Category Archives: Interviews

WNS Family Part II – Understand that you’re not dealing with a small time brand…

Over the years the WNS stage has become a bucket list-worthy stage to perform on for poets and musicians alike.

It provides young, up and coming artists have a platform to showcase their unique, sometime eclectic sound to lovers of words and sounds.

We recently spoke to Masai Dabula [WNS Multimedia Manager, shareholder and former King of the Mic], Xongani Maluleka [affectionately known as Xongi, WNS Production Manager and Shareholder] and BlaQ2sday [one of the many awesome artists to have showcase on our stage], about their their individual Word N Sound experiences both on and off the stage.

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How did Word N Sound hook you? What made you want to get involved as a shareholder?

Masai: It was a gradual transgression. I had to prove, in various ways, that I was worthy to be part of the team. The support was also immense, not to mention the vision Word N Sound has. The hook was initiated by Word N Sound’s objective to be the voice of Africa when it comes to literature, and why wouldn’t I take the shares… I am Word N Sound!

Xongi: I wanted to get involved as a shareholder because I wanted to form part of the biggest poetry movement in this country. It is a great pleasure to be part of one of a few black owned production companies in South Africa. Well Word N Sound wanted me; it chose me. Word N Sound is hooked on me… 😉

Besides being a poetry, performance and live literature experience like no other, Word N Sound challenges those who step onto its stage and into its boardroom to learn and grow in ways they have not done before.

We spoke to the ever eclectic BlaQ2sday about their Word N Sound experience.

Blaq2sday

BlaQ2sday

BlaQ2day: Our first performance was intimidating, because Word N Sound was, at that time, the first show that was so on point. From the stage setup at the Market Theatre Lab, to the sound system and band instruments layout on stage, to the lighting and all those fancy things. We walked in there, we were happy, but tense at the same time.

Then over a year later, we did the WNS Rise of The Underdogs. At that stage, we were already used to nice things, so our confidence was already sky high the minute we saw the top class stage setup at the SABC Radio Park. We were just too excited, and we had the nicest of times.

What is different about the Word N Sound stage, compared to different stages you have performed on?

Word N Sound is world class. The trick is that, Word N Sound is open to anyone to step on their stage, whatever calibre the artist. However, as an artist, if you follow Word N Sound, you’ll know that not everybody can step up. The bar is just too high. Even the Open Mic is on flames. So, that should tell you something. We’ve been to shows where the organisers ask us if we have mics by any chance, or a live performance mixer [‘O_o]. So in brief, WNS pioneered a new standard for the arts, they gave artists hope in performance arts.

Since your showcase, what have you been up to?

We’ve had a couple of unfortunate events that disturbed the health of the band, and demotivated the team. So we had to take some time out as a band. This year, we’ll be looking into making more music than anything else, we are also switching up the sound a bit. Without giving away too much, we’ll be adding a new sound to what you already know of BlaQ2sday.

On the up side, on Friday 30 January we were announced the winners for the MTV #KickStartMyBandIntoGear Competition. We won the grand prize of R100 000 worth of band gear from Music Connection, courtesy of MTV, Electric Vines and Music Connection.

Much of what the audience sees is the result of hours of planning, preparations, mini heart attacks and many tantrums, but a collective team effort nonetheless. A lot of connections help the lights come on.

Xongani

Xongi: When we have festivals it gets really hectic and one really just has to suck it up until the end of the festival. Surprisingly enough it is always hectic, this is one thing I could never get used to. I have accepted this norm and that is how I am able to go into the next festival despite the odds.

A wise man once said, the only constant in life is change, and although Masai came to Word N Sound with no expectations, purely to be part of the experience, he and his vision for the company have changed.

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

Masai: My vision is basic and simple: poetry must become a credible industry… Where writers will be acknowledged for their craftsmanship. Africa has many stories to tell, and we need to harness those stories for the world at large. My vision for Word N Sound has altered, and I have grown. It has solidified thanks to my team and I can easily say the vision is feasible.

As a former King of the Mic, what is your opinion on the type of performances you have seen on the stage?

Masai: Word N Sound has given a face-lift to poetry! There’s so much stigma attached to poetry. WNS has managed to challenge writers in ways I didn’t imagine when I first stepped on that stage. Our stage adjures writers to challenge the status quo and question conventional thinking. This is the main ingredient to an amazing show and strengthening the movement.

Who was your most hectic adversary?

Nova and Mutle were my greatest foes, but I grew to love them and respect them regardless of our clashes.

What is your advise for all those who are still to step on the mic?

Masai: When one steps on stage, one should have the decency of being honest.

Xongi: To the performers, my advice would have to be that they must always enjoy their moments on stage, because when we as the audience see that you are enjoying yourself, we will, too.

BlaQ2sday: Plain and simple: Our advice to the next artists is – Understand that you’re not dealing with a small time brand, so just to be safe, bring a world class showcase.

What would you like to see from Word N Sound in future?

BlaQ2sday: We would definitely love to see Word N Sound growing to be more than what it already is. Something like a franchise almost. The whole of South Africa needs to be exposed to what Word N Sound is doing for artists. So it would be nice to extend that to other parts of the country, and eventually the world. And a National Festival doesn’t sound bad neither, #InWordNSoundWeTrust!

Xongi: For the company I would like to say that we should never stop! We are a monster of a company and the world is yet to see more amazing things come from us. #INWNSWETRUST #POETRYWINS #ABEAST this thing…

Would you come back to the WNS stage in future? Why?

BlaQ2sday: Is this a trick question?

The more I speak to people about Word N Sound, the more it starts sounding like the pied piper of poetry. All those who hear the Word N Sound story, find their ways to its doors, and never want to leave.

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

Thando Buthelezi, reigning queen of the WordnSound mic

QUEEN OF THE WORD N SOUND MIC [2015]

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

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

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

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

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

    The Phenomenal 9

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

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

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

Why We Joined WNS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Coming in, what were your expectations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Q: Any advice you would give WNS?

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

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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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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

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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.

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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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‘Forget everything you were taught about poetry’ – Afurakan

This week, Word N Sound, The Market Theatre and The National Lottery will launch the first ever Spoken Freedom Festival. We caught up with Word N Sound founder, Thabiso Afurakan Mohare, to find out more.

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1. What is the Spoken Freedom Festival? How did it come about?
The 1st Annual Spoken Freedom Festival is an exciting and energetic showcase of the best youth Spoken Word voices in South Africa. Through words, music and visuals, the four day experience will capture audiences imaginations with stories of being young woven with the challenges and the victories of living in a free South Africa 20 years of on. The festival is a joint initiative by The Word N Sound Live Literature Company and The Market Theatre and supported by the National Lottery Foundation.

2. How did Word N Sound decide on the line up?
It was very difficult as there are so many new and exciting voices on the spoken word scene. Ultimately we looked at experience, relevance in the current scene and just general performance. We also tried to achieve a balance between poets who have been active for more than 5 years and the new rising stars.

3. What does 20 years of spoken freedom mean for you as an artist?
It’s a time to reflect and asked if art has had the kind of impact on South Africa now as it did during the struggle days? Where will art take our country and what is it’s central role?

4. Which day are you most looking forward to and why?
The whole festival. I have to say that …LOL!

5. Please gives us 3 reasons why one should attend this Festival, especially if they aren’t familiar with the current SA poetry scene?
A) Forget everything you were taught about poetry in High School. This will be a spiritual experience.
B) You will laugh, cry, cheer and totally get inspired. Poetry speaks to the human condition and it will be impossible for any one person to experience the festival without something inside them changing forever.
C) Have you seen what poets do on stage now? That’s all I’m saying …

Get the full Line Up here

 

“If It’s Music, We’ll Do It,” says Blaq2sday

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Who are Blaq2sday? When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Blaq2sday is an eclectic band of 5 members from the Vaal, Bophelong. The band was founded in 2011 by Tshitso Makunyane and Mkhulu Tshabalala. They were later joined by Pitso Mofokeng and Molefe sefatsa. To complete the pack, they were joined by Thabo Moralo who started as the group photographer he is now a percussionist in the group.

The inspiration comes from our experiences as artists of different backgrounds but have a common vision of archiving a common goal, which is producing good music all round, for all age groups. So we really don’t have a sound that we box ourselves in. The concept is simple, If It’s Music, We’ll Do It

Who/what has been your biggest musical inspiration?
Above all, it has to be the people’s response to what we do. THAT, is what keeps us going most of the time. Then, the people that support us and help us get things done, like
Bozza. These are people that remind us that we need to work and deliver a quality product, ALL the time.

In terms of creating music, our influences vary from member to member. Because we all bring a different flavor to the band. But we can highlight Motif Records’ Zaki Ibrahim/ Reason/ Tumi, 340ml, Fat Freddie’s Drop, Swedish House Mafia, Khuli Chana, Thandiswa Mazwai, Salif Keita, Tshepo Tshola, Maroon 5, Rasekgantsho (Ntjapedi), Asa and Skrillex just to name a few.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
We write/compose all our songs. Because we were individual artists already before we got together, it makes it easy for Tshitso to compose a tune quick, or either one of the vocalists to write for the tune, or for Thabo to add a lekker drum pattern. So everything we write/ compose ourselves.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Most of the challenges we come across are out of our control; like event organisers and promoters not willing to invest in their events, from marketing to hiring a proper sound system. And of course, not forgetting the special few that see so little value in artists, to a point that paying an artist just makes no sense to them. Anything other than this, that is in our control, is exactly there, under our control. That’s simply because each and every one of us is always willing to stretch an extra mile to get work done.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
The first thing would be understanding how much each member is willing to do, in order to see the band going forward. Secondly, understanding what you want to achieve as a band, why you need to achieve that, and how you’ll achieve that. A band is like a project. Therefore, there needs to be a project management structure, that will see to things being done effectively. Then lastly, the band needs to pull together, in the same direction, to the most of each one’s abilities.

How can fans gain access to your music?
Here are links to our stuff;

Our website: http://www.blaq2sdaysa.co.za
Our iTunes Artist page: https://itunes.apple.com/za/artist/blaq2sday/id873046457?uo=4
Our YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/PrincipleDvine and https://www.youtube.com/user/blaq2sday
Also on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/blaq2sday

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
We’ve performed at House of Hunger (Alliance Francaise Johannesburg), Cup O’ Thought (Alliance Francaise de Durban), Vereeniging Civic Theatre, Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series (Market Theatre), Emerald Casino and Resort, Bara Medical College, 1000 People (Constitution Hill of South Africa), Tanz Live, Katzy’s in Rosebank, Balcony Tv Johannesburg, Lighthouse on 7th in Melville, Puisano Jazz Festival and at the Emfuleni Local Municipality Arts and Culture Summit 2014. Recently, as the opening act for Zahara on her Phendula National Tour by Nedbank and TS Records.

Favorite venues has to be Tanz Live, SkyRoomLive (wherever their venue is now Lol), and anywhere around Maboneng Precinct, Live – The Venue in Durban, The Assembly in Cape Town. That Randlords Rooftop (Balcony TV) was also mean as well.

Our current gig guide as it stands after the Rise Of The Underdogs show on the 24th, we have BlaQ2sday Meets 16th Kollektiv on the 16th June. 16th Kollektiv is the phresh clothing brand that’ll be endorsing the band with T-shirts mainly. Then we’ll be at the National Arts Festival Grahamstown, performing at The Vic, from the 3rd till the 6th of July. Please see more details on our Facebook page ( Blaq2sday ).

What can the Word N Sound family expect from you at the show?
The Rise of the Underdogs event will be a very special one. Because we seldom get so much time to showcase our work, most of it that is. We’ve always had to perform a minimal set. But now this will be different because we can perform most of our songs, especially new ones. And people can get to hear how the album is most likely to sound like. So this will be a first draft listening session of what we’ve been working on.

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I look forward to performing with Blast again – Afurakan

AfurakanWe caught up with Word N Sound founder, Afurakan Mohare ahead of his showcase at the next episode of the Word N Sound Series in Newtown this Saturday.

1. What have you been up to in this last year since your last showcase?
When I showcased last year I had just started working as an Arts Projects Manager at the British Council. I have now recently joined Be Bozza, a digital distribution company, as the Head of Brand and Marketing. Outside of that I have been focused on growing Word N Sound as a brand and exploring other business ventures in the creative sector.

2. We hear your showcase is a preview of your first collection. Please tell us more about it?
Yes. So I have finally put together my first short poetry collection called The Book of Afurakan | “Blueprint for a Coup D’état”. On Saturday I will be presenting a few poems from the book and also look forward to performing with beat box genius “Blast” again.

3. What is the one poem you just have to write but the words refuse to come?
It is a poem called “Letter Bomb” and it just refuses to come out. I guess I have to be patient while the poem is busy writing itself, when it’s ready it will just fall out of my mouth.

4. ‘Cypher With God’ ends with “my tongue was then imprisoned for 21 reincarnations and only then can I cypher with God again.” Question is, has 21 centuries past and will you be cyphering with God again?
Eish but why? Wasn’t one cypher enough? And no, 21 reincarnations have not passed yet! LOL!

5. The Word N Sound stage has seen plenty new faces this year. Which poets have excited you the most and why?
If I can think of 2 names off the top of my head it would be Bafentse Ntlokoa who is an amazing new voice and Xabiso Vili who has an interesting energy and writing style.

6. What is next for Afurakan?
My next big move is taking poetry into the commerce of the digital space through my work at Be Bozza while continuing with my preparations to be President of the country in the not so distant future.

7. Complete the sentence: Dear Leader… Love got us here and love will free us from you!

Catch Afurakan on the Word N Sound stage this Saturday alongside beatbox legend, Blast. Also on the line up is Nancy G, the hottest Open Mic Slam in SA and the launch of #DearLeader. Don’t miss out, head to the Barney Simon Theatre (inside the main Market Theatre complex) on 3 May. Doors open at 12, show starts at 1. R50 gets you in.

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#WNSallstars: I wouldn’t want to go back to my first performance – Mandi

AllStars_Mandi
1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?
Facebook, I was looking for spoken word sessions when I came across the movement.

2. Tell us about your first time on the WNS stage. How was the experience? What did you love about it and what did you hate?
I performed a poem questioning abortion. I was alone, awkward, cute and petrified. My eyes were closed throughout the performance and my butterflies were gunning me down. I wouldn’t want to go back to that moment hey.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?

When I won the crown for the 2nd time. Nothing can beat that. The Tongue Fu show was also boss.

4. You are now part of the WNS Committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I work on providing content for WNS social media platforms and finding innovative ways to brand the movement. Being part of a team that is driven and motivated is inspiring. I need that kind of energy. It has also taught me to work better with people, patience is key and managing your time as an artist and team player is also essential. I struggled last year, I realized that there is time for everything, slamming and being part of the team is not a good idea; one will fall short.

5. Name your favourite poems from any of the artists in the All-Stars line up. What is it about that poem that makes it stand out?
Joburg, Joburg Let My People Go by K.B

Nkosi Sikelela iAzania by Mpho Khosi

#WNSallstars: WNS challenged me as a writer – Xongani

AllStars_Xongi

1. Where did you first hear about WNS and what made you want to be a part of it?

I first heard about Word N Sound at the launch of the Next Generation shows in Melville in 2013. I wanted to be a part of the it because I believed that it was an important platform to start from in building my career in poetry and that it would be a great stage to get on in order to make it into the spoken word industry.

2. Tell us about your first time on the WNS stage. How was the experience? What did you love about it and what did you hate?
The first time I was on the WNS stage I was extremely nervous, it was my first slamming experience and I didn’t have an idea of what I was getting myself into, all I could focus on was the tough competition I was faced with. I liked the competition, as it challenged me as writer, forcing me to break into different levels of the art that is poetry. I guess what I hate about it is losing the competition.

3. What has been your most memorable WNS show?

The first time I made it into the top 5, my showcase at the Next Generation “Let’s talk homosexuality’’, the 2013 Joburg WNS Festival, the show we had at the Soweto Theatre. The showcase by Megan Godsell. The first Open Mic in 2014 and the Tongue Fu Show on the second episode of the Series in 2014.

4. You are now part of the WNS Committee. What is your role and how has that experience been?
I’ve recently been appointed as the Head of Production. I am responsible for looking over every show that is hosted by the WNS. I am yet to learn of the experience, I am looking forward to the challenges and rewards.

5. Name your favourite poems from any of the artists in the All-Stars line up. What is it about that poem that makes it stand out?
Elysium Garcia – Church of Assholery: this poem is a reminder that I am not alone, there are more like me, and that brings me comfort.

Masai Dabula – What Do You Know About Freedom: I love how this poem because it challenges my thoughts on how I perceive freedom. I appreciate the approach to how he wrote this poem; I’m crazy about the execution, his performance is captivating.