Tag Archives: 3rd Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download RORA: Rollution Creations Price list here: Pricelist011

 

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#WNSFEST Interview: THABISO “AFURAKAN” MOHARE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WNS: What is your biggest writing quirk/superstition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last but not least, I like running shit!

WNS: What happened to your album?

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

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

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

Coffeee … anyone?

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

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

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

AFURAKAN:

Killer Punchline

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

 Cypher with Lucifer? ….

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

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#WNSFEST Interview: ANDREW MANYIKA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WNS: How important is your image as a performer?

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

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

WNS: Why should one vote for the EFF?

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

WNS: Slam vs set performances. Your take?

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

WNS: What will the history books say about you?

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

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

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

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

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#WNSFEST Interview: VANGILE GANTSHO

Vangile_PosterVANGILE GANTSHO began performing seriously in 2005 but has been writing most of her life. She had her first real break performing at Rhyme Alive at the Moonbox Theatre in Pretoria (2005). Since then she has been privileged enough to perform on a variety of both cultural and corporate platforms countrywide.

Vangi co-founded The Jamm Sessions at the University of Pretoria (2005), which in turn lead to Revolutionary Words, and later evolved into The Writers’ Forum: a platform on which young, unknown artists can share their various art forms. In 2009, she saw her brainchild, When the Kats Cum Out to Play, come to life, with performances by incredible artists such as Myesha Jenkins and Nomsa Mazwai.  Until recently, she would have considered this intimate conversation with women through poetry and music to be her most fulfilling poetic experience to date, were it not for her recent standing ovation performance at the 2012 Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture.  The audience included former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, Joaquim Chissano and Pedro Pires as well as many other dignitaries from around Africa and the African diaspora.

As a writer, Vangi has had her work published in The Agenda, BKO, Baobab, Guilotine, was chosen as one of the Next Wave of Poetry Sistas of Love Life Uncut and was profiled and had her work included in UK-based magazine:  Sabel. She recently had the privilege of having Dr Don Mattera take her under his wing and has since organised a workshop called Conversations with Yesterday, where he agreed to sit down with a handful of young poets and discuss the challenges faced by young writers of today.  At present, she is in the process of completing her poetry collection which is being overseen by Dr Don Mattera.  She is a freelance writer, performer and performance coach, poet, blogger (www.vangisafrica.org), student; and you can find her jamming at (sometimes hosting) NO CAMP CHAIRS Poetry Picnic on the grass at the Union Buildings on the second Sunday of every month – a movement she co-founded beginning of 2011.

When we eventually got to sit down with this lover of words her boisterous, animated, hard-talking demeanor belied the gentle girly interior which we only slightly got to glimpse at during our sit-down…

WNS: You’re a poet, an intellect, an activist, and you wear a lot of dresses. These things we know. What mundane or diabolical thing don’t we know about Vangi Gantsho?

VG: I also wear a lot of skirts and all stars.  One of my favourite movies is Clueless.  I love painting my toes in lots of different colours.  At once.  I love limericks and nursery rhymes.

WNS: You’re a self-described blabbermouth, what do you like to blabber most about?

VG: Everything. I’m one of those people who has an opinion about almost everything so thee are few things that are off limits for me.

WNS: Have you seen the movie 27 Dresses? Did it “speak” to you?

VG: Lol!  Wow!  I have seen the movie.  And for the record… I’ve only been a bridesmaid once.  Lol.  On the real though…. Not really.  I’m not a marriage seeker.  Not even sure it’s something I want to venture in (forever is a long time and I’m not sure human beings are designed to be monogamous for that long… and other opinions).  So that movie is a brain fart for me.  And warm and fuzzy and funny because some of those dresses are hideous.

WNS: What is your biggest pre-performance quirk?

VG: I always just want to sleep.  I get so nervous, I just want to sleep.  Sometimes, I want to paint my nails or start singing my poems to make sure I remember the words.

WNS: Why poetry?

VG: Because I am an emotional creature.  And it’s the one medium that allows me to be that freely.  Plus I’m a good listener, which makes me a good messenger.

WNS: What question would you most like to be asked in an interview? Why? How would you answer that?

VG: I like being asked about my dresses. Because my mother makes most of them, and there is something special about performing in a dress that my mother has made just for me.  It also makes me feel held.  By her.

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#WNSFest Interview: MPHO KHOSI

 

Mpho_PosterWnS: You are a self published author, how has the response been to your work, and are there more books in the pipeline?

MM: The book has done well, I have however been a bit lazy in marketing it. But, thanks to a friend, I have managed to sell more books and push it a bit more. There are always more books in the pipeline, I just need to give myself time to sit and start working.

WnS: In the contemporary context, where digital and visual media run the roost, do you feel like there’s still a place for poetry in print.

MM: I was fortunate to meet people who still demand to have printed books, so, there is a platform for printed poetry, we just need to make use of it.

WnS: You incorporate Jazz into your performances. Why that genre, and what Jazz stage would you most love to perform on?

MM: I grew up with jazz and reggae being the theme music at home, so; in a way me incorporating jazz into my work is me paying tribute to my dad for introducing me to the music. It would be an honour and blessing to find myself getting on the joy of jazz stage with a live band one day.

WnS :Have you registered to vote?

MM: I have registered, just need to check if my name is still on the roll. I have voted each year since I became old enough to vote.

WnS: 3rd year running with Word N Sound, what’s that journey been like for you?

MM: It has been an awesome one, Word N Sound grows from year to year.

WnS: What is the one question you’d like to be asked most in an interview. Why? And what would your answer be?

MM: Why do you write? And the answer would be, to express and heal myself of my inner-most pains, that I can’t really speak about.

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

MM: Ooh. “you claim to be dope, but yet you created me as a perfection of yourself”

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#WNSFest Interview: Pilgrim

Pilgrim, real name Lucas Serei is a poet, visionary and performer. Born in Pretoria, Lucas moved to the Vaal-Triangle in the mid-90’s where he spent most of his childhood under the care of his grandparents. He was coached with nursery rhymes and ghost stories there, and it is also where his love for writing was born.

He has been building quite a formidable a name for himself in the Johannesburg poetry scene by performing at the Word N Sound Poetry and Music league; as well as being featured on the Word N Sound “Next Generation” Project.

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We recently caught up with Pilgrim for a quick Q&A regarding his forthcoming appearance at the 3rd Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival |Open Mic League Finale taking place on the 30th November 2013, and this is what he had to say:

WNS: What have been the pressures/challenges of having to perform on the Word N Sound stage each month?
Pilgrim: For me one of the biggest challenges was the writing process because in this case I was writing specifically for performance and to add on that challenge was ‘how’ I was to present my craft different and uniquely as I can.

WNS: What makes you think you are going to take this slam?
Pilgrim: I believe most people don’t knows a lot about Pilgrim, so my element of surprise will earn me a short in winning the slam, oh  and my poems of course 🙂

WNS: Who has been your toughest contender all year?
Pilgrim: I believe everyone brought their A-game in every slam, but NoLIFE stood out for me as the toughest contender, no lie there.

WNS: What effect has taking part in the slam had on you as a poet?
Pilgrim: It has allowed me to see how broad and diverse poetry is and through that I was able to grow in terms of my skill of writing as well as the concept in which I wrote about, I was more factious when I started writing and now I am able to write about social issues and so forth.

WNS: What would winning the slam mean for you?
Pilgrim: …it will be a big stepping stone in my poetry ‘life span’, it will mean I achieved the goal I set for myself this year and that people heard and understood my truth.

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#WNSfest Interview: MUTLE MOTHIBE

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WnS: What sets you apart from the rest?

MM: I think being Mutle already sets me apart, interpretation of my reality, my references, the layering I weave into all the work I put out and also my obsession with detail.

WnS: You’ve inspired a lot of people and writers, who and what inspires you?

MM: I’m inspired by everything. From everyday conversations, ambient music, movie scripts, song lyrics, books I read. As to who inspires me, I don’t have that many people of late but I used to live on Shakespeare, Ben Okri, Pablo Neruda. And hip hop artists like Vast Aire, Qwel, Talib, Aesop Rock, I used to (Still do)  memorize their songs and recite them through the day and also would research them to better understand the content and better my writing skills.

WnS: It’s voter registration weekend. Do you have any views on the state of governance in the country?

MM: I think we could do better.

WnS: You recently got back from Cardiff in Scotland, what is it like

MM: It was an eye opener!!! I learned a lot and also was inspired to value my work more, to work harder and see passed the work as just fit for the stage but beyond just performance. I made amazing connections and was humbled by the experience and opportunities.

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

MM: My confidence is wilting from tilling her emotional fields hoping that my reasoning will harvest her love organs. I’m running out of words, my lisp is still in season but her lips aren’t here for the picking.

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#WNSFEST Interview: Mapule Mohulatsi

Mapule Mohulatsi was born and raised in Soweto and attended The National School of the Arts where she majored in Dramatic Arts. She is currently a student of History and African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, and can best be described as follows:

Barb Wire. Uhuru. Sex on Black Skin. BushChild. A FatFrog. I am not an Artist, I am a forbidden tantra forest, merely a Dance. I, warmer than the devils tit. Left. Pussy Powerist, diabolically sweetened, valiant lover of bombs and incence, Swahili resides in her hair, a cuckoo nest, Militant warrior the epitome of who’s who in the west, sodomy and incest less, bless!

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Here is what this vivacious wordslinger had to say to the WNS about  her upcoming appearance at the 3rd Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival | Open Mic League Finale taking place on the 30th November 2013:

WNS: What have been the pressures/­challenges of having to perform on he Word N Sound stage each month?
Mapule:
Getting there on time for the list.

WNS: What makes you think you are going to take this slam?
Mapule:
I don’t think I’m going to, I don’t have any reason to think so, I haven’t been what you’d call ‘consistent’. Plus I think NoLife deserves it.

WNS: Who has been your toughest contender all year?
Mapule: 
I’m not competitive at all. (Slamming is the hardest thing I’ve done to myself, having a contender would kill me. I can’t do that)

WNS: What effect has taking part in the slam had on you as a poet?
Mapule:
 I’ve been the most inspired by the amazing poetry that exists. I don’t need Youtube as much for inspiration.

WNS: What would winning the slam mean for you?
Mapule: 
Uhm, probably less slamming.

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