Tag Archives: masai dabula

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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Spoken Freedom Festival Line Up Announced

SpokenFreedomFest
In a rapidly changing socio-economic landscape, art takes the role of noting where we’ve been and, plots the path to where we’re going. Enter: The Spoken Freedom Festival. This Annual Festival is an exciting showcase of the best Spoken Word voices in South Africa, and takes place from the 3rd of July at the Market Theatre.

The Spoken Freedom Festival is first and foremost an exciting showcase. It provides both audiences and artists an opportunity to witness and partake of engaging artwork through the media of words, music and visuals. It’s a chance to collectively look at how far South Africa has come over the past two decades, and to position Spoken Word as a medium to both chronicle and shape the South African journey in the years to come.

This first edition of what will become an annual festival was born out of the shared visions of both the Word N Sound Live Literature Company, which seeks to provide an accessible platform for poets and poetry lovers to engage issues and enjoy art; and the Market Theatre, which provides a space for high quality theatrical productions to be staged and enjoyed.

“We are excited about partnering with the Market Theatre to host this ground-breaking festival. We look forward to seeing Spoken Word take a more prominent role in recording our collective journey as South Africans .” says Qhakaza Mthembu, Festival Director.

The Spoken Freedom Festival will feature screenings of pioneering poetry videos, an open mic slam and of course, performances by some of the leading lights among the spoken word voices in South Africa.

On Thursday 3 July, and Friday doors open at 19:30 with the Thursday shows featuring Conelius Jones, Makhafula Vilakazi & Napo Masheane; and the Friday show having performances by Vuyelwa Maluleke, Natalia Molebatsi and Multe Mothibe.

The weekend shows begin earlier with the Saturday show starting at 14:30 and featuring Andrew Manyika, Richard Quaz Roodt and Vangi Gantsho. The Final show will start at 15:00 and will see Tereska Muishond, Masai Dabula, Mandi Poeffecient Vundla and Modise Sekgothe taking to the stage.

Shows will be interspersed with an Open Mic Slam, Video screenings, and the four-
day programme will be hosted by the crown prince of Johannesburg Spoken Word- Afurakan Mohare.

The Spoken Freedom Festival will run from 3 – 6 July 2014 at the Barney Simon Theatre, Market Theatre Complex, Newtown. All shows cost R50 and the tickets will be available at the theatre’s Box Office.

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Perfect Poem Award | Masai Dabula

Masai Dabula’s poem ‘What Do You Know About Freedom’ has been nominated for the first ever Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award. Find out how to vote for this poem below.

When writing the poem, what did you hope the audience would take/experience/learn from it?
We are not alone, we all go through struggles but the one that is mostly detrimental to us all is ignorance. The purpose of the poem was to adjure people to start questioning what governs us and question what determines morality.

How did the Word N Sound fam receive the poem? Was the feedback positive or negative?
Lol! I can never say. I wish it was positive, because I really do write for my health and a positive sign is good in poetry. All in all, we can never tell what the audience thinks but I’ve been receiving immense love and I’m grateful for that positivity.

If you could perform this piece to anyone in the world (one person or a group) who would it be and why?
I wish God was human for a day. I know that’s a bit far-fetched but wishful thinking never harmed anyone. But for now, I’d like to recite the poem for the president because I feel like the people and the president are not on the same page.

If someone were to hear only one line of your poem, which line would you chose to say?
‘Why would I leave these four visible walls for more invisible walls.” But why deprive yourself of the whole poem? Lol!

How does it feel being nominated for the first ever ‘Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award’?
Yho! YOh! Honoured, it’s more of an incentive to my hard work. Just being nominated is full proof that we the youth of Azania can inspire change in more than one way…

                        


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HOW TO VOTE

It’s so simple to show support for your favourite poem nominated for a Word N Sound Perfect Poem Award. All you have to do is;
1. Like our Facebook page,
2. Find your favourite poem on the page
3. Watch it and
4. Like it!

The video with the most likes + views wins. So get watching and liking, share with your friends all over the world. Voting closes: 7 Dec 12pm

PERFECT POEM AWARD NOMINEES

The category is inspired by Kojo Baffoe’s poem in which he is “on a quest to find the perfect poem, a gentle balance between word, rhythm and thought …a poem that sends the moon and sun dancing over the skyline hand in hand”.

Conelius Jones – Never Meant To Stay
Mandi Poefficient Vundla – The Starving Preface
Mpho Khosi – Where Did It All Go Wrong
Purple Jupiter – Every 17 Seconds
Masai Dabula – What Do You Know About Freedom
King Nova – The House That We Built
Andrew Manyika – Make-Up (Your Mind)
KB Kilobyte – Joburg Let My People Go

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