Thursday, October 4, 2012

In Conversation with Qhakaza Mbali Mthembu

Word n Sound Poetry and Music Series is a perfect example of “if you have an idea – run with it”. We've seen movements come and go but Word n Sound has proved its staying power. 

The three minds behind WnS, Qhakaza Mbali Mthembu, Thabiso “Afurakan” Mohare and Mduduzi "Dj Duce" Mvemve have not only done their bit to keep the poetry scene in Johannesburg alive but they've made it interesting. 

One member down and a couple of venues later the festival is celebrating its second year. New faces have braved the competitive space and the fight for the number one spot has been amazing to watch. 

WnS has grown since its days of an audience of less than ten and the open-mic session was a painful experience. I had a short and sweet chat with Qhakaza; the rose among thorns and also called ‘mother’ by some artists.

Planning WnS Festival 2013 was… interesting because since this is our second year there were things we thought we were sure about but we learnt that experience doesn't always mean much in terms of making the planning any easier.

It was also exciting because this year the following increased and the competition is much tighter. 

2011 it was Masai Dabula vs Nova…this year performers accumulated points for each performance so it was rare to have a feud similar to that of Masai and Nova. 

This year the new system gave more credit to consistency, so we've seen a bigger group of poets fighting got the number one post. So it’s not a fight between two people but a feud between the most talented young minds I know.

Female voices…have increased. In our second year running we've reached a larger pool of poets and naturally female poets have stepped up. 

They've been amazing. Mandi has been in the top five for most of the year and even owned the top spot a couple of times. Her success proves that women do slam and do it well, contrary to popular belief. 

The beauty about poetry is that it is about words and the best poems come from a very honest place. 

So women are finding a lot of comfort in themselves through poetry and being able to speak from a feminine and honest place.

Creating a platform for poets… is one of the best feelings in the world. I create a show I’d want to see as an audience member. 

But I only have so much control as the organiser because when an artists magic starts working I have to let go. My commitment to WnS is goes far beyond poetry. It’s a commitment to art itself.

If you are in Jozi on Saturday, 6 October 2012, come through to Emonti on Bree Street. R100 gets you in and from 12 until late you'll have a great time. 

Follow: @WordnSound for more updates in the day!

#All images were supplied by Word n Sound

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