Tag Archives: showcase

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

Mandisa

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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“I am a writer before I am a performer” – Conelius Jones

Conelius

This year saw the inaugural annual Spoken Freedom Festival at the Market Theatre. The Festival sought to reflect on 20 years of freedom through the art of poetry.

The four-day affair played host to 14 of South Africa’s most exciting and influential voices. Conelius Jones gave a stellar performance that has earned him a Best Showcase nomination at this year’s Word N Sound Awards.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
This performance felt like it was my first showcase, I suppose I felt like that because I hadn’t showcased my work in a while. It was special because my parents were in the audience, and I was sharing a stage with Napo Masheane and Makhafula Vilakazi.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
My highlight has been getting the chance tour and perform in Germany. This trip has actually been the highlight in my poetry career. I got to perform at the Berlin Poetry Festival, it was such an incredible experience and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
Xabiso Vili, Modise Sekgothe, Makhafula Vilakazi, Zewande Bhengu, Bafentse Ntlokoa. These poets have stood out this year, they are amazing writers and talented performers.

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
Saul Williams. He just has so much passion when he’s on stage. I think being around someone like that would have a great influence on me as a performer.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
Everything is on hold at the moment. I’d like to focus more on my writing, I personally believe that is the essence of my craft. I am a writer before I am a performer. So the only thing I’m working on now is just growing as a writer.

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“Working with the band gave me endless possibilities” – Jitsvinger

Jitsvinger

Imagine a band that had never rehearsed or even met performing alongside a poet whose poetry they have never heard. Sounds like the perfect recipe for disaster…or a truly magical experience where art is born right before your eyes.

In March, Chris Redmond hosted his legendary Tongue Fu shows in Johannesburg and in Cape Town featuring local poets and musicians.

In Cape Town, it was hip hop artist Jitsvinger who was the highlight of the show, earning him this Best Showcase nomination.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
I enjoyed performing an unrehearsed set with a band I never knew. Before going on stage I gathered how well they know their instruments which gave me endless possibilities.
What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
The highlight this for me was working with the primary school learners on writing a public poem that “greets” visitors to their town called Darling which was unveiled at the opening of this year’s Voorkamerfest.
Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
I enjoyed watching Siphokazi Jonas perform her poetry alongside a young man called Josh Prinsloo. You should be on the look out for this here!

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
I would love to be on stage with the legendary Pops Mohamed! He showed me how hip and relevant traditional instruments can be played alongside mainstream types of music.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
I’m currently working on a project called Jitsenic alongside Hip Hop beatmaker and producer Arsenic which made its debut at the annual Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and WITS University’s 969Fest this year!

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“At times, only the poem exists, not Modise, not the audience” – Modise Sekgothe

ModiseSekgothe

Poetry lovers have come to expect nothing short of extraordinary when Modise Sekgothe steps to the stage. His showcase at the inaugural annual Spoken Freedom Festival at the Market Theatre did not disappoint.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
There was definitely something special for me, through and through. At times you perform and you’re giving it your all but it doesn’t always amount to that. Sometimes the microphone isn’t positioned properly and that fucks with some of my focus, there are very little things, sometimes the sound is too low or too high and that affects me.

Such distractions take away from how deeply I can be immersed in the energy of the poem, this means forgetting myself and forgetting everyone there with me, it means forgetting that this is a performance and embodying and morphing into the poem itself, at that time only the poem exists, not Modise, not the audience, not the microphone, not the instrumental or the bad speakers, just the energy, enveloping every part of me from the inside out, out of every one of my pores into every one of your pores as the audience.

It’s when I strip completely and I let every part of me to light and it’s clear to the observer and they enter and we journey, we forget and by the time we remember, we’re no longer the same, perhaps just a little bit, but we’re transformed forever by the experience.

This was my experience, I can’t attest to what the audience felt of course but…it’s come to me that at that point, there is no audience, there’s just the poem, and we all feel it in the same way when it’s allowed to live completely.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
The afore mentioned performance.

Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
Zewande Bhengu. He’s a monster! His skill as a performer is generations away from where I am, I wanna get there. I am very inspired by what he does when he’s on stage.

Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
Koleka Putuma. I think she’s amazing.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
Yes, I am working on a project called “Metropolar” with Jotam Schoeman, who’s an insanely amazing Pretorian-based sketch-artist, visual artist and musician. “Metropolar” is a musical, spoken word, audiovisual production based on the Johannesburg CBD, all its horrors and beauties as observed and experienced by him and myself. It was born from an exhibition that he had at the Rubix Cube gallery in Maboneng, also portraying the harsh and interesting reality of life in the CBD.

It’s a cool exploration of animation, video, sketch art, music and spoken word, I flex my singing skills in it…hehehe, he created a stop-motion video from his sketches creating an animated stop-motion representation of the poetry and music and theme.

We’ve performed at the Rubix-cube gallery as part of Writers on Main, twice at the Atterbury Film Festival in Pretoria and will be producing a DVD to sell to the buying masses early next year. It’s going to be great!

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“Poetry has been my quiet friend” – Vuyelwa Maluleke

VuyelwaMaluleke

When you first hear of the concept behind Chris Redmond’s Tongue Fu shows, you think it near impossible to get right. It takes a truly exceptional artist to perform seamlessly with a band who has never played together…or even met.

When the task of curating such a show was thrown our way, we knew former Purple Jupiter member, Vuyelwa Maluleka would be up for the challnge. But we were never ready for the show she put on for us.

Tell us about this performance? Was there anything special for you? Did you enjoy it?
I remember leading up to the performance feeling like I made a big mistake saying yes. I hate change, but change is the only way my work can move, it is how I work. I mean that I am an artist so I am supposed to be adaptable, to try things. But I was terrified, kept saying it and was so surprised that I loved every moment, how much fun it was.

What has been your highlight as a poet this year?
This has been the year for acting for me, moving into a new medium- television has been challenging and rewarding in the lessons it has given me about how I like to make work and what kind of work I’m interested in.

I was also shortlisted for the Brunel African poetry Prize and by this time next year I will have a chapbook to share. Poetry has been my quiet friend this year, i’ve read more than I’ve watched and I’ve been observing more than I’ve been doing. I believe in that ‘thinking, seeing, feeling’ break.


Which poet have you really enjoyed hearing/reading/watching this year? Who should we be looking out for?
Because I’ve focused my year on acting , I am so disconnected from the current climate of Joburg spoken word. When I say I’ve been reading, I have been reading, right now, Sonia Sanchez, Sandra Cisneros and Junot Diaz.


Who would you love to share a stage with and why?
I don’t know, I feel like collaborations in poetry is rare and lovely and time consuming and rare and rare.

Are you working on any interesting projects?
I am working on a show called ‘Ketekang that will be showing at the Market Theatre, i can’t wait!

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