Author Archives: ayobvania

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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SA Literary Flame Extinguished – R.I.P. Chris van Wyk

While we at Word N Sound celebrate our 4th Annual International Youth Poetry Festival we take this time to pause and pass our condolences to the Family, Friends and Fans of Chris van Wyk.

Chris van Wyk crp edt

A raging Inferno on the South African Literary Landscape uncle Chris van Wyk has passed on. His Legacy lives on in his published and unpublished works but I am sure he would say the piece of work he is most proud of is his life! His marriage to his Highschool sweetheart, Aunty Cathy, and the two sons they raised together.

Uncle Chris’ first published work was a collection of his poetry at the age of 22. This collection introduced the world to one of the most gifted and masterful storytellers of our age.

As a young man I first experienced and fell in love with Uncle Chris through his most famous poem ‘In Detention’ a poem based on the reasons advanced by the Apartheid Regime for the deaths of prisoners while in police custody at the infamous John Voster Square [now known as Johannesburg Central Prison] in the Johannesburg CBD.

In Detention - Chris van Wyk

http://prezi.com/embed/-lz8qfjru3bs/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0#

It is a poem that feels like it wrote itself. It is a simple poem. A deeply haunting poem.  Knowing only a little bit about how poems are made, I assume this is a poem which haunted Uncle Chris until it was put to paper and then continued to haunt him as it still does its readers today.

From poetry and short stories to editing Staffrider and publishing children’s stories uncle Chris really came into his own when he started writing memoirs. His own for me was the most gripping as it spoke to me so intimately about the community in which I had spent my formative years. The years before I too would take pen to paper to make sense of my world through the written word. He spoke of people I knew, or knew of and of families I had encountered. This was the first time I truly  experienced my people in literature.

The flame which was Chris van Wyk is no more but during his lifetime he has been able to pass on the light. As his mortal remains are prepared for his burial over the next few days we will mourn his passing deeply. We will turn to his words to find solace and remember him. We may ready some of his work to our children or introduce a new generation of South Africans to his work and in doing so the embers he left behind in the form of well crafted words will spark a new flame and so His Legacy will live on.

In memory of Chris_001

Click Here to RSVP

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WordNSound touches Eusebius McKaiser on his Studio

Self confessed poetry/spoken word philistine, Eusebius McKaiser was touched on[in] his studio by WordNSound CEO- Thabiso Afurakan Mohare and The Reining Queen of the WNS Open Mic League- Mandi Poefficient Vundla when they invaded his Power987 Studio on Wednesday for his week WORD! Feature.

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THE ART OF DOING BUSINESS…IN THE ARTS!

Introducing: Poetic Act- South-Africa’s 1st Spoken Word Booking Agency

Join us from 3-8 October 2014 for the 2014 Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival, in collaboration with our partners Connect ZA and Soweto Theatre. Not only will we be crowning a Queen/King of the Mic, celebrating another year of producing Spoken Word engagements, but we will also be launching the next chapter in the WNS saga.

The Word N Sound Live Literature company is proud to present Poetic Act, a Spoken Word Artist Booking Agency. The launch of this company marks another in a series of “firsts” for Word N Sound, as this is the first booking agency tailored for the needs of Spoken Word artists.

Poetic Act company logo to be revealed at launch

Poetic Act company logo to be revealed at launch

True to Word N Sound’s game changing nature, Poetic Act aims to increase the visibility of Spoken Word Artists in South Africa, while practicing and teaching business elements that are necessary to move this kind of art from hobby to career. This multi-phase strategy will see the launch of a Digital Store dedicated to the merchandising of Poetry/Spoken Word material, from audio visual content, to e-books etc; to follow toward the end of the year.

With the vision of a vibrant and economically sustainable industry, Word N Sound has gone from conceptualizing and promoting one showcase platform per month in 2010, to being the creators and producers of a Weekly Open-Mic Platform, 2 Monthly Showcase Platforms, SLAM FOR YOUR LIFE at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, and 3 Annual Spoken Word Festivals.

Recent studies value the South African Literary Industry at roughly R5bn and the South African Music Industry to be worth R2.09bn annually. The Word N Sound Live Literature Company is positioning itself in these two industries to forge a niche that makes artistic and financial sense.

So, what does it take to bring a vision from concept to realization? It’s one thing to have an idea around art, but how do you make it profitable? And more importantly, how do you make it sustainable?

It was in answering these questions, and the reality that Spoken Word Artists have to contend with paltry payments, that the Word N Sound Live Literature Company was established 4 years ago. The idea was to create revenue stream opportunities for Poets/Spoken Word Artists in an industry that undervalues the contribution of the Art form economically, intellectually and otherwise.

Despondent from the many tales of poets’ manuscripts being rejected by publishers because of a perceived lack of market for poetry, Word N Sound set out not only to show and prove that there is a market, but to start formalizing an Industry.

As part of South Africa’s multi-billion Rand Creative and Cultural Industries, the Word N Sound Live Literature Company has set out to make an indelible mark on the sector through the promotion and marketing of the Spoken Word sub-genre.

The Word N Sound Franchise has already altered the landscape of South African Performance Poetry. This was achieved with little to no traditional media support, hosting events to capacity audiences at every turn and by conceptualizing and producing such showcase platforms and events as:

The Word N Sound Series [est. 2010] – a monthly Spoken Word Showcase event that has been running successfully since 2012 and has become the home of the WNS Open-Mic League Slam; Episode 1 of the first Season of the Series opened as World Cup Fever was sweeping through the nation and only attracted 5 audience members. Today it is the premier Monthly Spoken Word Platform in the City of Johannesburg, often having to turn away audiences when the venue reaches capacity.

Poetry Corner [est. 2013] – a weekly Spoken Word open-mic platform;

The Spoken Freedom Festival [2014] – the new annual Spoken Word Festival in partnership with the Market Theater and The National Lotteries Board which sold out all four shows of its inaugural run at the Barney Simon Theater in July 2014;

Slam For Your Life [est. 2012] – an annual production at Grahamstown National Arts Festival;

Rise of the Underdogs [est. 2014] – a monthly showcase of the hottest live music bands/acts; and the

Word N Sound International Youth Festival [est. 2010] – an annual celebration of the Spoken Word Youth Sub Culture bringing in acts from all over the world.

WNS Fest 2014

With the launch of Poetic Act redefining the business of art in as far as performance poetry is concerned, the other elements of the Johannesburg leg of the festival schedule will be as follows:

Friday | 3 October |10:30 – 16:00 |Soweto Theatre | Free
Workshops Day: Facilitated by Lebo Mashile, Dean Atta, Khosi Xaba TJ Dema and featuring local and international poets and literature practitioners. The workshop sessions will focus on three main themes which are; Africa Unpublished, Branding Spoken Word and Poetry As Social Conscious.

 

Saturday | 4 October |12:00 – 19:00 |Soweto Theatre | R50
Open Mic Slam Finale:
After eight months of intense competition in the Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League, 6 of Gauteng’s most exciting emerging spoken word talent, will vie for the coveted 2014 Word N Sound Open Mic Champion title. The top six contenders for this year are Carlos “NoLIFE” Ncube, Zewande BK Bengu, Bafentse Ntlokoa, Nkosinathi Gaar, Thando Buthelezi and Xabiso Vili. 

The second half of this day will also feature “A Live Literature Company”.  A multimedia performance by the Word N Sound company members who balance the difficult task of balancing being arts entrepreneurs and renowned poets. The 2 hour production features Afurakan, Mutle Mothibe, Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Conelius Jones, Mandi Poefficient Vundla, Masai Dabula, Mutinta Bbenkele (Zambiaa), Elysium Garcia, Xongani Maluleka, Bonga Ndziweni; Lwazi Mthembu, Mpho Khosi and hosted by literary critic and Poet Ayob Vania.

Sunday | 5 October |12:00 – 19:00 |Soweto Theatre | R50
Poetry Is. Showcase performances by local and international poets featuring Lebo Mashile, Buddy Wakefield (US), Dean Atta (UK), TJ Dema (Botswana), Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Makhosazana Xaba and Koleka Putuma.

wns partners logo

The 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival is brought to you in partnership with: Soweto Theatres and British Council Connect ZA and forms part of the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015 which is a partnership between the Department of Arts & Culture, South Africa and the British Council.

For enquires, artist profiles and visuals contact:

Festival Director: Thabiso Mohare: thabiso@wordnsound.com | 073 549 2458

PR and Marketing: Andrew Manyika: andrew@wordnsound.com | 072 350 6051

Soweto Theatre: Mambila Mageza: Mambila@sowetotheatre.com | (011) 930 7461

Key Links: 

Facebook: Word N Sound Poetry + Live Music Series

Twitter: @WordNSound

Blog: www.wordnsound.wordpress.com

Connect ZA: http://connectza.tumblr.com/ 

Soweto Theatre: www.sowetotheatre.com

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And in this corner… Introducing the Top 6 Contenders for the crown!

Top6

Ahead of the 4th annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival, we sent our members of our content team into the training camps of the Top 6 Contenders for the coveted 2014 Open Mic Champion title. Our mission was to see who would rattle who between our fearless contributors and these warriors while trying to find out more about them.

Before we profile each of them we decided to tease you a bit. Accordingly we asked Kgotatso Maditse [the newest member of our content team] to put together an introductory package, so let’s find out why these Contenders think they should win, and what they will be bringing to the stage.

Thando

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi is a writer and poet. She writes poetry, scripts, music and plays. Thando turns to writing to vent frustrations and bring healing not only to herself but also to others. In her own words, she writes for “the rural ones who write in Zulu and don’t have a formal way of writing”.

If she wasn’t a writer though, Thando says she wouldn’t mind being a cyclist because of her love of bicycles.

Props must be given to her for writing in Zulu. Poems like uThembeka have literally brought tears to Word N Sound audience eyes, but she admits that it doesn’t come as easily as it sounds.

“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”

Asked why she should win, she simply said “because I want that money!”

Thando

Nkosinathi Gaar

Theatre director and actor Nkosinathi Gaar says he’s been trying to get to the top for a while, and finally, he is here. This multi-talented and multi-lingual, young man speaks three languages fluently [one being German], and also plays the guitar, and bass, and is a competent songwriter.

A consummate lover of words and ideas and “how they come together”, Nkosinathi admits he feels compelled to write because it is important to, “anchor down experiences and emotion and try to give them voice. Writing has the capacity to change things, which I think is important”.

One cannot miss his animated face and general mannerism, but this is not an alter ego, rather different aspects of himself.

No stranger to the poetry scene, and the stage in general, Nkosinathi feels he should win simply because, “I’m a strong writer and performer”

Nkosinathi

Xabiso

When he is not blowing peoples’ minds away, Xabiso Vili is running events, as well as writing and performance workshops in Pretoria, and the greater GP, in hopes of building a strong portfolio for him to study drama therapy.

Xabiso has a deep passion for art and its remedies and says he writes to make sense of himself and his inner workings, of society and how he relates to society and vice versa. He believes art is a powerful medium which is important to “better not only ourselves, but our communities. Art has the capacity to do that”.

Having grown up watching Jo’burg poets on various stages, Xabiso feels blessed, lucky and excited to be in the finals, and believes he should win because he is “Sharing an honesty other people relate to!”

Oh, and he’s not fond of losing.

Xabiso

NoLIFE

Once upon a time, there was a graffiti artist that would write “(No)body (LI)ves (F)or(E)ever, which then got shortened to NoLIFE. A lover of hip-hop, poet and rapper Carlos NoLIFE Ncube, also known as Snooty Esoteric, is back in the top 5. Well, 6 this time.

Some of his poems have a tone that can easily be read as anger, but NoLIFE says that’s just how his passion translates.

“I believe passion is driven by anger. But I also believe that passion has multiple facets. So for different people it manifests through other emotions whereas for me it manifests in what seems to be anger.”

A self-professed minimalist, NoLIFE says that all he is bringing to the stage is all his words and passion.

“Language is binding, so it is all about sharing perspective and creating discussion. Writing is a personal public thing for me!”

Asked why he should win, he says it’s time he harvests the fruits of his labour. “Poetry is war, and I’m armed!”

NoLIFE

Bafentse

After a 7 year hiatus from the stage, poet Bafentse Ntlokoa, says she wasn’t even competing when performing on the Word N Sound stage earlier this year, she was just performing.

“I kind of missed performing on stage, and I like Word N Sound because it has bright lights and you can’t really see the audience. It was about performing.”

Some of her poems, like “Beautiful Like A Gaping Wound”, sound like odes; like she is in awe of her subject.

“I marvel at life… In all its vastness, in all its contradiction. I’m a seeker and enquirer of life, constantly questioning things. Like why I do whatever I do? Why I participate in whatever I participate in? So I marvel at how it’s ever changing, and it’s so vast. And there’s so much more of my own self to discover all of the time. So many layers.”

Excited to be in the Top 6, Bafentse says she should win because, “My writing is raw and honest … and me!”

Bafentse

Zewande

Zewande Bhengue, also known as #Mcmora, was a finalist in the Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam earlier this year, and now, is a contender for the Open Mic Champion title.

Zewande takes performance poetry to a whole new level, so he brings along his words, sounds, theatre (even chains and bare backs) to the stage. He is on a mission to bring something different and unique to the stage.

“It’s for this same reason that I want to take a break from slamming next year. I just want to explore slam and try to expand it beyond what it is understood as being. So I am trying to do something that other people are not doing. It adds quite a lot, for myself but for the audience as well, to get a picture of where the poem is coming from. That’s why I do that.”

Zewande wants to be remembered for his dedication to his art.

“I want to be remembered for being a guy who gave his all to art, and all art-forms that I engage because I do quite a bit outside of poetry. So I want to be known as the guy who not only gave his all but was also successful in all those art-forms.”

Asked why he should win, Zewande says he doesn’t know, but if he were to give a reason in 6 words, he thinks he should be crowned, “Because I’m better!”

Zewande

The battle lines have clearly been drawn. One thing is for sure, each of these warrior is aware of their formidable opponents and the pressure is on. Now let the games begin!

That being said, we are all dying to see what the Top 6 have in store for us.

Oh, just in case you wanted to know, our hard-hitting contributors held their own during their encounters with the Top 6 Warriors, but the war is not over so that’s a story for another day.

In Word and Sound we trust!

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WordNSound MD comes up short for last Episode!

Just recently the WordNSound Content Team asked our Managing Director if she would make time in her busy schedule to scout some up and coming talent for the next Episode of WNS Series and she willingly agreed…

When we check in with her a few days later we found that she had come up short

8barsshort

How many company executives in this day and age can say they actually get their hands dirty? We are proud to say that our Managing Director does!

Before we delve into her  [virtual] sit down with one half of the dynamic duo check out this joint:

Q: The first time I met you, you were dressed in all grey and introduced yourself as Grae Matter. Please introduce Itai Hakim?

A: Itai Hakim is an up and coming South African born and raised multi-disciplinary artist who uses different artistic mediums – to produced what he calls ‘Channeled Work’.

Namely through his performance poetry, singing, writing (songwriter, author and playwright) and acting. Itai aims to revive, on contemporary artistic platforms ancient, cultural and traditional understandings and narratives of legend and myth through his work. Hakim believes that art is an integral apart of of his personal project of healing and education project.

 

Q: In one of your performances you speak about Grae as another ‘character’ of yours, and that he’s angry. Why is Grae angry? Do Itai and Grae work well together?

A: Grae Matta is dead. I made peace with the reasons behind his anger (mainly direceted at his personal past and the state of his immediate surroundings ( i.e politics, poverty, the state of education etc ) in the Shrines of Haifa while I was on pilgrimage un Israel in 2011.

Q: How and why did 8 Bars Short come about? And what’s the story behind the name?

A: 8 Bars Short is the remainder of a band called  ‘NO IDEA’ which parted ways in the June of 2012.

Nomi and Itani met on campus at a cypher at Wits, later at a poetry slam Itani invited Nomi to and again when Nomi gate crashed a NO IDEA rehearsal on the Wits Lawns.

The story behind the name is while recording the rough cut songs currently on SoundCloud, being newbies to studio settings. After having recorded the instrumental guide for a song, while Nomi sang she noticed we were 8 Bars Short

 

Q: There are many bands out there. What makes yours different?

A: Apparently we’re different because we’re an acoustic duo which sings folk-soul. Something that has been absent since BLK SONSHINE a decade ago.

 

Q: Which 3 poets would 8 Bars Short love to collaborate with on an album? And why them?

A: We haven’t thought that far and aren’t really aware of the poetry scene.

8-Bars-Short-1

Q: On your Soundcloud account you describe your music as “music from the heart for the heart, infused with indigenous folk”.

A: Indigenous Folk came about as a response to assigning our sound to a genre. Our sound is a mix of a number of genres (blues, jazz, classical, indie) Indigenous music and folk music are influences we draw from. At best we’re still figuring it out, but the closest descriptions have been Country Soul / Folk Soul

 

Q: Could you please explain this; the sound of your music as Itai Hakim as a solo, and Itai as part of 8 Bars Short.

A: Both sounds are quite nascent,  but come from a place of self reflection and questioning.

 

Q: You are signed with Motif Records. What has your experience been? What advice would you give other artists looking to sign with a record label?

A: Being managed by Motif has been good. Our advice to upcoming artists is to stay true to their own voices and to protect their work vigilantly.

Just a point from me: Motif is not a label, it is a management company.

 

Q: What have been the highlights of your journey as an artist?

A: Having a conversation with the audience through our work.

 

Q: What challenges have you faced as an artist and how did you overcome them?

A: Biggest Challenge: Being true to myself.  Overcame Challenge: By being true to myself.

 

Q: What can we expect from you at the next Word N Sound Series?

A: 8 Bars Short will just be sharing who they are as per usual.

video source: http://vimeo.com/91839339

Now hurry up and go check out more of the brilliance available on their Sound Cloud Page before Saturday –  https://soundcloud.com/8barshort

 

PS: Thank you boss lady!

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Wordsmiths “Speak The Mind” at Arts Alive

Speak the Mind 9 sessions have been part of Arts Alive since 2005, with the objective to create a word class platform for local and international artists, and also to revive the spoken word spirit. Fusing music, hip hop and beats with spoken word, Speak the Mind 9 sessions include workshops, live performances and dialogue sessions. The main organiser/creator of Speak The Mind 9 is neither a poet or performer, but runs one of the longest running spoken word showcases. This year it will be taking place at the Joburg Theatre. Previous years have had the likes of Napo Masheane, Natalie The Floacist Stewart from Floetry fame, Nova Masango, The Muffinz, and Def Poetry performer Shanelle Gabriel, who have graced stages from Bassline, to Arts on Main. The show has now expanded to Cape Town in collaboration with Artscape. Due to popular demand, some artists do return to the stage, and this year there are a few, including American artist Queen Godis. Tumi and DJ Kenzhero on the decks. This year, expect to see:

  • Gratitude Fisher
  • Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla
  • Tumi
  • Soul House Project
  • Lebo Mashile
  • Dr Mongane Wally Serote
  • Josh Meck, from Zimbabwe
  • Jazz P, from Swaziland
  • Queen Godis from the USA
  • Efe Paul Azino from Nigeria
  • Mtuabaruka from Jamaica

Here are some short bios on the artists performing:

Soul Housing Project

SoulHousingProject

Bokani Dyer, Sakhile Moleshe, Eugene”Mr Grooves” Ackerman, Al “Dirt” du Toit and Kissangwa Mbouta make up the Cape Town based band. Founded in 2007 by lead singer Sakhile Moleshe and Bokani, the band has played at the Grand Daddy Hotel and the Fifa World Cup Fan Park, as well as many stages abroad and locally. With jazz, hiphop, dubstep and house music as their influences, Bokani and Sakhile compose the band’s music, and they are currently working on their debut album You can hear them on their SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/soulhousingproject  

Dr Wally Serote

dr mongane wally serote

Dr Wally Serote is an internationally acclaimed South African writer and poet. Known as one of the Soweto poets in the 1970s who resisted the Apartheid regime through their poetry and literature. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Columbia University and ho norary doctorates in Literature from  the Universities of Natal and Transkei. Wally’s bodies of work include essays, poetry and novels, the most recent being his 2013 book titled Rumours.

Efe Paul Azino

efe-paul

Lagos based Nigerian poet and writer Efe Paul has been in the Naija spoken word circles for over a decade. A self-proclaimed book worm, Efe Paul is regarded as one of Nigeria’s top poets. He has performed on many stages and many audiences, from conferences to churches. He is inspired by the socio-economic and political issues of Nigeria. Here’s a link to one of his poems: http://efepaulspeaks.com/video/

Josh Meck

Josh Meck

Zimbabwean born Josh Meck is a jazz musician. Before relocating to Johannesburg is 2012, Josh performed at concerts and festivals in Harare in Zimababwe, Zambia, Stolkholm in Sweden and Durban in South Africa. The bass guitarist has been in the jazz music industry for well over 10 years, has two albums and says his music has a touch of social commentary. He performed at the Arts Alive’s Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake on Sunday, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to share at the spoken word event

Queen Godis

queen godis

Born and raised in Brooklyn in the USA, Queen Godis is a singer, poet, and director, and “performance art therapist”. In 2001 she founded Queen Godis University, through which she offers life skills coaching and mentoring, aimed at high school and university students, using poetry. No stranger to the Speak The Mind stage, she has also performed in New York, France, and was part of a Choreo-poem workshop in Trinidad. A link to one of her videos: http://www.reverbnation.com/queengodis  

Jazz P

Maputo based Swati artist Jazz P, is a hip hop and soul singer and lyricist who performs in both siSwati and English. She released an album, In My Heart in 2012, is a founder member of the band The Next Generation, and has performed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. A link to one of her songs off her album: https://soundcloud.com/jazz-p/sweet-melody-by-jazz-p

Lebo Mashile

lebo mashile

Poet, producer, presenter, MC, actress, author, and mother Lebo Mashile needs no introduction. She won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa in 2006, she co-founded ‘Feel-a-sista’ spoken word collective along with Myesha Jenkins and Ntsiki Mazwai, she acted on the Oscar nominated film Hotel Rwanda, presented and co-produced the tv show L’Atitude, published anthologies and even had one translated in Germany … we could go on forever. She currently presents Great Expectations on eTV, a show about pregnancy and parenting. http://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/love-elastic-4119#.VAe4OPmSxDI

Tumi tumi

Tanzanian born Tumi Molekane South Africa Tumi Molekane, famously known as Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, is a poet/MC. Founder of  Motif Records in 2006, which boasts local artists such as Reason, Ricky Rick, 8 Bars Short, Nova, not forgetting Tumi himself. Tumi has shared the stage with great names in hiphop, including Talib Kweli, and recently has worked with the likes of Zyon of Liquid Deep, L-Tido, Zeus, AKA, the list goes on. In the early 2000s he released an anthology called The Black Inside Out. In recent years Tumi has performed at TEDx Soweto, Poetry Africa as well as Speak the Mind in previous years. Next month he drops his next solo offering, called Rob The Church https://soundcloud.com/motifrecords

Mutabaruka

mutabaruka

Born in Kingston Jamaica in 1952, Allan Mutabaruka is a dub poet who has graced the stage of Speak the Mind and Def Jam a number of times. He came to fame in the 1970s. His poems touch on black history and consciousness, spiritual awareness, imperialism and colonialism. He recently released a double volume of poetry, which consists of his old works, Mutabaruka: the first poems and his more recent works, Mutabaruka: the next poems. Not new to the Speak the Mind Stage, it will be interesting to hear what he has to offer this time around

 

Gratitude Fisher

gratitude fisherSibongile Fisher, also known as Gratitude Fisher, is a poet, writer and actress. She started writing in 2005, and in 2009 joined the UJ Poetry Society. She has shared the stage with poets such as Mysesha Jenkins, Likwid Tongue, and has performed on stages at Bassline, the Soweto Theatre, the Market Theatre Lab to name but a few. https://soundcloud.com/gratitude-fisher/a-poem-for-africa

Mandi Poefficient Vundla

mandi1

Mandi exploded onto the spoken word scene in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since. Although she was writing since her teens, destiny revealed itself to her and us in 2011. Mandi has blossomed in front of our eyes. Her pieces are personal, deeply moving, reflective, sometimes introspective, almost like the pages in her diary. Miss Poefficient has  shared the stage with Poetry Legends, performed on the Art Alive and the Jozi Book Fair , and in 2012 crowned Word n Sound’s Queen of the Mic, nominated for a Perfect Poem Award. She is to be one of the youngest poets to grace the international Speak the Mind stage   To miss the rush Click Here to Order Tickets Now

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#WNSFEST INTERVIEW: RORA [Roar of the Lion] – Rollution Creations

From inception, The Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series has been designed as a platform to stimulate the creative economy, through the promotion of the arts in general with live music and poetry [specifically] at the center of this enterprise.

In this regard the team behind Word N Sound have always tried to ensure that other art forms are represented at events. One of the staples of this endeavor has been our partnership with the crafts brand RORA – Rollution Creations.

We caught up with the heart and brains behind this growing brand, Rolland Simpi Motaung to pick gain insight into his views on RORA‘s relationship with WNS, his thoughts on the Open Mic League and the future…

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WNS: You have been with Word N Sound since inception, how has the journey been for you?

We started this artistic relationship with Word n Sound back in 2011 when the venue was at Bassline, our aim has always been to source and find potential markets for our crafts/products and brand. The WnS events were one the first in Johannesburg we sold at, the journey has been great, mutually beneficial, the people have supported us greatly over the years, and we have grown in understanding the poetry market.

WNS: What has the positives and negatives of associating your brand with WNS?

The goal with us selling at poetry or any art related event is not only to expose the art of Crafting, but to allow these art disciplines to interact, demonstrate how art is connected. Apart from the constant branding and getting new clients, the positives have been about adding creative value to the poetry experience, the audience doesn’t only have to take the Word home but also a memoir, and the Open Mic Slam winners also get to walk away with hand crafted prizes. Also being one of the main sponsors of the WNS Annual Festival for the 2nd time around is humbling.

The challenge has been low sales at some events and the misconceptions that RORA only exists within the WnS platforms.

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WNS: Would you say that there is a market for your range, especially looking at the people who buy your goods?

Most defiantly YES!! We wouldn’t have continued with the relationship if we didn’t have a market. Over the years the crowd has evolved, students have always been the bulk of our clients (especially females) yet the working class market has grown amazingly.

WNS: What would you say still needs to be worked on to grow both brands; ie Word N Sound and RORA?

Consistency from both parties in regards to certain business aspects. Further growth of markets/audiences/artists in other provinces, there’s a demand for both brands (poetry and crafts) and creative expression in general. Most importantly there’s a need for the development of the arts, especially workshops on how artists can grow their entrepreneurial/business skills, and rendering  tools on how/where to publish, contract drafting/reading, branding, intellectual property issues, etc

WNS: Where do you see your brand situated in the overall scheme of things within the poetry scene?

RORA means to roar (a lion’s roar) in seTswana, a metaphoric reference meaning to express and discover your true self, the brand’s ethos is grounded on the belief that Passion Is Purpose; so we want to be known as a brand that adds betterment to society. And overall continue with more sponsorship, endorsements and partnering with art organizations to develop new avenues to stimulate the creative economy not only in poetry but in the arts in general.

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WNS: Speaking Poetry, who would you say has been the most consistent performer in this year’s slam and why?

No-Life has been exceptional. From the Emonti on Bree stages, solo and along side Ahimsa as Forgotten Planet to now.WOW!!. His writing, concepts and themes have grown immensely and have captured a lot of people with his raw-aggressive-emcee-like style of delivery. Kagiso Tshepe’s Manufacturing King still blows my mind. And its always great to see sister poets being consistent in their work and getting the praise they deserve, hence its no surprise to see Mapule Mohulatsi and Mandi Vundla (again) among the Top 5 for this year’s Open Mic League Final.

WNS: Is there a poet whom you would like to see your brand dressing?

We have started with informal discussions with Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla specifically within the WordnSound circles, and she has represented the brand well this far, recently being at the Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, last month. Tumelo Khoza has been fully behind the brand, and still roaring across the shores in Chicago,USA. Various other poets have embraced our brand including Myesha Jenkins, Natalia Molebatsi, Phillipah Ya Devilliers, and DC Poetry Slam Team from Washington, USA. So our aim is to sustain the relationship and work with like minded poets who are willing to walk and roar with the brand

WNS: When will we get a chance to see you climbing on the WNS slam stage?

Hahaha… When my spirit grants me the will to constantly write and perform again. As an artist I work from a basis of spirituality, a creative energy has to invoke me so deep that I cant sleep at night but create, over the past four its been fabric, thread and needle that dictate my artistic production.

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WNS: Which would you say is “easier”, climbing on stage to share a poem or two, or having to come up with designs that capture people’s imaginations?

None is easier, both art forms have their own intriguing creative processes. An art form is ‘easier’ when it’s constantly practiced and perfected everyday, when you work hard at learning and improving it. I was an active performer during high school around 2002 and the sewing started being hectic late 2009, after the company was registered. The transition was between 2010/2011 where I would sell at events and at the same time sign up to perform, a demanding task, hence I decided to stick to the crafting business.

WNS: Where should we expect to see RORA in the next year and onward and would you keep your association with WNS?

Yes, we will still be with WnS. Set up more endorsement deals, more exciting designs/crafts, more products going continental and outernational, partnerships/collaborations and adding to the development of the Arts . To infinity and beyond basically, lol.

Download RORA: Rollution Creations Price list here: Pricelist011

 

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#WNSFEST Interview: THABISO “AFURAKAN” MOHARE

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WNS: Who is the one great south African poet [dead or alive] that you would kill or die to slam against?

AFURAKAN: Lesego Rampolokeng! Purely because I would never win, however, the honey is in the fight. It’s just one of those word battles you want to come out of bleeding and torn to shreds. But still live to talk about it …

… Also because I can’t think of anyone dead or alive who would want to f#*k with Lesego Rampolokeng .. Next question …

WNS: You came up during the explosion of the performance poetry scene, what would you say the difference is between that era of the movement and the current slam dominated era we are experiencing right now?

AFURAKAN: Wow! Did you just call me an old man? Any way … The movement that broke through around 1999 through to 2005 was an exciting yet limited phenomenon. I think for the first time, black youth were redefining what poetry was accepted as in South Africa. Mainly raised on hip hop, jazz, reggae and blues, this generation of writers was concerned mainly with issues of freedom and its promises, identity, self-consciousness and the new African century to name a few.

However, the movement was primarily rasta and black consciousness based and certain mundane issues such as acceptable dress code and image at poetry events and the circular topics, meant that new and potential audiences were immediately excluded from participating. This was the primary reason that retarded this beautiful and vibrant movement.

Still, some broke through and it was those who had a global perspective of poetry both written and spoken. These would include Tumi Molekane, Lebo Mashile, Napo Mashiane, Kojo Baffoe, Kabomo, Mak Manaka and Flo Mokale to name a few.

The current slam / performance based movement is firstly open to a wider net of audiences. It has embraced individuality and instead put a square focus on writing and performance. The current rejuvenation of poetry has also benefited from the introduction and constant growth of online based social media platforms.

Another difference would be the current era’s experimentation and incorporation of theater and multimedia elements and fashion to enhance the performance and overall presentation of their work. The new age poet also has global insight of poetry and spoken word as a worldwide movement and their role both locally as change agents and as part of a universal network.

WNS: What is your biggest writing quirk/superstition?

AFURAKAN: Honestly, either I don’t have one or this question went over my head.

WNS: We’re still waiting for your book, and official follow up of your ep, what can you tell us?

AFURAKAN: What do you want to hear? What’s the rush? Is work that I wrote 10 years ago still not fresher than most? Next question

WNS: If the future were to unfold exactly the way you’d want it, what’s in store for Word N Sound?

AFURAKAN: When our kids and grandkids get on stage for the first time and it’s a Word N Sound platform, then we will know that we have succeeded in building a generational tool and resource that will change how writing is viewed and consumed in the world while providing a spring board for writers to thrive in the literary and performance careers. For now, it’s back to the grind!

WNS: Your career is dotted with collaborative efforts, membership of creative collectives [Brotherhood, 7, Soul 2 Mouth, etc], please tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of these types of initiatives and collectives? What happened to these initiatives and collectives?

AFURAKAN: Some collaborative initiatives work out while others don’t but it is in the trial and error that we learn how to be both leader and follower. The beauty of collaborations is that there is joint effort and resources thus making work easier and faster. However, the decision making process can be long and drawn-out while also trying to manage individual points of view and interests.

The collectives that I have been a part of have helped me develop as an artist, entrepreneur and also as a young black man living in #Johustleburg. These collaborative have over the years faded either as they had served their purpose or because of personal developments in the collective, and sometimes because of creative differences or lack of commitment. Each still a learning experience that has helped propel me thus far.

WNS: From the early 2000’s you’ve been part of initiatives [Poetry in Locomotion, WordNSound to name just 2]  to create and maintain platforms for poets [and related artists], how and why did you go this route and how important has this decision been not just for you as a poet but also as an arts administrator/activist?

AFURAKAN: Firstly, if we don’t do it then who is going to? The broader question is that do we want to just be artists/ participants in the creative industries or do we also want own a piece of it? So if we say that we want ownership then we first need to accept that we will not be the real owners in our lifetime but our children and grandchildren will. Someone has to start from scratch and lay the foundation so that it is easier for the next generation to propel this movement to even greater heights.

Secondly, I am fascinated by the creative industry in Africa and the influence and potential it has. I want to be a part of this amazing time and space – the African creative century.

Last but not least, I like running shit!

WNS: What happened to your album?

AFRURAKAN: Quick check the answer to Question 4 and come straight back!

WNS: 7 was a rather progressive socio-political theatrical poetry experiment… 7 “black” male poets, celebrating the streets they come from and the streets that make them equal. Tell us more about it? Who was part of this initiative and what was its impact?

AFURAKAN: Can we have a coffee about this one? Long, long but fun and amazing story … but there people who were involved were Kojo Baffoe, Kabomo Vilakazi, Flo Mokale, Mak Manaka, Ayob Vania, Common Man and Afurakan.

Coffeee … anyone?

WNS: What question would you most like to be asked in an interview? Why? And how would you answer it?

AFURAKAN: I am an equal opportunity question answered thus I do not discriminate against other questions. I treat all questions the same as they are all important … lol …moving right along.

WNS: You are most famous for standing in a cypher with GOD, what do you think your killer punchline in the cypher was? What would a cypher with Lucifer the light-bearer sound/feel/look like?

AFURAKAN:

Killer Punchline

“… even if you were a staff and I was the red sea you still couldn’t split me …”

 Cypher with Lucifer? ….

“So it was that 21 eons had passed | and my tongue from God’s magical jar was freed at last | took a gasp | vision return to Lucifer waiting with an ax | swinging beautiful wrath | of a million hells ancient and possessed. | So what’s next …”

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#WNSFEST Interview: ANDREW MANYIKA

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So what do Poetry Festivals, Award Shows, Weddings and Fashion Shows have in common?  They’re all events where Andrew Manyika has plied his trade as a Poet, Comedian, and MC.

Sometimes referred to as “the Gentleman of Poetry” due to his penchant for wearing 3-piece suits, Andrew has made quite an impact on the local poetry scene since winning his first ever slam. This was the Gauteng Drama For Life Slam in 2011; and he placed second in the DFL National Grand Slam.

Since venturing into performance poetry and comedy, Andrew has taken to stages including the Johannesburg International Motor Show 2011 (for team Mazda); TEDx Johannesburg 2013; The opening of the LAE Gallery; The UJISS Merit Awards 2013; State Theatre: Night of the Poets 2012. He has been extensively involved in WordNSound since 2012, twice being a finalist in their Open Mic League, MCing several episodes of their series, as well as the Inaugural WNS Poetry Awards (For which he was nominated in the category “Perfect Poem”).

Over the years, Andrew has proven himself to be a capable poet and comedian, having performed at Parkers, The Box, Kitcheners, The Comedy Underground and various private functions. His unique combination of skills (poetry and comedy), allows him to lend a fresh perspective to MCing.

Andrew is born again and endeavours to let this shine through in his art. As the holder of a BCom in Marketing Management; and a BCom (Hons) in Strategic Management, Andrew definitely sees himself as an entrepreneur .

We caught up with Andrew in Soweto recently this is what he had to say:

WNS: What is your biggest pre performance / writing quirk?

AM: I yawn. Like, world-swallowing; breath-leaving-body; drawn-out-sigh type o’ yawning. I think it’s my body trying to manage my nerves before getting on stage. I’m cool by the time I hit the stage though. Also, Pastor Rick Warren, whom I really look up to, once said “Don’t stand before man, without kneeling before God”, so I pray before every show.

My biggest pre-writing quirk? I procrastinate…hard.

WNS: What influence does your poetry have on your comedy or visa versa?

AM: Comedians = storytellers; poets=storytellers. So, I view all stage time as an opportunity to learn. I’m constantly learning technique, delivery, and the dynamics of a crowd and how to create or maintain a certain kind of ambience.

The writing processes are different for me. I write poetry for myself, but by it’s nature, I write comedy for the audience.

WNS: How important is your image as a performer?

AM: It’s very important. As a performer, you become the product and it’s promoter. So there are elements to a “product”, one of which is the packaging. It must be appealing to look at you, and you can achieve that by how you dress, hence this year I’ve been seen wrapped in a suit and tie. Next year we’ll explore other forms of packaging perhaps.

Image is also important in terms of what it is that you purport to stand for. People respond to you if they feel you are being genuine, and they respect you if they can tell you are being consistent.

WNS: Why should one vote for the EFF?

AM: The same reason you’d vote for anybody else: if you believe in their policies.

WNS: Slam vs set performances. Your take?

AM: If I understand the question, you’re contrasting “slam” against “non-competitive performance poetry”? if so, I would say everything has its’ place. In general though I prefer pages to stages (of all kinds); but I understand the capacity of live performance in terms of entertainment value and audience reach, and I enjoy It too. Set performances and slam to me, are very much different sides of one face (on one side of the same coin…& I’m being long-winded again).

WNS: What will the history books say about you?

AM: “Andrew Manyika won souls for Christ. He loved words and story-telling and wrote everything from poems to business proposals. He wrote them well. A family man with a high tailor bill (because he had to get his pants shortened a lot) and dry-cleaning bill (from wearing his heart on his sleeve), he challenged, changed and introduced ideas about things…and he was taller in real life than he looks in the pictures.

WNS: If you were in a slam with God, what would your killer punchline be?

AM: “You literally made time to slam with me | put me in the place of Christ, and said I’m your family | I know you paid the price, for this great life you handed me | made me a branch in the Grapevine | slow matured cause soul-saving takes time | so now my stance when I make rhymes | is to speak the Truth, be no pretender | I get that my victory lies in you, so I surrender. We win”

Those lines were actually kind of nice, so I think I may actually use them.

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