Word N Sound Poetry and Music Series is a platform for the expression of spoken word, not so much a commercial venture as an attempt to make a positive impact on youth in the city.
As a cultural form the craft draws on ancestral oral traditions and fuses with modern music genres such as jazz, house music and hip hop which are a global phenomenon. It functions as a conduit for the aspirations of a marginalized generation and teaches young people to articulate their ideas.
In a country with such a low literacy rate, spoken word encourages curiosity and exposes people to literature in English from a range of cultures around the world. Writing is central to every profession so this is a key skill across all sectors.
The Word N Sound platforms bring together older practitioners of literature – elders of 40 years and older – with young people in their teens and early twenties, to encourage and inspire them and to give them a sense of the trajectory of a literary career.
Word N Sound Management
Thabiso ‘Afurakan’ Mohare
Afurakan, is the crown prince of Johannesburg’s underground slam poetry.
He is best known for his stage improvisations on hip-hop tunes. His style has caught the attention of many slam poets and and writers across Africa with its rhythm and provocative nature.
This is a poet who can cipher with god – and while celebrating the fact that “Blaq people rock” also writes for the miners who beat rock all their lives, for everything that is “less”.
His activity within Jozi’s poetry movement can be traced back to the “So where to” poetry events, and his work with the poetry collective Soul 2 Mouth, among others.
Afurakan has played a vital role in the growth of the spoken word movement in Johannesburg and indeed South Africa; and he’s a regular at schools and community centres, performing for the purpose of spreading the word.
Qhakaza Mbali Mthembu
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 a founder of Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series.
She has worked as City Press’ multimedia editor, 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.
She’s part of the team that currently designs and manages the Word n Sound Bassline Series, a poetry and music development platform dedicated to reviving the arts in Johannesburg. Qhakaza is also graphic designer with a keen interest in social media.
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.