Tag Archives: Word N Sound 2013 Open Mic Champion Title

#WNSFEST Interview: ANDREW MANYIKA

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So what do Poetry Festivals, Award Shows, Weddings and Fashion Shows have in common?  They’re all events where Andrew Manyika has plied his trade as a Poet, Comedian, and MC.

Sometimes referred to as “the Gentleman of Poetry” due to his penchant for wearing 3-piece suits, Andrew has made quite an impact on the local poetry scene since winning his first ever slam. This was the Gauteng Drama For Life Slam in 2011; and he placed second in the DFL National Grand Slam.

Since venturing into performance poetry and comedy, Andrew has taken to stages including the Johannesburg International Motor Show 2011 (for team Mazda); TEDx Johannesburg 2013; The opening of the LAE Gallery; The UJISS Merit Awards 2013; State Theatre: Night of the Poets 2012. He has been extensively involved in WordNSound since 2012, twice being a finalist in their Open Mic League, MCing several episodes of their series, as well as the Inaugural WNS Poetry Awards (For which he was nominated in the category “Perfect Poem”).

Over the years, Andrew has proven himself to be a capable poet and comedian, having performed at Parkers, The Box, Kitcheners, The Comedy Underground and various private functions. His unique combination of skills (poetry and comedy), allows him to lend a fresh perspective to MCing.

Andrew is born again and endeavours to let this shine through in his art. As the holder of a BCom in Marketing Management; and a BCom (Hons) in Strategic Management, Andrew definitely sees himself as an entrepreneur .

We caught up with Andrew in Soweto recently this is what he had to say:

WNS: What is your biggest pre performance / writing quirk?

AM: I yawn. Like, world-swallowing; breath-leaving-body; drawn-out-sigh type o’ yawning. I think it’s my body trying to manage my nerves before getting on stage. I’m cool by the time I hit the stage though. Also, Pastor Rick Warren, whom I really look up to, once said “Don’t stand before man, without kneeling before God”, so I pray before every show.

My biggest pre-writing quirk? I procrastinate…hard.

WNS: What influence does your poetry have on your comedy or visa versa?

AM: Comedians = storytellers; poets=storytellers. So, I view all stage time as an opportunity to learn. I’m constantly learning technique, delivery, and the dynamics of a crowd and how to create or maintain a certain kind of ambience.

The writing processes are different for me. I write poetry for myself, but by it’s nature, I write comedy for the audience.

WNS: How important is your image as a performer?

AM: It’s very important. As a performer, you become the product and it’s promoter. So there are elements to a “product”, one of which is the packaging. It must be appealing to look at you, and you can achieve that by how you dress, hence this year I’ve been seen wrapped in a suit and tie. Next year we’ll explore other forms of packaging perhaps.

Image is also important in terms of what it is that you purport to stand for. People respond to you if they feel you are being genuine, and they respect you if they can tell you are being consistent.

WNS: Why should one vote for the EFF?

AM: The same reason you’d vote for anybody else: if you believe in their policies.

WNS: Slam vs set performances. Your take?

AM: If I understand the question, you’re contrasting “slam” against “non-competitive performance poetry”? if so, I would say everything has its’ place. In general though I prefer pages to stages (of all kinds); but I understand the capacity of live performance in terms of entertainment value and audience reach, and I enjoy It too. Set performances and slam to me, are very much different sides of one face (on one side of the same coin…& I’m being long-winded again).

WNS: What will the history books say about you?

AM: “Andrew Manyika won souls for Christ. He loved words and story-telling and wrote everything from poems to business proposals. He wrote them well. A family man with a high tailor bill (because he had to get his pants shortened a lot) and dry-cleaning bill (from wearing his heart on his sleeve), he challenged, changed and introduced ideas about things…and he was taller in real life than he looks in the pictures.

WNS: If you were in a slam with God, what would your killer punchline be?

AM: “You literally made time to slam with me | put me in the place of Christ, and said I’m your family | I know you paid the price, for this great life you handed me | made me a branch in the Grapevine | slow matured cause soul-saving takes time | so now my stance when I make rhymes | is to speak the Truth, be no pretender | I get that my victory lies in you, so I surrender. We win”

Those lines were actually kind of nice, so I think I may actually use them.

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#WNSFEST Interview: VANGILE GANTSHO

Vangile_PosterVANGILE GANTSHO began performing seriously in 2005 but has been writing most of her life. She had her first real break performing at Rhyme Alive at the Moonbox Theatre in Pretoria (2005). Since then she has been privileged enough to perform on a variety of both cultural and corporate platforms countrywide.

Vangi co-founded The Jamm Sessions at the University of Pretoria (2005), which in turn lead to Revolutionary Words, and later evolved into The Writers’ Forum: a platform on which young, unknown artists can share their various art forms. In 2009, she saw her brainchild, When the Kats Cum Out to Play, come to life, with performances by incredible artists such as Myesha Jenkins and Nomsa Mazwai.  Until recently, she would have considered this intimate conversation with women through poetry and music to be her most fulfilling poetic experience to date, were it not for her recent standing ovation performance at the 2012 Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture.  The audience included former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, Joaquim Chissano and Pedro Pires as well as many other dignitaries from around Africa and the African diaspora.

As a writer, Vangi has had her work published in The Agenda, BKO, Baobab, Guilotine, was chosen as one of the Next Wave of Poetry Sistas of Love Life Uncut and was profiled and had her work included in UK-based magazine:  Sabel. She recently had the privilege of having Dr Don Mattera take her under his wing and has since organised a workshop called Conversations with Yesterday, where he agreed to sit down with a handful of young poets and discuss the challenges faced by young writers of today.  At present, she is in the process of completing her poetry collection which is being overseen by Dr Don Mattera.  She is a freelance writer, performer and performance coach, poet, blogger (www.vangisafrica.org), student; and you can find her jamming at (sometimes hosting) NO CAMP CHAIRS Poetry Picnic on the grass at the Union Buildings on the second Sunday of every month – a movement she co-founded beginning of 2011.

When we eventually got to sit down with this lover of words her boisterous, animated, hard-talking demeanor belied the gentle girly interior which we only slightly got to glimpse at during our sit-down…

WNS: You’re a poet, an intellect, an activist, and you wear a lot of dresses. These things we know. What mundane or diabolical thing don’t we know about Vangi Gantsho?

VG: I also wear a lot of skirts and all stars.  One of my favourite movies is Clueless.  I love painting my toes in lots of different colours.  At once.  I love limericks and nursery rhymes.

WNS: You’re a self-described blabbermouth, what do you like to blabber most about?

VG: Everything. I’m one of those people who has an opinion about almost everything so thee are few things that are off limits for me.

WNS: Have you seen the movie 27 Dresses? Did it “speak” to you?

VG: Lol!  Wow!  I have seen the movie.  And for the record… I’ve only been a bridesmaid once.  Lol.  On the real though…. Not really.  I’m not a marriage seeker.  Not even sure it’s something I want to venture in (forever is a long time and I’m not sure human beings are designed to be monogamous for that long… and other opinions).  So that movie is a brain fart for me.  And warm and fuzzy and funny because some of those dresses are hideous.

WNS: What is your biggest pre-performance quirk?

VG: I always just want to sleep.  I get so nervous, I just want to sleep.  Sometimes, I want to paint my nails or start singing my poems to make sure I remember the words.

WNS: Why poetry?

VG: Because I am an emotional creature.  And it’s the one medium that allows me to be that freely.  Plus I’m a good listener, which makes me a good messenger.

WNS: What question would you most like to be asked in an interview? Why? How would you answer that?

VG: I like being asked about my dresses. Because my mother makes most of them, and there is something special about performing in a dress that my mother has made just for me.  It also makes me feel held.  By her.

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#WNSFest Interview: MPHO KHOSI

 

Mpho_PosterWnS: You are a self published author, how has the response been to your work, and are there more books in the pipeline?

MM: The book has done well, I have however been a bit lazy in marketing it. But, thanks to a friend, I have managed to sell more books and push it a bit more. There are always more books in the pipeline, I just need to give myself time to sit and start working.

WnS: In the contemporary context, where digital and visual media run the roost, do you feel like there’s still a place for poetry in print.

MM: I was fortunate to meet people who still demand to have printed books, so, there is a platform for printed poetry, we just need to make use of it.

WnS: You incorporate Jazz into your performances. Why that genre, and what Jazz stage would you most love to perform on?

MM: I grew up with jazz and reggae being the theme music at home, so; in a way me incorporating jazz into my work is me paying tribute to my dad for introducing me to the music. It would be an honour and blessing to find myself getting on the joy of jazz stage with a live band one day.

WnS :Have you registered to vote?

MM: I have registered, just need to check if my name is still on the roll. I have voted each year since I became old enough to vote.

WnS: 3rd year running with Word N Sound, what’s that journey been like for you?

MM: It has been an awesome one, Word N Sound grows from year to year.

WnS: What is the one question you’d like to be asked most in an interview. Why? And what would your answer be?

MM: Why do you write? And the answer would be, to express and heal myself of my inner-most pains, that I can’t really speak about.

WnS: If you were in a slam with god, what would your killer punchline be?

MM: Ooh. “you claim to be dope, but yet you created me as a perfection of yourself”

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#WNSFest Interview: Pilgrim

Pilgrim, real name Lucas Serei is a poet, visionary and performer. Born in Pretoria, Lucas moved to the Vaal-Triangle in the mid-90’s where he spent most of his childhood under the care of his grandparents. He was coached with nursery rhymes and ghost stories there, and it is also where his love for writing was born.

He has been building quite a formidable a name for himself in the Johannesburg poetry scene by performing at the Word N Sound Poetry and Music league; as well as being featured on the Word N Sound “Next Generation” Project.

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We recently caught up with Pilgrim for a quick Q&A regarding his forthcoming appearance at the 3rd Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival |Open Mic League Finale taking place on the 30th November 2013, and this is what he had to say:

WNS: What have been the pressures/challenges of having to perform on the Word N Sound stage each month?
Pilgrim: For me one of the biggest challenges was the writing process because in this case I was writing specifically for performance and to add on that challenge was ‘how’ I was to present my craft different and uniquely as I can.

WNS: What makes you think you are going to take this slam?
Pilgrim: I believe most people don’t knows a lot about Pilgrim, so my element of surprise will earn me a short in winning the slam, oh  and my poems of course 🙂

WNS: Who has been your toughest contender all year?
Pilgrim: I believe everyone brought their A-game in every slam, but NoLIFE stood out for me as the toughest contender, no lie there.

WNS: What effect has taking part in the slam had on you as a poet?
Pilgrim: It has allowed me to see how broad and diverse poetry is and through that I was able to grow in terms of my skill of writing as well as the concept in which I wrote about, I was more factious when I started writing and now I am able to write about social issues and so forth.

WNS: What would winning the slam mean for you?
Pilgrim: …it will be a big stepping stone in my poetry ‘life span’, it will mean I achieved the goal I set for myself this year and that people heard and understood my truth.

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#WNSfest Interview: MUTLE MOTHIBE

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WnS: What sets you apart from the rest?

MM: I think being Mutle already sets me apart, interpretation of my reality, my references, the layering I weave into all the work I put out and also my obsession with detail.

WnS: You’ve inspired a lot of people and writers, who and what inspires you?

MM: I’m inspired by everything. From everyday conversations, ambient music, movie scripts, song lyrics, books I read. As to who inspires me, I don’t have that many people of late but I used to live on Shakespeare, Ben Okri, Pablo Neruda. And hip hop artists like Vast Aire, Qwel, Talib, Aesop Rock, I used to (Still do)  memorize their songs and recite them through the day and also would research them to better understand the content and better my writing skills.

WnS: It’s voter registration weekend. Do you have any views on the state of governance in the country?

MM: I think we could do better.

WnS: You recently got back from Cardiff in Scotland, what is it like

MM: It was an eye opener!!! I learned a lot and also was inspired to value my work more, to work harder and see passed the work as just fit for the stage but beyond just performance. I made amazing connections and was humbled by the experience and opportunities.

WnS: If you were in a slam with god, what would your killer punchline be?

MM: My confidence is wilting from tilling her emotional fields hoping that my reasoning will harvest her love organs. I’m running out of words, my lisp is still in season but her lips aren’t here for the picking.

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#WNSFEST Interview: Mapule Mohulatsi

Mapule Mohulatsi was born and raised in Soweto and attended The National School of the Arts where she majored in Dramatic Arts. She is currently a student of History and African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, and can best be described as follows:

Barb Wire. Uhuru. Sex on Black Skin. BushChild. A FatFrog. I am not an Artist, I am a forbidden tantra forest, merely a Dance. I, warmer than the devils tit. Left. Pussy Powerist, diabolically sweetened, valiant lover of bombs and incence, Swahili resides in her hair, a cuckoo nest, Militant warrior the epitome of who’s who in the west, sodomy and incest less, bless!

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Here is what this vivacious wordslinger had to say to the WNS about  her upcoming appearance at the 3rd Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival | Open Mic League Finale taking place on the 30th November 2013:

WNS: What have been the pressures/­challenges of having to perform on he Word N Sound stage each month?
Mapule:
Getting there on time for the list.

WNS: What makes you think you are going to take this slam?
Mapule:
I don’t think I’m going to, I don’t have any reason to think so, I haven’t been what you’d call ‘consistent’. Plus I think NoLife deserves it.

WNS: Who has been your toughest contender all year?
Mapule: 
I’m not competitive at all. (Slamming is the hardest thing I’ve done to myself, having a contender would kill me. I can’t do that)

WNS: What effect has taking part in the slam had on you as a poet?
Mapule:
 I’ve been the most inspired by the amazing poetry that exists. I don’t need Youtube as much for inspiration.

WNS: What would winning the slam mean for you?
Mapule: 
Uhm, probably less slamming.

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