Saturday 4th October saw the 2014 WordNSound Open Mic Finals take place during the at the 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival held in partnership with the Soweto Theatre.
Remember we told you the finals would be breath-taking? I don’t think any of us were fully prepared for the Word N Sound Open Mic Finals.
After months of competition in the Open Mic League this year, it boiled down to this one night. 3 poems per performer, one stage, one winner. We thought we knew. We thought we had an idea. We thought we’d seen it all…
…And then it began.
I don’t think the Soweto Theatre will forget what it bore witness on this momentous occasion. When we say it went down, we mean literally. The stage came alive with props, from oil and powder by a blindfolded Zewande, to condoms and cards by Thando, balls of paper by Nkosinathi, and smoke, courtesy of Xabiso’s incense; we saw flames (by means of a projection on the screen).
What did you expect though? This is the WordNSound stage we’re talking about.
The first round saw three contestants bowing out, leaving Xabiso, Zewande, and Thando to do battle for the crown.
At this point the gloves came off, (and so were the costumes). The competition was tight. The final points tally was close, but in the end there could only be one.
They stood on their feet, they pumped their fists and shouted her name, all this before the judges even announced it.
After a night of standing ovations, including one during her poem (believe it), the WordNSound Open Mic Crown went to the unsuspecting Thando Buthelezi.
“I feel like I represent a certain group of people. I represent the rural ones. The rural guys who write in their Zulu language, those guys who don’t have a formal way of writing. I represent those people who are just .. you know?”
That is what Thando said a few weeks before the finals when we had asked her what set her apart from her compition.
… and the audience agreed (well, the ones we spoke to after the show). They loved her. Congratulations to all of the finalists. The performances set a whole new standard.
Congratulations to the new Queen of the Mic.