the year with the reigning Queen of the WordnSound mic, Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi.

We chat to the Boston Media Graduate about the fine line between hiphop and poetry, her brewing audio tape and why she won’t be defending her title.

“My biggest regret as a writer is that for so many years i neglected the fact that i’m writer”

  1. What impact has slam poetry had on you as a poet?
    It has diverted me completely from being content with having produced good work or “DOPE” stuff by instilling in me the Discipline of not settling for anything less than Quality Work and also I appreciate other peoples poetry a lot more
  2. You hold the WordnSound 2015 Queen of the mic title. What responsibilities
    do you think this title carries?

    Considering that a foundation of Sisters Reigning has already been laid, i’d suppose my responsibility is to keep the culture going by encouraging more and more ladies to come out their shells and actually slam so we can take it again this year.
  3. They say there’s a fine line between hiphop and poetry, your writing style borrows from HipHop. Would you say there’s a difference between the genres, if so please substantiate.
    The main reason I think I’m actually able to borrow elements of hip hop and fuse them with my poetry, is because I guess to some degree I do believe that the two genres are the same, there only difference I’d say is the rate of growth, hip hop is obviously growing a lot faster than spoken word. Unfortunately the more it evolves, there more it drifts from being a sibling of poetry to a distant cousin. But they still family.
    [I also don’t understand what the heck I just said lol.]
  4. It is known that you won’t be defending your title at the WNS 2015 Poetry League, Why?
    The word n sound experience was really great and I’d love to do it all over again but more than that I think I would love to see somebody else being awarded the same opportunity that I was given. Because I believe we’ve all worked equally hard and deserved the title.
  5. As a Boston Media House graduate, how does your media qualification benefit your poetry?
    It has helped me to think strategically, coz before I even put words together I’m already thinking of how I will be able to sell this body of work as a product. Also Doing Radio has helped a lot with improving my Voice, I project a lot better now and all the breathing and MiC techniques I’ve learned, I can now apply when perfoming my poetry as well.
  6. You are currently recording your audio tape, what strategy have you put in place to ensure it becomes a success?
    Well I intend on branching out of the Jo’burg scene for a while, travel around to secure a larger fan base., I’ll be certainly Making use of Broadcast and Social Media Platforms a lot more than i did before because My project is not something i want to limit to the Poetry Scene, it’s for everybody and with that said im challenged also to put together a balanced sound which is accommodating to every person.
  7. You comprise 1 part of the Phenomenal 9.
    a) What is the phenomenal 9?
    It’s a divine sisterhood aimed at eliminating competitiveness among us women in the poetry circle and encourages unity and friendship beyond poetry sessions. Because we are a lot more stronger as a unit.

    The Phenomenal 9

    b) What is the core function of this group in the evolution of the poetry industry today?
    Our core function in evolving poetry is to introduce the breaking of boundaries.
    We have now brought theatre to our ordinary stages, to ordinary people, that’s a culture that we would like to see grow, to see a lot more poets stepping out of their comfort zones.

    c) Where can 1 find a sample of work the group has produced?
    We have a Facebook page and all information regarding our work is there, our Women’s day tour was filmed as well as the CLEANSING show we had in December. We hope to avail it to the public soon.

  8. What has been your greatest regret as a writer
    My biggest regret as a writer is that for so many years i neglected the fact that i’m writer. I feel like i would have been a lot further than i am now had i took my craft seriously from the onset and invested in it.
  9. If you had to improve the WordnSound Poetry league by adding an element of your choice to the platform, what would you add?
    I would segment the slam into categories maybe, coz I’ve noticed the many different elements that people have brought forward and I would like to see more of that variety being acknowledged and celebrated on the WNS Stage.
  10. Which poem have you listened to and thought, snap why didn’t I think of that?
    Xongani Maluleke’s SIDE CHICK poem. It’s the ONE shem ay!
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WNS Family Part I – Being part of something bigger – Why we joined WNS

Why We Joined WNS

Some people walk though doors, onto stages and find themselves in the middle of a boardroom and never quite leave. This is exactly what happened to these to WNS shareholders.

Word N Sound, like many other movements, started as a desire, a thought. With an initial audience of 5 at it’s inaugural show, the live literature company has come a long way over the past 4 years to hosting sold out monthly shows across the Johannesburg city-scape.

The company has grown from that very first show in 2010 to bringing audiences some of the best young poets South Africa has to offer – to bringing the world’s poets to South African stages, taking South African poets to the world, to a launching a Digital Stores where poets can sell their work.

At the core of it all though, is a little show hosted on the 1st Saturday of every month for those craving a fix of poetry.

Word of mouth is still the most effective way of marketing, which is what led to these two, would be shareholders, walking through our doors a few years ago.

Both Mpho Khosi and Mutle Mothibe first heard about Word N Sound from a friend – so they came, they saw and haven’t left since. They share similar visions, but are informed by different schools of thought.

Q: How did WNS hook you? What was it about the platform that made you want to be a part of it as a shareholder?

Mpho: I was hooked by the idea of being part of a generation that evolved poetry in South Africa, a part of something bigger than just being a poet

Mutle: Their vision for spoken word art, well ART in general. I felt they shared some of the vision I have when it comes to growing this art into an industry and having artists live off their art. The idea that we could spark a movement that could have out children living off of this art is one that is very close to my heart. I felt then that these are people I want to align my energy with towards achieving the goals we have in mind.

Q: Coming in, what were your expectations?

Mpho: Honestly, I came in just looking to break my “in the closet poet” tag. I just needed a platform and found it on the Word N Sound stage. This has all changed as I have come to realise the amount of work that goes into providing the platform.

Mutle: Not really… I came in fully aware that it’s all in me. It’s all about what I can bring to the table to make this endeavour a success. I have always felt that the team concentrates on what every individual can bring to the table and we work hard which in turn makes the bigger picture work more smoothly.

Regardless, both found themselves at home with the WNS family and have accumulated a world of memories and experiences in their hearts and minds.

Q: What was one of your most memorable performances/moments with WNS?

Mpho: The first Word N Sound festival. It was something out of this world, more so as I was part of this rebirth of a super sleeping giant.

Q: With everything that WNS has done (and not done) over the years, what’s your vision now for WNS? How is it different from the WNS you joined when you did, and is that good or bad?

Mutle: Well the vision has not changed really… if anything we still have the same goals but now we are more equipped to meet the challenges that pop up. There are a lot of ideas that have been lying dormant in volts and we are now revisiting them because we have the resources to bring them to fruition.

Word N Sound is not the first poetry collective in the country. Many movements and organisations start with brilliant ideas, passion and drive, and fizzle somewhere along the line, sometimes even before they pick up any pace.

Speaking to the two shareholders, they both seem to attribute the success of Word N Sound, partly, to the connectedness and unity in the collective, despite the challenges that might have come along the way.

Q: Many movements wither and die. What do you think WNS did differently?

Mpho: Word N Sound has found a way of engaging their audience. We have not only provided a platform, but have also helped grow the community of poets

Mutle: I think what has helped WNS’ staying power is a sense of family with which the company shareholders work. Our marketing has evolved over the years and has helped us reach diverse audiences. Another huge factor is that the calibre of art coming out of the WNS league has created a huge shift in the spoken word arena. So much so that people from other provinces, countries and even other continents are engaging us about being part of the league or finding out if we could host the league in their area. We have become a worldwide brand and these factors have helped sustain and promote the growth of the company along with its staying power.

 Q: Any advice you would give WNS?

Mpho: Keep your head down, eyes open and always listen to your audience; they know what product they want to invest in.

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Showcasing the Queen of the Mic…

All Hail Thando Buhelezi Reigning Queen of the Mic

All Hail Thando Buhelezi
Reigning Queen of the Mic

Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi blazed a remarkable trail through Season 4 of the WordNSound Poetry Slam League in 2014. A feat she brilliantly topped off with stellar performances at the Annual WordNSound International Youth Poetry Festival at the Soweto Theatre in October where she was ultimately crowned the Queen of the Mic.

She says that the endearing lesson she walked away from her yearlong battle on the WNS Slam stage was of disciplinehard-work and commitment to all aspects of her craft. Heading this lesson paid off, as Thando adamantly made her way through to the end not just for herself but for all those who supported her all the way.

What added to her spectacular journey was that Thando strives to write in and incorporates as much isiZulu into her work as possible and says: “Writing in Zulu is actually hard. I had to read, I had to learn, even the accent. I had to work on it because I had gotten used to the English way of writing”.

As the reigning Queen of the Mic Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi will showcase her her witty wordplay and ethnically inspired writing as the feature Poet at the Premier Episode to Season 5 of the WordNSound Poetry League.

In closing Thando’s advice to those who want to slam in this years’ WNS Poetry League would be to take the Word N Sound stage seriously, and to do this for themselves more than to compete.

Video clips of our previous interaction with Thando:

Thando Buthelezi…:

  • … is a Johannesburg based EMCEE, Songwriter and poet.
  • … first entered the scene in 2009 as just a rapper  before venturing into poetry late 2012
  • … has performed at many shows and has shared the stage with various poetry greats,
  • … has earned championship titles at slam Competitions and featured on hip hop mixtapes.
  • … fuses her poems with music and theatrical elements and makes use of Props and writing poetry in her Zulu language
  • … has made guest appearances on: YO-TV’s Blue Couch, Mzansi Insider and Soweto TV.
  • … has being granted platforms such as Eldos FM, VoW FM, Mogale FM, Rainbow and UJ FM to showcase her work
  • … writings has been published in various print media.
  • … participated in the DSTV tour across JHB CBD taxi ranks to raise awareness on women and child abuse.
  • … was selected to be a part of the Phenominal 9 women tour which happens annually on women’s day to celebrate sisters that are doing well within the arts.
  • … co-founded  the Sandton Poetry festival which celebrated Poetry movements that existed in and around Johannesburg.
  • … is currently recording her debut Poetry Audio Tape due for release layer this year
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Are you ready for SA’s toughest slam?

S5Ep1_7FebFB Get excited for your first dose of poetry, as we unveil our newly branded 5th Season of the Word N Sound Poetry League.

Kicking things off in Season 5’s first Episode of the Poetry League is the reigning Queen Of The Mic, Her Majesty, Thando Buthelezi – whose ethnically infused style of writing coupled with her witty word play creates a body of work unique only to her. She will be accompanied by 20 of Jozi’s dopest poets all gunning for her spot on the throne.

Have you got your eye on the Poetry League Champion title? Make sure you arrive early to sign up for SA’s toughest slam.

So join us for what promises to be the hottest poetry premiere of the calendar, as we anticipate more thrills, more spills, more spoils, more props, more poems and more everything. Episode 1 comes as a welcomed reprieve for most poetry lovers who’ve been starved of poetry thus far, so the only question is: are you ready for this year’s Word N Sound Poetry League?

Join us at the Market Theatre Lab in Newtown, doors will open at 12pm, the League kicks off at 1pm. The Queen of the mic showcases at 4pm.

Tickets will be sold for R50 at the door and space is limited.

…in #WordNSound we trust…

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