Tag Archives: mandi poefficient vundla

WNSAwards: “I feel like I keep re-writing the WNS history books.” – Mandi Vundla


1. What is the story behind your poem? What inspired you to write it?
I was raised on Kwaito Music, from next door to front and back opposite, I grew up in an environment that celebrated Kwaito as a music genre that depicted our lives in the townships.

“Ode to Kwaito” was inspired by the downfall of the genre and its artist. Kwaito was a form of liberation music for me. A successful genre that we as the black race of the slums could own post-apartheid how liberating. When the artists abused this privilege, I needed an outlet.
And so the poem was born

“Mother” was written for the only mother I know, my rock, my soldier, my happiness my stress. This was for her and everything she gave up
for us, I wanted to give back to her tenfold through this poem. And I did but I went off a tangent when I personified her to my God. I began to question why my mother’s name or names pronounced with clicks and folds like my grandmother’s were not captured in the Bible, where were we, did we not exist, was our skin not Godly enough to be aligned with the story of Christianity?
2. If your poem had the power to change just one thing, what would it be?
Both poems would have to change the way we as Africans perceive ourselves. We are beyond the broken black boy story. Lets rewrite the narrative.
3. Which poem would you like to win…besides your own of course?
I’m truly uncertain.

4. How do you feel about it being nominated in the Perfect Poem category?
I may be blowing my own horn here, but has it ever happened that 1 poet gets 2 nominations in 1 category? I feel like I keep rewriting the WNS history book…unless I’m wrong.

For the record: Mandi is not wrong. Yes, yet again she enters the record books for being the only poet to be nominated twice in one category. Salute!

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#WNSAwards: “Even I was blown away by that performance” – Mandi Vundla


This year we crowned South Africa’s first National Slam Champion at the Slam For Your Life Finale held at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The event was made up of an epic battle between 4 poets with showcases from songstress Khethi and seasoned performance poets Mandi Poefficient Vundla, Mutle Mothibe and Conelius Jones.

Mandi stole the show with a killer set that had, UK poet, Lemn Sissay in awe of her work and even more interested in our local poetry scene.

She has now been nominated for a Best Showcase Award for this performance.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
That performance was unplanned and I startled myself completely. I performed poems that weren’t new to me, but the response was a crescendo of standing ovations throughout my set. I was blown away.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
Performing at Arts Alive 2014 and in Grahamstown at the National Arts Fest.
Doing a Khaya FM interview on Nicky B’s show with Lebo Mashile and Gratitude fisher.
Featuring in an article in the Citizen Newspaper.

Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year?
I’ve enjoyed the little I’ve encountered from Nayeer Waheed . She reminds me a little of Warsan Shire. She makes vulnerability sound so sexy.

I’m excited about Xabiso Vili, his enthusiasm reminds me of a trait I possessed when I couldn’t define the feeling of being hungry for words and the stage.

I have my eye on the reigning queen, Thando. I’d like to watch her craft unfold and I hope she exploits the Queendom.

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
Andrea Gibson, it’s no secret… Andrea to me is both the message and the messenger.
“Some people are artist. Some themselves are art”-via Itsfahad.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
Oh yes. Watch the space!


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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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Wordsmiths “Speak The Mind” at Arts Alive

Speak the Mind 9 sessions have been part of Arts Alive since 2005, with the objective to create a word class platform for local and international artists, and also to revive the spoken word spirit. Fusing music, hip hop and beats with spoken word, Speak the Mind 9 sessions include workshops, live performances and dialogue sessions. The main organiser/creator of Speak The Mind 9 is neither a poet or performer, but runs one of the longest running spoken word showcases. This year it will be taking place at the Joburg Theatre. Previous years have had the likes of Napo Masheane, Natalie The Floacist Stewart from Floetry fame, Nova Masango, The Muffinz, and Def Poetry performer Shanelle Gabriel, who have graced stages from Bassline, to Arts on Main. The show has now expanded to Cape Town in collaboration with Artscape. Due to popular demand, some artists do return to the stage, and this year there are a few, including American artist Queen Godis. Tumi and DJ Kenzhero on the decks. This year, expect to see:

  • Gratitude Fisher
  • Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla
  • Tumi
  • Soul House Project
  • Lebo Mashile
  • Dr Mongane Wally Serote
  • Josh Meck, from Zimbabwe
  • Jazz P, from Swaziland
  • Queen Godis from the USA
  • Efe Paul Azino from Nigeria
  • Mtuabaruka from Jamaica

Here are some short bios on the artists performing:

Soul Housing Project


Bokani Dyer, Sakhile Moleshe, Eugene”Mr Grooves” Ackerman, Al “Dirt” du Toit and Kissangwa Mbouta make up the Cape Town based band. Founded in 2007 by lead singer Sakhile Moleshe and Bokani, the band has played at the Grand Daddy Hotel and the Fifa World Cup Fan Park, as well as many stages abroad and locally. With jazz, hiphop, dubstep and house music as their influences, Bokani and Sakhile compose the band’s music, and they are currently working on their debut album You can hear them on their SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/soulhousingproject  

Dr Wally Serote

dr mongane wally serote

Dr Wally Serote is an internationally acclaimed South African writer and poet. Known as one of the Soweto poets in the 1970s who resisted the Apartheid regime through their poetry and literature. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Columbia University and ho norary doctorates in Literature from  the Universities of Natal and Transkei. Wally’s bodies of work include essays, poetry and novels, the most recent being his 2013 book titled Rumours.

Efe Paul Azino


Lagos based Nigerian poet and writer Efe Paul has been in the Naija spoken word circles for over a decade. A self-proclaimed book worm, Efe Paul is regarded as one of Nigeria’s top poets. He has performed on many stages and many audiences, from conferences to churches. He is inspired by the socio-economic and political issues of Nigeria. Here’s a link to one of his poems: http://efepaulspeaks.com/video/

Josh Meck

Josh Meck

Zimbabwean born Josh Meck is a jazz musician. Before relocating to Johannesburg is 2012, Josh performed at concerts and festivals in Harare in Zimababwe, Zambia, Stolkholm in Sweden and Durban in South Africa. The bass guitarist has been in the jazz music industry for well over 10 years, has two albums and says his music has a touch of social commentary. He performed at the Arts Alive’s Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake on Sunday, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to share at the spoken word event

Queen Godis

queen godis

Born and raised in Brooklyn in the USA, Queen Godis is a singer, poet, and director, and “performance art therapist”. In 2001 she founded Queen Godis University, through which she offers life skills coaching and mentoring, aimed at high school and university students, using poetry. No stranger to the Speak The Mind stage, she has also performed in New York, France, and was part of a Choreo-poem workshop in Trinidad. A link to one of her videos: http://www.reverbnation.com/queengodis  

Jazz P

Maputo based Swati artist Jazz P, is a hip hop and soul singer and lyricist who performs in both siSwati and English. She released an album, In My Heart in 2012, is a founder member of the band The Next Generation, and has performed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. A link to one of her songs off her album: https://soundcloud.com/jazz-p/sweet-melody-by-jazz-p

Lebo Mashile

lebo mashile

Poet, producer, presenter, MC, actress, author, and mother Lebo Mashile needs no introduction. She won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa in 2006, she co-founded ‘Feel-a-sista’ spoken word collective along with Myesha Jenkins and Ntsiki Mazwai, she acted on the Oscar nominated film Hotel Rwanda, presented and co-produced the tv show L’Atitude, published anthologies and even had one translated in Germany … we could go on forever. She currently presents Great Expectations on eTV, a show about pregnancy and parenting. http://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/love-elastic-4119#.VAe4OPmSxDI

Tumi tumi

Tanzanian born Tumi Molekane South Africa Tumi Molekane, famously known as Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, is a poet/MC. Founder of  Motif Records in 2006, which boasts local artists such as Reason, Ricky Rick, 8 Bars Short, Nova, not forgetting Tumi himself. Tumi has shared the stage with great names in hiphop, including Talib Kweli, and recently has worked with the likes of Zyon of Liquid Deep, L-Tido, Zeus, AKA, the list goes on. In the early 2000s he released an anthology called The Black Inside Out. In recent years Tumi has performed at TEDx Soweto, Poetry Africa as well as Speak the Mind in previous years. Next month he drops his next solo offering, called Rob The Church https://soundcloud.com/motifrecords



Born in Kingston Jamaica in 1952, Allan Mutabaruka is a dub poet who has graced the stage of Speak the Mind and Def Jam a number of times. He came to fame in the 1970s. His poems touch on black history and consciousness, spiritual awareness, imperialism and colonialism. He recently released a double volume of poetry, which consists of his old works, Mutabaruka: the first poems and his more recent works, Mutabaruka: the next poems. Not new to the Speak the Mind Stage, it will be interesting to hear what he has to offer this time around


Gratitude Fisher

gratitude fisherSibongile Fisher, also known as Gratitude Fisher, is a poet, writer and actress. She started writing in 2005, and in 2009 joined the UJ Poetry Society. She has shared the stage with poets such as Mysesha Jenkins, Likwid Tongue, and has performed on stages at Bassline, the Soweto Theatre, the Market Theatre Lab to name but a few. https://soundcloud.com/gratitude-fisher/a-poem-for-africa

Mandi Poefficient Vundla


Mandi exploded onto the spoken word scene in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since. Although she was writing since her teens, destiny revealed itself to her and us in 2011. Mandi has blossomed in front of our eyes. Her pieces are personal, deeply moving, reflective, sometimes introspective, almost like the pages in her diary. Miss Poefficient has  shared the stage with Poetry Legends, performed on the Art Alive and the Jozi Book Fair , and in 2012 crowned Word n Sound’s Queen of the Mic, nominated for a Perfect Poem Award. She is to be one of the youngest poets to grace the international Speak the Mind stage   To miss the rush Click Here to Order Tickets Now

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‘I was born for this’ – Mandi

Mandi Poefficient Vundla set a Word N Sound record when she successfully defended her Open Mic Champion title at last year’s Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival.

Tell us more about this year’s slam. Why did you decide to defend your title, was it harder than last year and who was your toughest competition?
Well…Word N Sound said I couldn’t just walk out on my title, so I actually blame you for my win. Last’s year’s slam was tougher, points went back to zero, it was anyone’s game. Elysium Garcia made me restless though. Winning was affirming though. I was born for this!

Name 3 elements you’ve added or subtracted from you poetry when comparing how you used to write 3 years ago and now.
Things I’ve added: My own voice and a dose of self belief .
Things I’ve removed: Long poems

How many books did you read in 2013 (guestimate) and of those books which one made the most impact on you?
It’s more like how many books have I left unfinished! #Hides The Alchemist though spoke to me, I read it at the right time in my life. I am on track

How do you choose the subject matter you write on?
I write about unsettling issues

What inspires your fashion sense?

Mandi2Photographer: Morne Van Tonder

Name 3 of your all time favourite poems\ Poetry performances?
Whoa! What a tough question! 😦 Only 3! Hmmm…

  • Andrea Gibson – Ashes
  • Mpho Khosi – Nkosi Skelela I-Africa
  • Jasmine Mans – Roses-Little Girls

You’ve traveled quite a bit and got to be on the Poetry Africa stage as a performer…what were the highlights of that festival?
A Godly band called Insurrections. The boat ride on day 1 so we could break the ice. Chilling with the poets after the evening shows and the conversations we had. My performance night, I’ve never felt closer to God than I did on that stage that night. That is my best performance to date.

Name your pre performance rituals? (things you’ve found you do mostly before performing whether before leaving home or before getting on stage)
I sit in silence, then I give thanks for the stage, the art-form and the audience. It is in that moment that I am reminded I’m blessed. I always recite a gratitude prayer. Then I breathe, to silence the nerves and I literally zone out of my surroundings until i hear my name.

What are your thoughts on competitive poetry slams and how some poets feel that it sidelines some performers?
I’m tired of that “what about us/me self pity”! IF YOU WANT TO SLAM, SIGN UP ON THE OPEN MIC AND SLAM! It’s a public domain available to those who arrive early at Word N Sound. If you seek non-competitive poetry platforms, there are stages for you to sign up, just do it!

I feel as though people want to perform but they are too proud to be on an open mic stage. They want to receive a personal invite, yet we’ve never seen you strut your stuff anywhere. Most poetry session commence with an open mic. Use the open mic, you never know whose watching!!

PS: If it wasn’t for the OPEN MIC, no one would know my work!

You find a bottle containing a poetry genie and he grants you 3 wishes …
1 – I need more wishes!
2 – I need acres and acres of land, to build an arts center with all the facilities, we need to be productive.
3 – I’d like to own a broadcasting station, make it happen!

What is one thing you’d change about the current state of poetry?
I’d create main stream platforms just for POETRY and we’d explore various ways of making the truth entertaining.

What is one thing you’d want to instantly perfect in your own abilities as a performer/writer?
I have so many concepts I’d love to incorporate in my performances. I need to write more incredible poems in a shorter space of time. These poems take too long to complete.

What is the one thing you wish all up and coming poets could do or understand when it comes to the art of spoken word?
Respect the art. The poet is not bigger than the poem!

Looking at the Mandi you are now in the poetry circles and looking back at the poet you were when you started out…if you were to meet that past self today, what would you say to her?
Had you been this focused from the get go, it would have taken you 2 years not 3 to be where you are today!!! 🙂

Mandi1Photographer: Philani Hadebe

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