Tag Archives: queen of the mic

REIGNING QUEEN SET TO KICK START THE 5th SEASON OF THE WORDNSOUND POETRY LEAGUE

Thando Buthelezi, reigning queen of the WordnSound mic

QUEEN OF THE WORD N SOUND MIC [2015]

What better way to kick start the 5th Season of the Word N Sound Poetry League than to launch our 1st show of the year with the reigning Queen of the WordnSound mic, Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi.

We chat to the Boston Media Graduate about the fine line between hiphop and poetry, her brewing audio tape and why she won’t be defending her title.

“My biggest regret as a writer is that for so many years i neglected the fact that i’m writer”

  1. What impact has slam poetry had on you as a poet?
    It has diverted me completely from being content with having produced good work or “DOPE” stuff by instilling in me the Discipline of not settling for anything less than Quality Work and also I appreciate other peoples poetry a lot more
  2. You hold the WordnSound 2015 Queen of the mic title. What responsibilities
    do you think this title carries?

    Considering that a foundation of Sisters Reigning has already been laid, i’d suppose my responsibility is to keep the culture going by encouraging more and more ladies to come out their shells and actually slam so we can take it again this year.
  3. They say there’s a fine line between hiphop and poetry, your writing style borrows from HipHop. Would you say there’s a difference between the genres, if so please substantiate.
    The main reason I think I’m actually able to borrow elements of hip hop and fuse them with my poetry, is because I guess to some degree I do believe that the two genres are the same, there only difference I’d say is the rate of growth, hip hop is obviously growing a lot faster than spoken word. Unfortunately the more it evolves, there more it drifts from being a sibling of poetry to a distant cousin. But they still family.
    [I also don’t understand what the heck I just said lol.]
  4. It is known that you won’t be defending your title at the WNS 2015 Poetry League, Why?
    The word n sound experience was really great and I’d love to do it all over again but more than that I think I would love to see somebody else being awarded the same opportunity that I was given. Because I believe we’ve all worked equally hard and deserved the title.
  5. As a Boston Media House graduate, how does your media qualification benefit your poetry?
    It has helped me to think strategically, coz before I even put words together I’m already thinking of how I will be able to sell this body of work as a product. Also Doing Radio has helped a lot with improving my Voice, I project a lot better now and all the breathing and MiC techniques I’ve learned, I can now apply when perfoming my poetry as well.
  6. You are currently recording your audio tape, what strategy have you put in place to ensure it becomes a success?
    Well I intend on branching out of the Jo’burg scene for a while, travel around to secure a larger fan base., I’ll be certainly Making use of Broadcast and Social Media Platforms a lot more than i did before because My project is not something i want to limit to the Poetry Scene, it’s for everybody and with that said im challenged also to put together a balanced sound which is accommodating to every person.
  7. You comprise 1 part of the Phenomenal 9.
    a) What is the phenomenal 9?
    It’s a divine sisterhood aimed at eliminating competitiveness among us women in the poetry circle and encourages unity and friendship beyond poetry sessions. Because we are a lot more stronger as a unit.

    The Phenomenal 9

    b) What is the core function of this group in the evolution of the poetry industry today?
    Our core function in evolving poetry is to introduce the breaking of boundaries.
    We have now brought theatre to our ordinary stages, to ordinary people, that’s a culture that we would like to see grow, to see a lot more poets stepping out of their comfort zones.

    c) Where can 1 find a sample of work the group has produced?
    We have a Facebook page and all information regarding our work is there, our Women’s day tour was filmed as well as the CLEANSING show we had in December. We hope to avail it to the public soon.

  8. What has been your greatest regret as a writer
    My biggest regret as a writer is that for so many years i neglected the fact that i’m writer. I feel like i would have been a lot further than i am now had i took my craft seriously from the onset and invested in it.
  9. If you had to improve the WordnSound Poetry league by adding an element of your choice to the platform, what would you add?
    I would segment the slam into categories maybe, coz I’ve noticed the many different elements that people have brought forward and I would like to see more of that variety being acknowledged and celebrated on the WNS Stage.
  10. Which poem have you listened to and thought, snap why didn’t I think of that?
    Xongani Maluleke’s SIDE CHICK poem. It’s the ONE shem ay!
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Showcasing the Queen of the Mic…

All Hail Thando Buhelezi Reigning Queen of the Mic

All Hail Thando Buhelezi
Reigning Queen of the Mic

Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi blazed a remarkable trail through Season 4 of the WordNSound Poetry Slam League in 2014. A feat she brilliantly topped off with stellar performances at the Annual WordNSound International Youth Poetry Festival at the Soweto Theatre in October where she was ultimately crowned the Queen of the Mic.

She says that the endearing lesson she walked away from her yearlong battle on the WNS Slam stage was of disciplinehard-work and commitment to all aspects of her craft. Heading this lesson paid off, as Thando adamantly made her way through to the end not just for herself but for all those who supported her all the way.

What added to her spectacular journey was that Thando strives to write in and incorporates as much isiZulu into her work as possible and says: “Writing in Zulu is actually hard. I had to read, I had to learn, even the accent. I had to work on it because I had gotten used to the English way of writing”.

As the reigning Queen of the Mic Thando ‘The Poet’ Buthelezi will showcase her her witty wordplay and ethnically inspired writing as the feature Poet at the Premier Episode to Season 5 of the WordNSound Poetry League.

In closing Thando’s advice to those who want to slam in this years’ WNS Poetry League would be to take the Word N Sound stage seriously, and to do this for themselves more than to compete.

Video clips of our previous interaction with Thando:

Thando Buthelezi…:

  • … is a Johannesburg based EMCEE, Songwriter and poet.
  • … first entered the scene in 2009 as just a rapper  before venturing into poetry late 2012
  • … has performed at many shows and has shared the stage with various poetry greats,
  • … has earned championship titles at slam Competitions and featured on hip hop mixtapes.
  • … fuses her poems with music and theatrical elements and makes use of Props and writing poetry in her Zulu language
  • … has made guest appearances on: YO-TV’s Blue Couch, Mzansi Insider and Soweto TV.
  • … has being granted platforms such as Eldos FM, VoW FM, Mogale FM, Rainbow and UJ FM to showcase her work
  • … writings has been published in various print media.
  • … participated in the DSTV tour across JHB CBD taxi ranks to raise awareness on women and child abuse.
  • … was selected to be a part of the Phenominal 9 women tour which happens annually on women’s day to celebrate sisters that are doing well within the arts.
  • … co-founded  the Sandton Poetry festival which celebrated Poetry movements that existed in and around Johannesburg.
  • … is currently recording her debut Poetry Audio Tape due for release layer this year
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Are you ready for SA’s toughest slam?

S5Ep1_7FebFB Get excited for your first dose of poetry, as we unveil our newly branded 5th Season of the Word N Sound Poetry League.

Kicking things off in Season 5’s first Episode of the Poetry League is the reigning Queen Of The Mic, Her Majesty, Thando Buthelezi – whose ethnically infused style of writing coupled with her witty word play creates a body of work unique only to her. She will be accompanied by 20 of Jozi’s dopest poets all gunning for her spot on the throne.

Have you got your eye on the Poetry League Champion title? Make sure you arrive early to sign up for SA’s toughest slam.

So join us for what promises to be the hottest poetry premiere of the calendar, as we anticipate more thrills, more spills, more spoils, more props, more poems and more everything. Episode 1 comes as a welcomed reprieve for most poetry lovers who’ve been starved of poetry thus far, so the only question is: are you ready for this year’s Word N Sound Poetry League?

Join us at the Market Theatre Lab in Newtown, doors will open at 12pm, the League kicks off at 1pm. The Queen of the mic showcases at 4pm.

Tickets will be sold for R50 at the door and space is limited.

…in #WordNSound we trust…

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Word N Sound crowns a new Queen of the Mic

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.

Day1_Slam

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.

 

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi  2014 WordNSound Queen Of The Mic

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi
2014 WordNSound Queen Of The Mic

“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.

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And in this corner… Introducing the Top 6 Contenders for the crown!

Top6

Ahead of the 4th annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival, we sent our members of our content team into the training camps of the Top 6 Contenders for the coveted 2014 Open Mic Champion title. Our mission was to see who would rattle who between our fearless contributors and these warriors while trying to find out more about them.

Before we profile each of them we decided to tease you a bit. Accordingly we asked Kgotatso Maditse [the newest member of our content team] to put together an introductory package, so let’s find out why these Contenders think they should win, and what they will be bringing to the stage.

Thando

Nothando Nelisiwe Buthelezi is a writer and poet. She writes poetry, scripts, music and plays. Thando turns to writing to vent frustrations and bring healing not only to herself but also to others. In her own words, she writes for “the rural ones who write in Zulu and don’t have a formal way of writing”.

If she wasn’t a writer though, Thando says she wouldn’t mind being a cyclist because of her love of bicycles.

Props must be given to her for writing in Zulu. Poems like uThembeka have literally brought tears to Word N Sound audience eyes, but she admits that it doesn’t come as easily as it sounds.

“Writing in Zulu is actually hard. I had to read, I had to learn, even the accent. I had to work on it because I had gotten used to the English way of writing”

Asked why she should win, she simply said “because I want that money!”

Thando

Nkosinathi Gaar

Theatre director and actor Nkosinathi Gaar says he’s been trying to get to the top for a while, and finally, he is here. This multi-talented and multi-lingual, young man speaks three languages fluently [one being German], and also plays the guitar, and bass, and is a competent songwriter.

A consummate lover of words and ideas and “how they come together”, Nkosinathi admits he feels compelled to write because it is important to, “anchor down experiences and emotion and try to give them voice. Writing has the capacity to change things, which I think is important”.

One cannot miss his animated face and general mannerism, but this is not an alter ego, rather different aspects of himself.

No stranger to the poetry scene, and the stage in general, Nkosinathi feels he should win simply because, “I’m a strong writer and performer”

Nkosinathi

Xabiso

When he is not blowing peoples’ minds away, Xabiso Vili is running events, as well as writing and performance workshops in Pretoria, and the greater GP, in hopes of building a strong portfolio for him to study drama therapy.

Xabiso has a deep passion for art and its remedies and says he writes to make sense of himself and his inner workings, of society and how he relates to society and vice versa. He believes art is a powerful medium which is important to “better not only ourselves, but our communities. Art has the capacity to do that”.

Having grown up watching Jo’burg poets on various stages, Xabiso feels blessed, lucky and excited to be in the finals, and believes he should win because he is “Sharing an honesty other people relate to!”

Oh, and he’s not fond of losing.

Xabiso

NoLIFE

Once upon a time, there was a graffiti artist that would write “(No)body (LI)ves (F)or(E)ever, which then got shortened to NoLIFE. A lover of hip-hop, poet and rapper Carlos NoLIFE Ncube, also known as Snooty Esoteric, is back in the top 5. Well, 6 this time.

Some of his poems have a tone that can easily be read as anger, but NoLIFE says that’s just how his passion translates.

“I believe passion is driven by anger. But I also believe that passion has multiple facets. So for different people it manifests through other emotions whereas for me it manifests in what seems to be anger.”

A self-professed minimalist, NoLIFE says that all he is bringing to the stage is all his words and passion.

“Language is binding, so it is all about sharing perspective and creating discussion. Writing is a personal public thing for me!”

Asked why he should win, he says it’s time he harvests the fruits of his labour. “Poetry is war, and I’m armed!”

NoLIFE

Bafentse

After a 7 year hiatus from the stage, poet Bafentse Ntlokoa, says she wasn’t even competing when performing on the Word N Sound stage earlier this year, she was just performing.

“I kind of missed performing on stage, and I like Word N Sound because it has bright lights and you can’t really see the audience. It was about performing.”

Some of her poems, like “Beautiful Like A Gaping Wound”, sound like odes; like she is in awe of her subject.

“I marvel at life… In all its vastness, in all its contradiction. I’m a seeker and enquirer of life, constantly questioning things. Like why I do whatever I do? Why I participate in whatever I participate in? So I marvel at how it’s ever changing, and it’s so vast. And there’s so much more of my own self to discover all of the time. So many layers.”

Excited to be in the Top 6, Bafentse says she should win because, “My writing is raw and honest … and me!”

Bafentse

Zewande

Zewande Bhengue, also known as #Mcmora, was a finalist in the Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam earlier this year, and now, is a contender for the Open Mic Champion title.

Zewande takes performance poetry to a whole new level, so he brings along his words, sounds, theatre (even chains and bare backs) to the stage. He is on a mission to bring something different and unique to the stage.

“It’s for this same reason that I want to take a break from slamming next year. I just want to explore slam and try to expand it beyond what it is understood as being. So I am trying to do something that other people are not doing. It adds quite a lot, for myself but for the audience as well, to get a picture of where the poem is coming from. That’s why I do that.”

Zewande wants to be remembered for his dedication to his art.

“I want to be remembered for being a guy who gave his all to art, and all art-forms that I engage because I do quite a bit outside of poetry. So I want to be known as the guy who not only gave his all but was also successful in all those art-forms.”

Asked why he should win, Zewande says he doesn’t know, but if he were to give a reason in 6 words, he thinks he should be crowned, “Because I’m better!”

Zewande

The battle lines have clearly been drawn. One thing is for sure, each of these warrior is aware of their formidable opponents and the pressure is on. Now let the games begin!

That being said, we are all dying to see what the Top 6 have in store for us.

Oh, just in case you wanted to know, our hard-hitting contributors held their own during their encounters with the Top 6 Warriors, but the war is not over so that’s a story for another day.

In Word and Sound we trust!

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‘I was born for this’ – Mandi

WnS-1-Feb-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?
Colour.

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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