Author Archives: thepoefficientone


Thando Buthelezi, reigning queen of the WordnSound mic


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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                                                          WordNSound presents the live literature company.
The Word N Sound Live Literature Company is spear headed by 12 arts entrepreneurs of which 9 are performance poets and 1 an Vocalist and actress. On Saturday October 4th from 16:00 – 19:00 WordNSound will feature a multimedia performance by these members of the Live Literature Company. These members balance the difficult task of being arts entrepreneurs and renowned performers. The 2 hour production features Afurakan, Mutle Mothibe, Andrew Manyika (Zimbabwe), Mandi Poefficient Vundla, Masai Dabula, Mutinta Bbenkele (Uganda), Xongani Maluleka, Bonga Ndziweni; Lwazi Mthembu, Mpho Khosi and hosted by literary critic and Poet Ayoba Vania. We chat to the members about their roles in the word n sound company.

Andrew Manyika
is an award winning poet and comedian who has performed in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has appeared at the Harare International Festival of the Arts 2014, TEDx Johannesburg 2013, Melville Poetry Festival and appeared twice on the first season of ZimComedyLive and performed Comedy at Oliver Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am Andrew Manyika. I’m Word N Sound’s Marketing Officer, host of the Word N Sound Awards (from Inception); MC of Word n Sounds Poetry Corner, sometime host of Word N Sound Series, Perfomance Poet in the Open Mic League, and generally involved with the Word N Sound Festival from it’s inception
  2. What department do you man?
    Marketing & Public Relations.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    My goal is to ultimately increase the visibility of poetry and performance poetry in Africa as a vehicle for communication. But in the short term- poetry on more platforms, poets in more spaces.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To Position Word N Sound as the go-to stable for performance poetry and our other various activities.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    Resources do not abound, and the one to which this most applies is time. This being the case, we have to work within the confines of the amount of time and money available, as most company members have other jobs that necessitate an “after-hours” approach to running the company. Given that Word N Sound is largely a digital brand, ease of access to the internet becomes of paramount importance for doing things as basic as show invites (which, on a smart-phone can be quite a task). With more money, we could have a full-time staff contingent and that should translate to more efficient work.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    With some difficulty. For instance, suppose there was a slam, and one had two weeks to prepare, but also there was a festival and one had to prepare a press release and interviews within three weeks, and those two overlapped. Something might have to give yeah? So those are the kinds of challenges one faces, the live shows are things one watches in retrospect because in real-time one has administrative aspects of the show that need taking care of. The rewards are of course that you get to be part of a vision that can change part of the world. How many people can say that?

Widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering artists of the current generation of South African spoken word, Mutle is a founding member of the group Inaudible which released the acclaimed album “Definition”; as well as Brake Seshions which produced the play “Estar”. In his own right, this multi-faceted author has released the album “In_Sense” and has performed on most major poetry stages in South Africa and has performed in Cardiff, Scotland.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutle Mothibe. Spoken word artist and also the International Relations manager of Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am The International Relations Manager
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    Make sure we have better relations with more artists internationally. Make sure international powerhouses and poetry movements know of our company and refer to us as the first landing spot when it comes to collaborating and also hosting us when we tour in their area.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To make sure we are the first reference spot when international artists come to our country
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I have noted that much as its not my department we need to get more conceptual videos and better quality vids on the net so international houses see the calibre of work we produce. This will give us a better standing when it comes to the view. Will collaborate with multimedia department and make sure this look is accomplished. Get more intel on international festivals so we can be on the A list of most of their rosters.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I dedicate one day of my week to admin… other days are then dedicated to my craft and all my other responsibilities

Bonga Ndziweni
was born in the Eastern Cape, like all the other kids he wanted to be a doctor or a teacher and at the time had no idea that poetry even existed. In 2001 he moved to Jo’burg but it would only be around 2005/6 that he was introduced to poetry and like the perfect love Story they’ve been together since.
An artist and optimist Bonga’s poetry is often a parody of itself, depicting depth as comical ‘shallowness’. He has been performing for 3 years now, won slams and has performed around S.A.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Bonga a writer and performance poet, I am also one of the people responsible for bringing WnS followers to the dopest shows ever.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the Shelela Boys Tuck shop, occasional PC host, and Future brand manager… watch this space.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To set-out a clear and unmistakable brand presence, establishing WnS as the premium go-to poetry brand.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To grow into a brand that can attract funding, inspire collaborations and be a top of the mind brand when it comes to poetry in South Africa.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We need a brand strategy session – to outline brand ambitions and objectives.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Making time for everything is a little bit tricky, but has I grow into the various roles, I think it will become a lot easier to find the balance needed.

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 the Managing Director and co-founder of The Word N Sound Live Literature Company.She has worked as City Press’ Web Editor and Multimedia Editor. She 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. 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.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Qhakaza Mbali Mthmbu. I am the co-founder of Word N Sound and the Managing Director.
  2. What department do you man?
    As Managing Director I over see all departments, working closely with the dept heads. I also manage the blog and all of WNS’ digital properties; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud and Instagram. Thabiso and I also head up the vision and strategy for the ever-growing company?
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    Wow! My biggest goal which I hope to make real progress in is getting more young poets to to start publishing their own books. We are launching the digital store in November so this next year is the true test of how commercially viable poetry is. I also really really want us to own our own venue. I’m tired of being at the mercy of venue owners who do not respect us as business people and have no understanding of our craft.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?Word N Sound digital footprint has been expanding in an amazing way. Now the challenge is to create more in depth and regular content around the work we do and the amazing poets that grace our stages. I would love to see our Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog stats rising, this is already happening so I’m glad.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?Our biggest challenge at the moment is time. With our team holding down day jobs or free-lancing we can not invest the necessary time to creating compelling content. We also need to train new members on digital journalism which in itself is an ever changing industry.We are working hard at getting funding to allow more time to be freed up in order for us to do all the things we have wanted to do. With training, it’s a learn on the job kind of set up. The more we do, the more we learn.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of having a 9-5, being the WNS MD and being an active member of the WNS team?Balancing a very demanding and challenging 9 to 5 with being MD of a dynamic and growing company is very difficult. To be honest, some times I really don’t cope. after a long day at the office the last thing I want to do is continue working, but it has to be done. I have a great team so work is easily shared among us and when you understand the goal and the grand vision, it keeps you motivated to keep pushing. It’s not easy but the reality is that it has to be done in order for us to help build careers for the next generations of writers and performers so that they don’t have to juggle a ‘real job’ and their passion.But another reality is that it’s important for artists and creatives to know how to juggle admin and their craft. We need to take full ownership of our work and stop relying on 3rd parties who might not have our best interests at heart.

Xongani Maluleka
, aka Claudia Mac, is a writer, poet and performer from Soweto, Braamfischer. The 22 year old only started performing when she got to varsity as it allowed more leverage for diverse styles of the spoken word. The Fore.Word Poetry society at the University of Johannesburg was the first platform that opened doors to many stages.

Claudia Mac is known for her controversial take on social matters, challenging and questioning the norms, breaking boundaries to create new ones. These have made her style of writing unique thus securing her own signature.

She has performed at multiple open mic sessions where she learnt how to familiarise herself with the audience and stage. The shows that sit close to her heart are her first showcase at the Next Generation: Let’s Talk Homosexuality, where she stood as an LGBTI ally because these are issues that are sensitive and should be acknowledged. She was even coined ‘the gay poet’.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Xongani Maluleka, I am a poet and also the He.d of Production manager for Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the Head of Production manager for the WNS.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    I would like to foresee growth and fluidity in the execution of our shows. Creating more shows across the country so poets in areas outside Johannesburg can be afforded the same opportunities as those who have access to it. I would also like the WNS to form part of the arts and culture department in South Africa in a more critical manner.
    I would like to be more involved in my department, growing and making sure that I become fully skilled in order to handle bigger projects with ease, therefore I will be able to contribute and manage our projects and be a profitable asset to the company.
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I will admit I am not the earliest bird of the bunch, and working together with other departments, time is valuable, and I tend to lose track of time, thus my way of overcoming this challenge is to work on my punctuality. Other challenges that come with being the Head of Production manager is having to work under pressure and still maintaining calmness at the same time, I believe in time I will grow even more acquainted to these.
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team
    When one does what they love, it will never feel like some form of responsibility but it forms part of your nature. All I do is with love, I am passionate about the arts and I enjoy it. I am proud to be part of this movement because I do believe that we are on the verge of transforming the country’s ideology of art, specifically poetry.

A truth telling. Soul searching. Love bearing Azanian royal, otherwise known as ‘Lwazilubanzi Mthembu’. She is a singer-songwriter, an actress, a director and arts entrepreneur.  She fell in love with music and theatre from earlier than she can remember, attended the University of the Witwatersrand studying a BADA to go be a big balling, famous, life changing superstar and has since found out the truth about the rise to stardom and influence.

She believes in telling stories that are riddled with truth and is not afraid to talk about ‘the dark and twisties’ that we often think we should hide. She has taken her stories around the country, performed on various stages from Wits, Joburg Theatre, Lyric theatre, the Swaziland Bushfire festival, to opening for Mos. Def on skyroom live, performing at the album listening session of Nothende’s.

She is a also one of the 13 dynamic arts entrepreneurs that make up the Word n sound Live. Literature company. She plays the role of the Live music manager and stage manager for all the shows.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am an actress, musician, and director. I head the live music department and also the poeticals. I am the stage manager at all the major festivals and an all round poetry and live music lover.
  2. What department do you man?
    Live music and Poeticals
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    We aim to reignite the flame that is live music in Johannesburg. We would love to be the company that holds monthly events where people are guaranteed a new, emerging band with great sound and quality of work. We aim to be the best place for strong emerging bands to come to showcase their work and build relationships with other young artists.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    I would like us to spearhead the revival of live music in Johannesburg, allow artists to make connects and grow the connections we have on our database. Someday, we can run world renowned concerts with all the artists we have been building relationships with.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We acknowledge the hardwork and time that the artists put into a performance and would like to pay them for their efforts. As bands could be anything from 2 to 13 members this is not always possible. We are trying to ensure that shows pay the bands so marketing becomes crucial on both our side and for the artist themselves.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Only the Lord knows. Passion can sometimes stretch 24hours to house all your ambition …
    sometimes it doesn’t though 😦

Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele
, known to the stage as The Duchess, is a young performance poet with a deep love for poetry, literature and dance. Her subject matter is based on an array of topics that resonate true to anyone willing to be moved. Most of her subject matter is inspired by the quote “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” By Maya Angelou.
Mutinta has headed the University of Johannesburg’s poetry society for two years. She managed to scoop up an award for Best Chairperson of the year in 2013 amongst her many other achievements academically. Only introduced to the stage in 2010, Mutinta’s performances remain flexible to different occasions. Mutinta has been described as a conummate performer and prides herself in her story-telling style of poetry. Having performed at corporate functions, weddings and poetry shows, The Duchess is a performer you shouldn’t take lightly.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele and I am the Head of Admin at this here company, WordnSound
  2. What department do you man?
    My department mans every detail concerning accommodation, catering and finances within the company. I am basically the go to person for most information
  3. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I think my department is the simplest to man because there is a set standard frame work to what should be happening and i ensure that happens
  4. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I am not sure as yet. It’s easy because i am doing what i enjoy, when anything satisfies an internal aspect of you, tasks are not tedious.  It does tire you out eventually but there isn’t much beyond time management.

Mpho Khosi
was born in 1982 in Orlando East, Soweto, Mpho Khosi draws his inspiration from his surroundings and the blues. He was introduced to poetry in grade 4. He was initially just a writer and started performing in 2011. He has performed on various stages including WORDnSOUND, House of Hunger, and Likwid Tongue. He self-published two anthologies: Portraits of Propaganda (2006) is a co-publication with visual artist Frank Manakane; Quietly Loud (2012) describes his work and growth and himself. Mpho considers himself more of a storyteller than a poet and his work echoes his own inner voice.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    I am Mpho Khosi, a poet, father to two wonderful children; Zolile and Kamo. I am part of the WNS team as the operations director, i also co-run the Shelela Boys shop at our monthly shows.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the overall behind the curtain part of WNS, making sure that all our affairs are in order business wise.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    In the next 12 months I am looking to have the department able to run on its own, and have secured funding for the company while all the paperwork that means we remain a company are all sorted.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    The vision is to build more of a business mindedness when it comes to administrating and running poetry. My department should look at ensuring that we are able to approach anyone and say we are legally complaint to receive funding and or sponsorship.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The current challenges start with me not having enough time to dedicate to the department and WNS as a whole; in short, I need to quit my current job to focus on what I am passionate about.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I’m honestly still struggling with balancing the responsibilities more so that I have a 9-5 and fatherhood. But it is a daily challenge that I aim to win soon.

Rhawell Mthiyane
was born in 1977, in Soweto. He was a part time student at Fuba and Sara.
where he studied music and Sound engineering. He was the engineer for the late Moses Khumalo.
and has worked with the band called Kutu, HHP, Thandiswa Mazwai and Mzwakhe Mbuli. Rhawell
also worked with Bra Hugh on his theatre production called Songs of immigrations.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Brian Rhawell. I am head of technical at WordNSound
  2. What department do you man?
    The technical department
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    It’s to see the technical part WordNSound Grow towards owning equipment.
    To have more people on the technical team
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The hiring of equipment is a major challenge. I would like us to own our equipment.I am comparing the industry rates for hiring equipment to avoid overspending.If we could secure a budget by raising funds through hiring out the equipment we already have and to utilize those funds to purchase more equipment for WNS
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a technical manager, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    By dedicating more of my time to the company

Mandi Poefficient Vundla is a writer and spoken word ambassador who was born in Soweto, Johannesburg.Vundla made her debut in the world of competitive poetry in 2011. Since then, she has appeared at different events on various stages, she’s opened the stage for Tedx Johannesburg,co-hosted Tedx Soweto,performed at Poetry Africa.She’s also performed at Action aid’s 5 year country strategy launch, KPMG womens breakfast and the Gahamstown festival and Arts Alive.Vundla co-wrote and featured in the Banyana Banyana theme track, featured in True Love’s September edition, where she dedicated a poem to South Africa for Heritage month. Dubbed Queen of the Word N Sound Mic 2012 in Johannesburg’s prestigious Slam, Vundla went on to win the Poet of the Year award then ended off the year 2013 by breaking her own record and making history by defending her @WordnSound queen of the mic title.She is officially queen of the The word n Sound mic 2012+2013

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am part of the digital content production team at WNS and I also provide content
    for our digital platforms
  2. What department do you man?
    Digital content production
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To develop a stringent content calendar plan for #WNS every 3months
    and to abide by it.
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To stream all our shows online.
    To dedicate 30 min of our WNS series show to a live cross over, so we are able to interact
    with other poetry shows internationally in real-time. This will strengthen our global presence and open us up to international opportunities
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I am sometimes a slow paced worker and given my schedule as a freelancer, it becomes challenging to complete articles on time.The calendar would curb this challenge as I would ensure that we work ahead. When my finances are low, purchasing data bundles become troublesome.

is the Co-founder of Word N Souns, Arts Entrepreneur, Award-winning Poet and Copywriter, Afurakan has a career that spans 11 years in the Johannesburg poetry scene and has steadily risen to the upper-echelons thereof. He was the official poet for AFCON 2013, and part of the Olympics Artists Delegation for 2012.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Thabiso Mohare. CEO of the WordNSound Company. I am responsible for outsourcing funds for
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the CEO and overseer of the WNS company.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    -To launch the WNS digital store
    – To launch poetic act and to start working on an arts resource center
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    To have the company full resourced and in a position to pay salaries
    To grow the companies footprint globally
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    -I am faced with financial challenges and finding the appropriate project partners to collaborate with
    -Managing a crew of 12 individuals, aligning all the stakeholders interest
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, CEO and active member of the WNS team?
    I wake up at 3:00am everyday to begin my work.

Free workshops at the #WNSFest


Join us for  our annual #WNSFest workshops at the Soweto Theatre on Friday 3 Oct.

On Friday October 3rd Word n Sound kicks off its international Festival
with an open invite to a full day workshop at the Soweto Theater, from
10:00am – 16:00 pm.

The Workshops will cover 3 themes affecting poetry today
– Afrika Unpublished
– Branding Spoken Word
– Using Literature as a social voice

Each theme will be facilitated by literature practitioners and poets who have been influential
in their contribution towards Spoken Word, locally and internationally.

SESSION 1: Afrika Unpublished

Afrika Unpublished will include an overview on Afrikan Publishing, detailing the Past, Present  and the future.
It will also tackle the pros and cons of independent publishing.

About the Facilitators:
Xaba joined the RESON project on a Writing Fellowship collaborating on a book with Prof. Laetitia Rispel. The working title of the book is: Igniting dreams, confronting realities: a history of nursing in South Africa, 1960 until 2010. She has experience as a Programme Executive at Atlantic Philanthropies where she was responsible for a multimillion rand nursing programme supporting many tertiary institutions and organisations in South Africa. Before that she set up the Ipas South Africa office as its first Country Director and led the support of the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. Before that she worked at Women’s Health Project in health systems research, policy and advocacy and was a Deputy Director for Training and Capacity Building. Initially trained as a nurse and midwife she more recently did a Master in Creative Writing and has published poetry, personal essays, creative non-fiction, short stories, profiles and is working a biography project.

Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso is the founder of Poetry Potion, an online poetry journal, in 2007. This is a free platform for all poets and poetry lovers to share in the best of world poetry with the focus being South Africa. In 2013, Poetry Potion went into print. Now we have the print quarterly so we can bring some of favourite poets and poems to you in print. In 2011 she founded Black Letter Media, a full service print and digital publishing and bookselling company. Black Letter Media focusses on publishing new African storytellers who have a unique, powerful and alternative vision of Africa. Readers can enjoy beautifully designed books in print or as ebooks.

SESSION 2: Branding Spoken Word

Branding Spoken Word
The Branding spoken word session will address branding from an organizational and digital perspective


Adrian van Wyk |Slipnet | Stellenbosch
Qhakaza Mthembu |The Word N Sound Live Literature Company | Johannesburg
T.J Dema | Sauti Arts | Botswana

About the Facilitators:

Adrian van Wyk is a writer and performer from Kuilsrivier, Cape Town. He has been a regular performer on various spoken word and hip hop platforms in the Cape since 2005. In 2006 at the age of 17 he became the youngest poet to win the Verses Poetry Slam. As the monthly host and organiser of the InZync Poetry Sessions and events organiser for the Stellenbosch Literary Project, Different is at the forefront of urban literary culture in Stellenbosch, helping to build a much-needed platform in the Cape Winelands region. He also acts as a monthly facilitator for the InZync Poetry workshops, focused on helping school children between the ages of 16 and 18 years to become poets and tell their story.

TJ Dema is a poet who favours reading her work out loud and has done so in countries including but not limited to Germany, Zimbabwe, India, USA, Scotland and France. She participated in Lancaster University’s Crossing Borders program and later mentored the all female team of national champions for the British Council’s 7 country Power in the Voice initiative.
She is an honorary fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2012), former chairperson of the Writers Association of Botswana and runs Sauti A&PM – a Botswana based arts administration organization.

For her work within Botswana’s literary community she was named an Arise Magazine African Changemaker (2013) and a St Louis Top 40 under 40 catalyst (2014). Her chapbook Mandible (2014) was published by Slapering Hol Press for the African Poetry Book Fund as part of the Seven New Generation African Poets box set.

Qhakaza 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 the Managing Director and co-founder of The Word N Sound Live Literature Company. She has worked as City Press’ Web Editor and Multimedia Editor. She 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.

SESSION 3: Using Literature as a social voice

Using literature as a social voice
This session will highlight the importance of using poetry as a social voice.
We will delve into the subject of poetry being utilized as a form of activism

Dean Atta is a writer and performance poet. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Atta won the 2012 London Poetry Award and was named as one of the most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday Pink List 2012. An ambassador for the Spirit of London Awards, he lives in London and teaches writing workshops across the UK.

Koleka Putuma

Performance Poet Koleka Putuma is based in Cape Town and currently pursuing a degree in Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town. She is a performer and theatre maker in training. She also shares her craft facilitating and hosting writing and dialogue workshops at schools, community projects and interfaith programs in and around Cape Town.

She has headlined at SliPnet’s Inzync Poetry Sessions, JamThatSession and at Off The Wall. She is a resident poet of the collective Lingua Franca. In 2012 she took second place in the Cape Town leg of the Drama for Life Lover + Another National Performance Poetry Slam Competition and represented the city at the national finals. Her work has travelled to Scotland and New York.

Between drama school rehearsals and writing she manages to smuggle in some sleep, and spend quality time with loved ones. Putuma is also South Africa’s 1st National Slam Champ



10:00 – 10:30 – Registration
10:30 – 12:00 – Afrika Unpublished
12:00 – 12:30 – Break
12:30 – 14:00 – Branding Spoken Word
14:00 – 14:30 – Break
14:30 – 16:00 – Using Literature as a social voice

To join us for a FREE full day workshop. Please RSVP with your name to
Please states which session you wish to attend.

Poet Thuli Zuma to debut on the WordnSound Series Stage..

We get into the heart and mind of Thuli Zuma, “a full time human being who comes from love.” The South African poet says she only discovered a poetry community in New York.

1.Please define Thuli Zuma for us, who is she and where does she come from?
A full time human being. I come from Love.
2.We were introduced to your amazing work through U.S digital platforms like the Bowery Club, Button Poetry and Speakeasynyc YouTube channels,did you have any relationship with the South African poetry circuit prior to this? No, I didn’t. I’ve always written poetry, for myself but New York was the first place I discovered a poetry scene/community I didn’t really know things like that existed. It was the first time I started sharing my work on stage.

3.You were based in the U.S for some time, what challenges did you face when trying to connect with the
South African poetry community when you came back ?
My biggest challenge was just trying to find out what was happening and where.4.You coordinated a women’s festival at the play house, how did this event pan out?

Yes, I curated the poetry session at this years South African Women’s Art Festival, it went down this past Tuesday-26
August. It was a wonderful night of poetry and music. We had the first ever slam at this event which was a lot of fun and a big success as well as fantastic musical guests such as: Khanyo and the band, Nu Savoy and a stellar open mic, to top it all off.

5.A little birdy whispered that you declined the invitation to slam on the WnS platform. As a poet, with a heavy
slam background; who had taken part in the Women of the World poetry slam in Minneapolis, what were your reasons for refusing the invite?
The birds I’m afraid are not always correctly informed, I was invited to slam on the WnS platform, which was an invitation I was chuffed to receive and accepted excitedly. Unfortunately with WnS Slam happening only once a month the window of being able to make it is narrower than if you were attending a weekly slam and to my disappointment the 4  Saturdays since I was invited have found me out of town, travelling for work and family engagements. I have not declined the invitation   and I look forward to being able to take part in the WnS Slam one of these good days.

6.What inspires your content for poems?

  A shorter list would be what doesn’t? Life does, the world, people, this human experience we’re all trying to figure out.

“The 1st time my mother told me she loved me i cried, a child should not remember the 1st time these words are spoken. I was 12,” is an excerpt from ‘One’. Speak to us about the effect of the added emotional deficit which the black child faces when being raised by a single black woman. 

I don’t believe the black child has an added emotional deficit as a result of being raised by a single mother. In my mind the  one does not necessarily follow the other. Certainly I don’t believe I do. 12 years old is the first time I remember those words being spoken between my mother and I, but it was an expression of a fact I had known my whole life to be true. I had and have never at any point doubted the love of my mother, I’ve always known it even when it was not spoken aloud in those 3 words. And yes, my mother was unmarried for a portion of my upbringing but I wasn’t raised by
a single black woman,I was raised by many and by black men too.

8.If you had to dedicate a poem to the leadership of this country, what issues would you address?
It would be a poem of praise and thanks. I often sit quite literally dumbfounded at all that was done and all that was sacrificed in order that we could be free, that South Africa might belong to all who live in her. Now, I am fully aware that we are not where we want to be, that we are not where we need to be, but I thank God and the countless men, women who worked and work tirelessly, that we are not where we used to be.

9.What do you think the role of poetry is in our decaying society?
Poetry has the power to transform, not just the individual but the collective, it shines a light on what is and it also points the   way to what could be. It records our history and seeks to usher in a better future. It unpacks and processes the world around us and our place in it. I think this is the role of poetry in our society, which has many ills and faults, but is not decaying. It has much virtue still.

10.If you had to organize a poetry event that best describes the teething Democratic Republic of South Africa 20 years post liberation, who would be on the line up and why?
I would call for submissions and open the platform to local unknown poets, my line up would consist of South African poets, those celebrated and unknown who wanted to stand up and share their art, their words and why not, that is the bases on which our Country’s democracy is built, let the people speak.

11.This will be your first time showcasing on the #WordnSound series platform, what do you have in store for us?
Poems, poems, poems! I put my heart into my work, so that’s what I have in store.


“Poetry in the air was an awesome experience.” – Quaz


We caught up with Quaz Roodt after his Poetry In The Air showcase.

Poet MC, creative writing facilitator, poetry events organizer and father to Malik, Richard Quaz Roodt has managed to reinvent himself time and time again. Notorious for his ability to write short impactful poems, this member of the Likwid Tongue Collective shared a piece of his writing expertise with the SAfm family in the first week of the Poetry In The Air Radio Series. Hosted by Myesha Jenkins, the woman with a voice for radio.

Myesha Jenkins asks: “As somebody who does hip hop and spoken word poetry which usually entails longer poems, how is it that are you’re able to write short poems of this nature?”

Quaz explains that he encountered a moment where he was analyzing his work and he was trying to figure out what it is that he was trying to say. “A lot of it was hidden in ego and verbosity and trying to show people how smart I am as opposed to telling them how I feel or how I experienced life,” he says.

“A lot of the hip hop stuff is very ego driven. Hip Hop is the only art form that encourages you not to be wack, so from that ego driven type of writing i wanted to come back to understanding myself and to use my writing as a tool to find myself, which was a personal journey. That was a conscious deliberate thing that i did. To sit back and rethink how i want to give myself to the world and how i want to give the world to the world as i perceive and understand it”

 Poetry in the air was really awesome.” Myesha is such a beautiful, gentle soul, she really cares about the art form. I love being able to share my work and thoughts on any platform, especially national radio. I’m happy that poetry is getting the type of exposure it is receiving. Coupled with the amazing and consistent work done by organizations such as WNS we can only do better and even greater with time. And yes yes yes!!! There is room for poetry on mainstream media

POET OF THE WEEK- Koleka Putuma is on a winning streak!!

Writer Kgothatso Maditse get’s into the mind of this rising star to find out more about her journey as a poet on a winning streak..

 “Ashes are unofficial metaphors for black sons”

“Ashes are unofficial metaphors for black sons”

Who is Koleka?

I’m a final year student at UCT studying Theatre and performance. A lover of words, an awkward quiet being, one of 8 kids

Where did this all begin? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off for 6 years, but seriously for 4. It started in Grade 9, we had to write a poem about HIV and Aids, unprotected sex for LO. So yea if it wasn’t for that……

What inspires you?

Personal experiences, pressing issues in society

What do you want to be remembered for?

The effort and time I put in crafting my writing. Eventually, and I do hope to get to this point, where the title’s not something that goes before me, but rather that the work is what goes before me.

Which poets do you look up to and what do you like about them?

Zora Howard, Nayyira Waheed, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Te’v Smith and Joburg based poet Mandi Vundla, among others. Their work jolts and twists and rearranges the way I once thought of things. And I dig writing that has the ability to do that to my perspective

You said you had told someone you wanted to be on the Word N Sound stage. Why Word N Sound?

They are doing really dope, amazing things, and whenever there is something that dope, you want to be part of them moving forward in a positive way

You’re the first National Slam Champion. How does that feel, and what do you think it can open up for you?
She came out victorious
It feels amazing and affirming, and right now it’s drawing a lot of attention too. People didn’t know who i was before the thing. I think more people know my work. Not my work, but me. They cannot be acquainted with my work

If you could fix one thing about the poetry/spoken word society/environment, what would it be?

Perhaps not fix, but just draw attention to. The business aspect of the society/environment needs constant evaluation, respect and attention

What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I’m a passionate being. I’m a really passionate being. About everything

What is one thing most misunderstood about you?

That i’m sociable. People don’t know! I’m awkward and that’s awkward.

Your future in terms of poetry, where are you going? What can we look forward to from you next?

I want to travel some more. I want to publish, hopefully. But I’m not rushing anything. I’ll take it as it comes. Stay glued to my blog I’d say:

We wish you everything of the best on your journey

Khadija Tracey heeger opens POETRY IN THE AIR

 “We hold a mirror and it’s everyone’s face there.” K.Heeger

For those who missed out on the 1st installation of the 3rd season of poetry in the air.
Kadhija Tracey Heeger opened what will be the first of many interviews with Myesha Jenkins on SAfm, every week from 11:45 to 12:00

She shares her experience with us and explains why she believes there is room for poetry on main stream media.

“I love the feel of the show” she says. There is a beautiful intimacy and Myesha’s voice creates this. I felt like I was having tea with a friend somewhere in a garden. And yes, there is absolutely a place for poetry in mainstream media. Many people are discovering their voices, not all of this translates into poetry, yet those of us who use poetry to express, we know how important it is to say these things. It has been proven that people are hungry to hear these stories. Stories that often connect deeply to their lives, like an echo of self, a reflection of us out there in someone else. It’s a human connection. And even though the poet may write about his/her own experience, we hold a mirror and it’s everyone’s face there. We all need witness to our lives, poets make that possible. Artists make that possible.

If you enjoyed the poems she read on air, you’re in luck as we have all 3 of them for you.

 1. Aunty Beaty (for Beatrice Heeger my father’s sister) 

I knew here once.

She walked like polyester against stocking and smelled of geraniums.

My aunty Beaty.

She always over cooked the rice.

Her house had the melancholy light of long forgotten happy things.

It struck me that she found herself a memory too soon.

And being a memory one begins to mimic an almost life.

At 6 I feared that house.

And she scared me as the prematurely dead do.

I was after all too early for the experience of dead things.

Once I heard her cackle frigid as a dry bone.

It was the kind of sound that prised itself into one’s personal Pandora’s box.

Everyone has a box like that in a house like this. (gesture to body)

At 48, I journey into her house again.

I start at the beginning?

I come to her differently.

Uncovering her beauty.

Her garden overrun with tangled roots and tree-arms.

Behind a rotting wall in From Road Wynberg.

The Khoi pond and my grandfather Nunkie hammering something or other

in the outer room leading off the stoep.

At 48 how bad can she be.

At 48 I enter her space.

Sense her flesh, her warm, her cold.

Her frailty and towering enormity.

Woman alone.

Loveless bed. 

This thing we call memory is frail at best

Wild and accusatory when we are young

Memory builds its house so differently

One never knows where you’ll find the windows or the doors

The roofs or the floors.

At 48 aunty Beaty.

Has become someone.

I can love.

2. Sister (for Loretta Thomas nee Heeger)

In Denovo the Plum trees stand at the edge of the front garden

almost equi-distant on either side between the other two fruit trees.

The white daisies in the field frolick in the breeze and you teach me how to make daisy chains

beyond the barbed-wire border and the alcoholic’s home

and next door the old age home where mommy works.

Every Friday they collect the balie from the outside toilet

The smell of wood, newspaper and poop permeates the air in that little space in our yard

Vineyards line the fence across from the sunflower in the back

I live here.

A nappy dangling from my bottom.

Sunglasses to big for my face

and arms to short to fold across my chest

You keep this photograph.

You keep many.

You love to document.

I page through albums find bits of hair, a tooth.

The family archivist I call you.

At night when I take baths.

I scream – afraid of the water.

You take me, still dressed in my vest and panties on your lap in the water

and ladle water on me slowly with your cupped hand.

God only knows what the water has to say.

But you take the fear away

We take up adventures between daisy fields, vineyards.

Snakes sunbathing scales in the sun till dusk

and bustling birds laying eggs in tree nests.

I love the open space.

The dogs and cats, Gigi, Mo and His Nibs.

Those tadpoles with their magic,

how they startle me the first time they grow legs – as if by magic.

Nature is an icky, weird, magical mistress.

You teach me this too.

Your heart pumping motherhood at 19.

I remember.

The sharp smell of rain on dirt road

and how my sister grew me the magic with her stories and her games.

And how she fastened me inside with her love

And I rode the unicorn of life.

To beyond what eyes could see.

3. I come from

I come from Caledon dust

Where my mother grew her bones to fit under my father’s arm

I come from crooked fig trees in my grandmother’s backyard alive with the procreation of bees

I come from loose tongues women who speak their minds

And drink beer with men under Oak trees on a Saturday afternoon in Wynberg

Where the politics of what was proper fell short of the doorstep

Here at the hearth of a coal stove boiling water for baths in a steel tub

Made for 5 women and their children

And from there where a woman took me slimy into her midwife arms

And called me daughter with her whole heart

I come from a man who used his hands and spirit to make my life safe

Driving Cape City Council trucks for something that could not be called

Making a living

I come from biology, mythology, adoption, community

From unnatural catholic beliefs, masturbation is a sin

To rape and overriding carnal pleasures deceptively

Disguised as love

I come from pain masked by alcohol and amphetamines

Imperfections that called me a whore at 14

A pregnant teen at 15

A dead mother at 19

Two marriages, two divorces

And four children, Bjorn, Nicole, Alfred and Wayne

I come from ‘I think nothing of myself’

To nights when suicide was a pure option

And poetry was for dark thoughts

A place where forgiveness did not pause

I know what alone is

When my neighbours the Furlongs were the only people who had food to give

I come from passion and power

Marigolds, Dahlias, Frangipani

Starlings in our roof

I come from a complex identity that cannot be fashioned around colour,

Religion, gender, sexual orientation and conventional notions of family

I am the offspring of Harry die Strandloper, Krotoa, Ansela van de Caeb, Van Bengal, van Riebeeck the barbarian and many more

I come places I have not been and people I have not seen

I am the parchment of a history that is never spoken

Sitting behind museum curtains

Entrusted to tour guides whose tongues speak benign slavery

In the ledger of time nothing adds up

For what happened in the lodge, Prestwich place

Gallows hill, Greenmarket and Church square

On tortured pages of history

Is never really written in their tongues


Their voices catch in a spirit gag

And the sperm of centuries ago walk on streets of denial

In European cities that I need a passport for

And in unsaid celebrations of black mothers and fathers

Until we speak

Until we speak

Until we speak

Our unanswered questions cancer our children

Horror and anger unspoken is a ghost with a grudge

My love makes me speak

I come from this.

Interact with Kadhija Tracy Heeger

Kadhija Tracy Heeger 



For bookings email:

MYESHA JENKINS has the soul for poetry…


Hi Mandi: Just found out that we have more days for the poetry show on SAfm. Would you be willing to do it?” Myesha Jenkins

When I read this message in my Facebook inbox, I had to take a moment just to breathe a little. Feminist, immigrant and activist, Myesha is no stranger to the poetry community, the contribution that she has made goes far beyond that of just being a poet. We chat to her about the role she continues to play in our industry, and we find out how she managed to get poetry on TALK RADIO.

“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and i could think on my feet to come up with the right idea” Jenkins

1. Safm is one of South Africa’s leading talk radio stations, how did you manage to convince them that poetry on the airwaves is a good investment?

I’m sure you’ll think I’m lying because the story is so magical it just doesn’t seem like it could possibly be true. The preface is that it was the Year of the Dragon, known for things getting whipped around by that powerful tail, turning things upside down, profoundly changing reality.

I had been out of the scene for a couple of years and had lost many contacts. It was 2011 and I was coming to grips with losing my vision in one eye but at the same not wanting to hide away. I had produced a new poetry collection, had launched it at Poetry Africa and needed to break back into the Joburg scene. I had a friend who was in production at SAfm, so I called Geoffrey Matenji to see if we could meet. My goal for the meeting was to get some suggestions of shows I could approach to do interviews to push my book.

When I got there, he had arranged for the Community Liaison to meet with us, which I thought a little strange. So we did a little chit chat about poetry, my collection, the work I was doing with Jozi House of Poetry and then she said, “So how can SAfm help your organisation?”

I went blank. I hadn’t come there with Jozi House of Poetry in mind so I had to think …. Real quickly. Maybe they’d like to sponsor our monthly sessions. Maybe they’d like to fund a book of our regulars. Maybe they’d like to record some of our sessions. I was literally pulling ideas from the air, ideas that could build Jozi House of Poetry.

“Yes”, she said, “lets explore that idea a bit.” So I described our sessions, the diversity, the mixture of page and stage poets, the goal of promoting poetry to a community whose reference was Daffodils and Clouds. She liked the idea of recording poetry sessions. “Lets get Julia from Drama to come down.”

As we waited for Julia-Ann Malone, Geoffrey and I did a full on pitch for my personal legitimacy and longevity in the poetry scene. They had to know I wasn’t a fly-by-night character and that Jozi House of Poetry was a credible community based institution. I gave her my book but then after all that hoorah, i humiliated myself by not even having a pen to sign it with. (I’d cleaned my purse that morning and forgotten to put the pens and notebook back in.)

Luckily Julia-Ann arrived at that point. We talked further about recording Jozi House of Poetry sessions, refining details. She had experience, recording poets in the 80s and knew that the producer of those shows was still around. They had some space in the audio drama schedule during August, so it made sense to try and create something for that time to focus on women.

I jotted down some of these ideas (yes, I had to borrow a piece of paper too) and we exchanged email addresses. I promised to write up the notes from the meeting and Julia promised to check if the producer was available. That was it.

I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and i could think on my feet to come up with the right idea. SAfm wasn’t committed to poetry, they had no idea of its popularity and of the scope of contemporary writing but they liked how I presented myself and they were looking for something new.

They were clear, there was no money for this and I willingly accepted that because I was thrilled at the national exposure we could get for poetry.

Of course I went home and wrote up the notes, then shared them with Phillippa Yaa DeVillliers and we refined the notes into a proper proposal that was submitted and approved. Phillippa came up with the name.

When the MOU came it was clear that SAfm was not really engaged with the concept as we were limited from using the material in anyway and SAfm retained all rights. But still, we knew the value of such a show, even if they didn’t.
That’s how Poetry in the Air came into being.

What inspired Poetry in the air?

You can see there wasn’t much thought that went into creating the show. Nevertheless, Jozi House of Poetry had been operating for a number of years and by 2011 was in a second incarnation. Its explicit purpose was to provide a platform for poetry, particularly to create a safe space for women writers who didn’t always get much attention in the male dominated world of spoken word. We also wanted to encourage writing, reading and developing the skills of written poetry. We also placed a value on authenticity and poetry that spoke of personal truths and emotion.

The inspiration for Poetry in the Air then, was to expose the nation to that ethos, to promote the work of primarily black women writers. The added kick to the show would be that women would be reading their own work and responding to questions about it, so listeners could hear the writers’ intention, intonation and her personal voice.

Myesh Jenkins-The Atrium, Women's Gaol, Constitution Hill.

Myesh Jenkins-The Atrium, Women’s Gaol, Constitution Hill.

3. How did poets adjust to the dynamics of performing poetry for radio as opposed to being on the stage?

Radio is very different from stage performances and some people battled. Poems had to be shortish (the ear gets tired easily), they had to have different rhythms and themes. One could over emote but the work had to convey emotion. Imagine, two people sitting across a small table from each other with a huge microphone dangling between them, only able to speak when the red light came on. No props. Some found that terribly intimidating. As well, some were uncomfortable with the editing process and that someone was going to maybe cut out some of their words or change the order of the interview.

In addition, poets were asked to suggest music that would be used in the show, music that reflected them and the material. After editing, the music was added to the introduction and it served as a link throughout show. Many people hadn’t thought of their work from this perspective and had a hard time.

We were lucky to have a producer, Posy Buckland, who is extremely experienced and skilled. She was the person Julia had mentioned, who’d worked on this kind of poetry show in the 89s but from years of putting together radio dramas, she was a skilled editor and had a sensitivity or rather sensibility to use just the right music to enhance the words

4. What can we expect from the line up for poetry in the air?

This is the third year of the show and we wanted to add a new element. The previous two years used local Johannesburg poets but this time, we also included three poets from Cape Town. It was a big thing organisationally for SAfm to link from studio to studio but it all went well without any problems.

In the second year we added males to the line-up and that was continued again.
The theme was pretty vague though everyone had at least one poem addressing the strength and experience of women.

Specific poets for 2014 include: Khadijah Heegar, Ouaz Roodt, Vangi Gantsho, Nova Masango, Sarah Godsell, Conelius Jones, Natalia Molebatsi, Khosi Xaba, Afurakan, Mandi Vundla, Toni Stuart, Phillippa Yaa DeVilliers, Dejavu Tafari, Mutle Mothibe and Myesha Jenkins

5. You have continued to play an influential role in the poetry community, what keeps you inspired?

I like the idea of building poetry so I’m interested in seeing our community expand in numbers, in platforms, in types … all of it. I think it’s important to express the reality of our lives. So my inspiration is in building that community, supporting writers, encouraging more people to express themselves through written poetry and spoken word.

6. You are also the co-founder of Jozi House of Poetry, tell us more about this platform.

Jozi House of Poetry is a monthly session that provides a safe space for women poets and encourages authentic, personal, reflective kinds of writing. As a woman-friendly space, kids are also welcome, i.e. you don’t have to take the baby out. You don’t have to memorise and people can read their work. And it’s not about competition and looking good. We usually have a theme and discussion which allows both poets and non-poets, just lovers of the word, to share their opinions and ideas and their poems as they fit into the discussion.

We are now in the third incarnation of Jozi House of Poetry. It was first started by Feela Sistah in 2003 and ran till 2006. It was housed in the old Couch and Coffee in Newtown. We Then started again in 2011 and operated for two years at the POP Art Theatre in the Maboneng Precinct. In January of 2014 we moved to the African Freedom Station in Westdene where we currently have a much more open and relaxed atmosphere.

7. What has been the greatest highlight of your poetry career?

Personally it was receiving the 2013 Mbogodo Award in the category of Poetry. The Mbogodo award honours women making meaningful contributions to the arts. Winning that was very special.I’ve also enjoyed performing at Poetry Africa. The first time was in 2004 as part of the Feela Sistah Spoken Word Collective with Napo Masheane, Lebo Mashile and Ntsiki Mazwai. The second time was in 2011 when I launched my second book, Dreams of Flight. I worked with jazz musician, Bradley Maponya.

8. Name 3 writers you can’t live without?

Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, and Warsan Shire and locally it’s Gabeba Baderoon, Khosi Xaba and Phillippa Yaa Devilliers.

9.If you could improve anything in the poetry communities, what would it be?

More cross fertilization and sharing of knowledge. More sharing of technical skills. Less competitiveness. Expanding to reach all the provinces. More intergenerational platforms. Somehow seeing ourselves as branches of the same tree … the PO E TREE.

We thank you Myesha for all that you do. Catch poetry in the air at the end of the Ashraf Gardia show, from 11h45 to 12 noon, Safm  (104 –107 fm) Monday through to Thursday.  (The first week starts on Tuesday, 12 August and we go into September, ending Thursday, 4 September.

Tuesday, 12 August Khadijah Heeger

Wednesday, 13 August Quaz

Thursday, 14 August Vangi Gantsho

Monday, 18 August Nova

Tuesday, 19 August Sarah Godsell

Wednesday, 20 August Conelius Jones

Thursday, 21 August Natalia Molebatsi

Monday, 25 August Khosi Xaba

Tuesday, 26 August  Afurakan

Wednesday, 27 August Mandi Vundla

Thursday, 28 August Toni Stuart

Monday, 1 September Phillippa Yaa DeVilliers

Tuesday, 2 September Dejavu Tafari

Wednesday 3, September Mutle Mothibe

Thursday, 4 September Myesha Jenkins



Vuyelwa Maluleke stars in new play

It feels like a great victory when I witness poets stretching their ability beyond words on stage or feature in theater productions.

Mpapa Simo Majola- Playwright and Poet explains how poets are breaking boundaries by mix­ing theater tech­niques, poetry and music to cre­ate a unique per­for­mance style. “The Funeral is a med­i­ta­tion on the changing and think­ing of traditions around death,” he said.

His one-man play speaks of a man who finds himself loitering in the afterlife trying to find his place, chased by shadows, voices and sounds, as he tries to communicate with the living to tell them where they had gone wrong in conducting his funeral

This masterpiece is co- written by Modise Sekgotle and Simo himself. Choreographed by Lerato Matolodi, performed by Mpapa Simo Majola and directed by Modise Sekgotle who is also no stranger to the spoken word community.

But these 2 spoken word artists are not the only poets making waves in­­­­­­­­­­­­­ the theater scenes. Vuyelwa Maluleke known to the poetry community as Vee, the other half of Purple Jupiter, stars in Eve Enslers latest offering; Emotional Creature, a collection of original monologues which chronicles stories inspired by girls around the globe.

Too often girls must struggle between remaining strong and true to themselves and conforming to society’s expectations in an attempt to please. Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, empower themselves, and follow their dreams.

Emotional Creature had its off-Broadway premier in the United States in 2012 but it’s South African rapper Cassper Nyovest’s song Doc Shebeleza in the opening act that helps to localise the production and remind the audience that the production is now in Mzansi.

This play forms part of the South African leg of V-Girls, a global movement of girl activists inspired by I Am an Emotional Creature. If you’re in Cape Town be sure to catch this jaw breaking show.

Written by the women who shattered taboos with THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, the production is set to run at the Baxter Theater from 6-16 August after a successful run in Johannesburg.

Tickets are only R75.


Review: Season 4 | Episode 5

Last week we hosted Mak Manaka, Lucas Pilgrim Serei and BlaqSeed at the Market Theatre Laboratory. Mandi Vundla and the Word N Sound fam reviews the show.

Firstly, I will begin by saying I was full to the brim with excitement over being back at our main venue as the previous show was hosted at the Barney Simon Theatre, depriving us of our homely comfort.

There truly is no place like home. We have entered the winter chills but the harsh change of season didn’t deter those eager to slam. At 9.20am the PTA poets had filled up half the open mic list. The early bird catches the open mic list, walala wasala!!

The competitive levels were at an all time high and the poets were armed for the epic battle. We were disappointed that Bafentse Ntlokoa chose not to defend her title, but this worked well for Modise Sekgothe who arrived in the middle of the slam only to find her slot vacant. Congratulations to him for exploiting her absence and walking away with the coveted King Of The Mic title. We’re ecstatic to see Xabiso’s return to the Top 5, now do what you must to stay there. The trending topic of the slam was love and ex’s, cupid must have been ecstatic.

The show progressed smoothly into Pilgrims set. We’re relieved he made it to the show unscathed after his house burnt down 24hrs before his performance. Your dedication to your craft is commendable. SALUTE!

It was a pleasure to witness that Mak Manaka hasn’t lost his touch, though his memory strayed, he found his way back to us and we were there patiently waiting for poems we hadn’t heard from him in a very long time.

Blaqseed wound up a majestic show with beautiful music. What better way to end the show?

Join us for our next Word N Sound Series show on 5 July 2014. Keep your eye on our Facebook page and Twitter account for more info.