Author Archives: Qhakaza Mbali Mthembu

We have a brand new website

To celebrate our fifth year in the game, The Word N Sound Live Literature Company is bringing on a couple of changes. First of which is a brand new website. Keep up with all things poetry and what we are up to here.

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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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Digital store launches with Mutle Mothibe’s In_Sense

This month, the Word N Sound Live Literature Company launched our digital store in partnership with Bozza Mobile. Poetry lovers can now download their favourite poems with just an SMS.

Mutle_Catalogue_ Mutle Mothibe is the first artist whose work is now available for download.
We spoke to him about the store and his In_Sense album.

You released the In_Sense album on CD in 2013, how was it received?

The disc has been well received… I am selling the last few of the batch I had ordered from the printing company. I have had no negative or unfulfilled reviews from the people who bought it so I feel it was a major success with people still wanting to purchase discs till today.

Why have you decided to go the digital route with the album?

I want more people to have access to my work and also to broaden my digital footprint. It’s one thing to have people locally bumping my work but I also want to sell my artworks to people overseas and see my work reaching other continents.

What reviews have you received for your work?

People are happy, some even tripping over how layered the works are when it comes to the amount of research that went into making them. I am quite chuffed with the end product and have not received one negative review.

What went into making this album?

#WOW! Tons of psychological research on themes and concepts that I want explored in art works. Also thinking of ways in which to see these ideas played out in poetry format and also giving people a glimpse into my struggles and triumphs was quite an interesting journey. Inaudible Studios was also mad help when it comes to my producer Mohale Molefe’s expertise and also him very aware of the tone I wanted to carry through out the album.

Why should we buy your work?

Because it’s an honest display of my take on spoken word… it’s a reminder of what can be achieved when hard work meets heart and I think it’s pieces of art that can also remind people that they aren’t alone in this difficult journey of being an artist.

Why did you decide to sell the album through the Word N Sound Digital Store and not going at it on your own?

Word N Sound is home! chuckles. I decided to do so because of the contract we have signed into. It felt right…it felt as though my needs as an artist were being put first. Also it’s one of the many things I am heading and it only made sense that I also put my work in the and show people how good an investment it is in ones career.

If I have never heard of you, which poem should I download first?

#Parkinsons! (Psst…SMS ‘park’ to 37616 to download Parkinsons for R7.50)

You have recorded an album as a member of Inaudible, are you planning on making this also available online?

Yes actually I am busy talking to my group partners in us launching the album on a digital space. A lot of people have been asking for reprints of the original work. So it makes sense that we go global and show people what Inaudible is about.

If you were to start a political party for artists, what would you name it and what would 3 things would appear in your manifesto?

Art needs to be given more importance in the school curriculum and not be part of some insignificant pass time kids have when their school schedule has an opening. The arts department in the government needs to be headed and run by artists. Artists need to become more self-sufficient in their business approach so that we aren’t waiting for hand outs when the going gets tough.

(We see how he just ignored our ‘what would you call your party’ question)

You have been known to put the boundaries of poetry, what can we expect next?

#Merging magic tricks with Poetry.

Who are your favourite artists at the moment?

Philippina “Pina” Bausch (27 July 1940 – 30 June 2009) was a German performer of modern dance, choreographer, dance teacher and ballet director.

Modise Sekgothe

My Sun and Daughter Moon.

Catalogue_Dec14See Mutle Mothibe’s full profile on Bozza Mobile. To download his poetry, SMS the keyword to 37616. Each poem costs R7.50.

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The Broken Men Spoken Word Project

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The Broken Men Spoken Word Project is an introspective analysis of the current state and role of the black man in South Africa today. Told through the words and voices of a special generation of young mzansi Spoken Word artists, this journey into “Man-hood” dissects various subjects, beliefs and behaviours associated with being a black man in a post-apartheid South Africa.

Using voice, music and visuals, Broken Men speak directly to the ‘human’ and the ‘human condition’ by unapologetically tearing through controversial themes including politics, love, economics, brotherhood, violence, sexuality, identity and family.

The Broken Men Spoken Word Project will roll out in various formats and stages including live performances, workshops, discussions and debates across South Africa.  The project will officially be launched on 13 and 14 December 2014 with Spoken Word performances in QwaQwa and Bloemfontein in partnership with Sicknatcha Poetry and The Archives Poetry.

Hosted by Afurakan, the productions will feature performances by Mutle Mothibe, Makhafula Vilakazi, Elysium Garcia and Xabiso Vili.

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#WNSAwards: What is a ‘Perfect Poem’ anayway?

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The category is inspired by Kojo Baffoe’s poem in which he is “on a quest to find the perfect poem, a gentle balance between word, rhythm and thought …a poem that sends the moon and sun dancing over the skyline hand in hand”.

It’s an opportunity for us to say big up to the poems that really moved us and really stood out this year. “The award is encouragement for poets to constantly improve their writing. There is no such thing as a truly perfect poem, but we must always be in pursuit of it and it is in that spirit that this category was introduced,” says Word N Sound CEO, Thabiso Afurakan Mohare.


You can now vote once every hour for the Perfect Poem Award.
Voting closes midday on Thursday 13 Nov.

Xabiso Vili – Gaza, A Love Story

Zewande Bhengu – CD4 Count

Masai Dabula – Do You Remember Me

Mandi Poefficient Vundla – Mother

Mandi Poefficient Vundla – Ode To Kwaito

Conelius Jones – Seven Moons

Modise Sekgothe – To Die Before You Die

Mutle Mothibe – Nuances of Apollo

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WNSAwards: “I’m hoping the poems changes people’s ideas HIV” – Zewande Bhengu

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1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
I wrote the poem after I had read a newspaper article a long time ago where the man was accused of “infecting” his wife with HIV but he was saying that she was cheating so he left.

The second part of the poem was a response to how people were addressing this conversation around HIV. It painted this picture that people who are HIV positive are weak and helpless and I was not in agreement having encountered people who were stable, strong willed, hard working despite their status.

2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
It would be making people a lot more aware and understanding of HIV.

3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
“To die before we die” – Modise Sekgothe

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem Category?
It fills me with shock and joy at the same time. I thought if I made into this category, it would another poem but it takes nothing away from my joy for it.

WNSAwards: “This list of perfect poems is intimidating.” – Xabiso Vili

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1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
“Gaza – A Love Story” was actually two separate poems, one about Gaza and a love story about a cold lover. I was lucky enough to spot a connection between the two. From that point it created itself and was able to tell a personal story with a wider, pertinent background and setting.

2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
I would hope it would personalise the struggles and pain of people we assume are not connected to us. Make people realise that just because someone isn’t in our vicinity that doesn’t make them far removed and their story can still be yours.

3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
Modise’s “Die Before You Die” and Mutle’s “Nuances of Apollo” have snuck in close to my heart. But the list of perfect poems is intimidating with how many amazing poems are on there.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem category?
Humbled, proud, excited, surprised, overwhelmed, ecstatic – and a range of other contradictory emotions. To see these poems you work so hard on walking out in the world and holding their own is an indescribable feeling.

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WNS Awards: “Africa artists are amazing man!” – Mutle Mothibe

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1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
“Nuances of Apollo” was inspired by artists and the struggles we go through when it comes to creating our works. It was also a celebration of our achievements. This poem was close to my heart because I had prepared it for my trip to the Apollo Theatre. So the concept was mostly centered on how dope South African poets are and how we can hold our own anywhere on the global stage.

2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
I’d like it to change our perception of ourselves as African artists. We are an amazing bunch of spoken words artists.

3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
Modise Sekgothe’s “To Die Before You Die”.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem category?
I feel honoured and really moved by the gesture.

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WNS Awards: “We are all angels…we’ve just let our wings drag in the mud.” – Modise Sekgothe

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1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
“To Die Before You Die” was inspired by the fundamental truth that the nature of human beings is essentially good, and pure, and that everything else in our behavior that is contrary to this fact is an expression of our struggle to somehow live up to our nature, some of us fail, some more than others, but we are still good…and beautiful and magical, it is intrinsic to being human. We’re just very troubled and we suffer and we react out of anger and resentment to the extreme challenges life throws at us. This however does not define us, perhaps only on a social/superficial level but not essentially.

The idea of dying before you die is a mystic notion that is against the belief that life is in its nature a tumultuous struggle and that purity, joy, clarity and light is only attained to after death. It instead points to the possibility of attaining that purity, joy, clarity and light while we are still alive, which is when it is most essential anyway.

When we know that we are good, we will strive to live that goodness, to die before we die. I make a lot of reference to angel mythology, angels are regarded as most pure and good, which is very lofty and removed from humanity, it is vital to bring the idea of purity back down here, to bring the angel back to earth in ourselves. We are all angels…we’ve just let our wings drag in the mud. So I’m just trying to drive that home; to myself and everyone willing to listen. We can fly man, life just gets a bit too heavy sometimes, especially when you’re on earth, gravity doesn’t make flying very easy. It’s easy for an angel to fly from way up there. It’s much harder for us, but we do it regardless, that why I say that humans are actually more magical.
The idea of angels is not a very literal one for me but it represents a very interesting dynamic and paradigm we have as humans. That God is up there and that the angels are up there, when all it’s all just inside.

2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
I’d be happy if it changed how we saw ourselves and others. We’re super awesome, all of us. We are way more powerful and divine than we think.

3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
I think “Mother” by Mandi Vundla is an obvious wonder. And the way it came to speak to her reality is very touching. May her mother rest in peace.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem Category?
I feel extremely honored. I do think it’s a well written and constructed poem, perhaps one of the most well put together in relation to my other works, which to me is reflective of my growth as a writer, so this nomination really acknowledges and confirms that for me. I’m very grateful and joyful, it was very fun to write, I really enjoyed the process, it was very adventurous and whenever I thought I was done it would just kept wanting to continue which is beautiful because the last parts are the ones that really speak to what the entire poem is about.

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WNS Awards: “Poetry is not a luxury” – Masai Dabula

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1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
Well, the say “a picture can tell a thousand words”. I tend to see words in images… The word “Remember” inspired the whole “Do You Remember Me” poem. I gather I used a basic creative writing method to allow the poem to be.

The poem is performance driven, it’s a monologue from one of my many alter-egos. And I’m pleased to say, I will be collaborating with a filmmaker to bring this poem to it’s full existence, and it should be out in the month of December.

2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
Poetry is not a luxury meant for a certain group of people, poetry is not mere entertainment concept. It’s an art form.

3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
In true sense, who ever wins is not winning for themselves but winning for the literature movement at hand.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem Category?
This means I can facilitate a workshop, for I now I have a working method to crafting a beautiful piece of work (poem). This means I can help harness skill, develop growth and instigate this type of literature to new heights.

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