From inception, The Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series has been designed as a platform to stimulate the creative economy, through the promotion of the arts in general with live music and poetry [specifically] at the center of this enterprise.
In this regard the team behind Word N Sound have always tried to ensure that other art forms are represented at events. One of the staples of this endeavor has been our partnership with the crafts brand RORA – Rollution Creations.
We caught up with the heart and brains behind this growing brand, Rolland Simpi Motaung to pick gain insight into his views on RORA‘s relationship with WNS, his thoughts on the Open Mic League and the future…
WNS: You have been with Word N Sound since inception, how has the journey been for you?
We started this artistic relationship with Word n Sound back in 2011 when the venue was at Bassline, our aim has always been to source and find potential markets for our crafts/products and brand. The WnS events were one the first in Johannesburg we sold at, the journey has been great, mutually beneficial, the people have supported us greatly over the years, and we have grown in understanding the poetry market.
WNS: What has the positives and negatives of associating your brand with WNS?
The goal with us selling at poetry or any art related event is not only to expose the art of Crafting, but to allow these art disciplines to interact, demonstrate how art is connected. Apart from the constant branding and getting new clients, the positives have been about adding creative value to the poetry experience, the audience doesn’t only have to take the Word home but also a memoir, and the Open Mic Slam winners also get to walk away with hand crafted prizes. Also being one of the main sponsors of the WNS Annual Festival for the 2nd time around is humbling.
The challenge has been low sales at some events and the misconceptions that RORA only exists within the WnS platforms.
WNS: Would you say that there is a market for your range, especially looking at the people who buy your goods?
Most defiantly YES!! We wouldn’t have continued with the relationship if we didn’t have a market. Over the years the crowd has evolved, students have always been the bulk of our clients (especially females) yet the working class market has grown amazingly.
WNS: What would you say still needs to be worked on to grow both brands; ie Word N Sound and RORA?
Consistency from both parties in regards to certain business aspects. Further growth of markets/audiences/artists in other provinces, there’s a demand for both brands (poetry and crafts) and creative expression in general. Most importantly there’s a need for the development of the arts, especially workshops on how artists can grow their entrepreneurial/business skills, and rendering tools on how/where to publish, contract drafting/reading, branding, intellectual property issues, etc
WNS: Where do you see your brand situated in the overall scheme of things within the poetry scene?
RORA means to roar (a lion’s roar) in seTswana, a metaphoric reference meaning to express and discover your true self, the brand’s ethos is grounded on the belief that Passion Is Purpose; so we want to be known as a brand that adds betterment to society. And overall continue with more sponsorship, endorsements and partnering with art organizations to develop new avenues to stimulate the creative economy not only in poetry but in the arts in general.
WNS: Speaking Poetry, who would you say has been the most consistent performer in this year’s slam and why?
No-Life has been exceptional. From the Emonti on Bree stages, solo and along side Ahimsa as Forgotten Planet to now.WOW!!. His writing, concepts and themes have grown immensely and have captured a lot of people with his raw-aggressive-emcee-like style of delivery. Kagiso Tshepe’s Manufacturing King still blows my mind. And its always great to see sister poets being consistent in their work and getting the praise they deserve, hence its no surprise to see Mapule Mohulatsi and Mandi Vundla (again) among the Top 5 for this year’s Open Mic League Final.
WNS: Is there a poet whom you would like to see your brand dressing?
We have started with informal discussions with Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla specifically within the WordnSound circles, and she has represented the brand well this far, recently being at the Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, last month. Tumelo Khoza has been fully behind the brand, and still roaring across the shores in Chicago,USA. Various other poets have embraced our brand including Myesha Jenkins, Natalia Molebatsi, Phillipah Ya Devilliers, and DC Poetry Slam Team from Washington, USA. So our aim is to sustain the relationship and work with like minded poets who are willing to walk and roar with the brand
WNS: When will we get a chance to see you climbing on the WNS slam stage?
Hahaha… When my spirit grants me the will to constantly write and perform again. As an artist I work from a basis of spirituality, a creative energy has to invoke me so deep that I cant sleep at night but create, over the past four its been fabric, thread and needle that dictate my artistic production.
WNS: Which would you say is “easier”, climbing on stage to share a poem or two, or having to come up with designs that capture people’s imaginations?
None is easier, both art forms have their own intriguing creative processes. An art form is ‘easier’ when it’s constantly practiced and perfected everyday, when you work hard at learning and improving it. I was an active performer during high school around 2002 and the sewing started being hectic late 2009, after the company was registered. The transition was between 2010/2011 where I would sell at events and at the same time sign up to perform, a demanding task, hence I decided to stick to the crafting business.
WNS: Where should we expect to see RORA in the next year and onward and would you keep your association with WNS?
Yes, we will still be with WnS. Set up more endorsement deals, more exciting designs/crafts, more products going continental and outernational, partnerships/collaborations and adding to the development of the Arts . To infinity and beyond basically, lol.