Poetry Took Centre Stage in 2013 #PoetryWins

Lethabo Bogatsu

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The 3rd Annual WordNSound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival kicked off with the Creative Hustle workshop. The Panel members from Bozza Mobile, Roundhouse, Word N Sound and Cape Town Poet Toni Stuart provided some insightful information on digital tools for the new age artist. HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN… The host for the […]

The 3rd Annual WordNSound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival kicked off with the Creative Hustle workshop. The Panel members from Bozza Mobile, Roundhouse, Word N Sound and Cape Town Poet Toni Stuart provided some insightful information on digital tools for the new age artist.


The host for the festival was Andrew Manyike, a poet and stand up comedian.  He did a wonderful job as MC and managed to keep the audience’s spirits up throughout.

First up on stage was Kurt Schroder from Pretoria, who gave a heartfelt poem about addiction then an enthralling piece about an eccentric girl  he met in Cape Town named “Amelia”.  He ended off his set with a short quirky poem called “Baby Potatoes”.  Toni Stuart graced the stage with a beautiful poem in memory of Anene Booysen, a teenager from Bredasdorp in the Western Cape who was brutally raped & murdered. Her next poem was a rendition of Paradise Road by Joy incorporated with her material & her final poem was a scenic piece called Mountain Song.

Mpho Khosi, who is considered a veteran on the poetry circuit, was next on stage. His material is heavily influenced by politics and pan-africanism. He recited a beautiful poem called “Heritage” which talks about freedom & how it’s just a facade that we live in. His 3rd poem was a brutally honest poem about how we as black people are starting to degrade ourselves & we are are beginning to act out the stereotype the Apartheid regime put on us.

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Vangile Gantsho from Pretoria brought the tone of the evening down a notch with a piece “I expect more from you” about the undervalued/underappreciated, often disregarded efforts and sacrifices of black women in the struggle/fight for liberation against Apartheid. She says she writes from a place of black womanhood, which is very clear and apparent in her poetry. Her book “Undressing in front of a window” will be out next year January. She’s very excited about it, because she had “some really amazing people lend their voice to it”.


Mutle Mothibe,  the self-proclaimed “International Spoken-word Artist”, delivered the best performance of the night right after the short interval. His first poem was called “On emotions and gardening”, which he wrote while trying to come to terms with and get over a bad relationship and find himself again. All this was done with the help of an instrumental in the background. Then he performed a visual poem with the aid of a video titled “Mutle Mothibe meets Justin”, which sent goosebumps throughout the intimate crowd and received a standing ovation.

Nova Masango from Motif Records is known for her amazing stage presence & assertive delivery. She is a former open-mic champion & returned to her old stomping ground to deliver her signature material once more. She performed a fan favourite “The house we built” and “Johannesburg let my people glow”.  The latter was dedicated to the majestic city of gold and the people who make the city what it is.

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Makhafula Vilakazi was the last poet on stage. He has a unique style of delivery which can only be described as raw and authentic. He recites all his poems in tsotsi/kasi taal, a style which resonated well with the audience when he delivers his material. He did a poem about an abandoned baby who grows up to become a thug, the picture he painted using his words was so vivid it felt like we were all watching it on screen. He did another poem about mothers who take care of their kids which closed off the poetry section well.

Singer Bongeziwe Mabandla closed off the show in its entirety with his eclectic & dynamic vocal display. He performed some new music and even though it was well past midnight the small crowd stayed behind to enjoy some authentic South African sounds.


The Friday section of the 3 day festival was thoroughly enjoyable (mind you all this is coming from the opinion of someone who’s never been to a poetry show before). It doesn’t hurt to get a little culture every once in a while. #PoetryWins! Turnt Up!

Obviously one night of poetry wasn’t enough, because day 2 of the festival went down almost as well as the first night.

 After 8 interesting months of intense competition between 5 of Joburg’s dopest emerging  spoken word talent for the sought after title of Word N Sound Open Mic Champion.

The challengers: NoLIFE; Elysium Garcia, Mapule Mohulatsi, Mandi Poefficient Vundla and Lucas Pilgrim Serei. They all did a commendable job, each leaving their own unique mark on the stage.

As a musical interlude to break all the tense competition, 5 piece band “About that Life” consisting of 4 knights and the beautiful goddess Lwazilubanzi Mthembu got the crowd grooving with their neo-afro jazz sound. Their performance was both soulful and upbeat.

At the end of it all, Mandi Poefficient Vundla came out victorious for the second consecutive time. So overwhelmed was she when her name was announced that she had a hard time composing herself, but when she finally did she blew the audience away with her poem “Rape Capital of the Womb”. She won R1500 in cash, Rora and Black Letter Media merchandise, a profile on Bozza Mobile with a dedicated digital campaign to drive traffic to her online content, and a feature on Times Live Radio and a chance to tour with WordNSound.

As if one night of poetry wasn’t enough, poets and lovers of poetry enjoyed yet another night  of spoken word.

Afurakan took over the reigns from Quaz of Likwid Tongue fame as MC for the night.


Our local spoken word talent did a remarkable job, especially Vuyelwa Maluleke with her poem “Big School”. Other notable poets include the handsome Conelius Jones who is known for driving the ladies a little wild with his words, as well as Natalia Molebatsi, Masai Dabula and Dikson from the Shoko festival in Zimbabwe.


The UK poets did a great job as well.  Harry Baker had a very mellow set of comical, light yet honestly vulnerable pieces. His set was a mix of playful rhythm and diction as well as crazy alliteration, where almost every word started with a P, which must have been quite difficult to pull off. An obvious favourite was “Dinosaur Love”.

Vipe, who reminded me more of a rapper on the come-up rather than an established poet, even though rap is rhythm and poetry, was also great.

The ever beautiful Catherine Labiran uses her Anglo-American and Nigerian background as inspiration. She took to the stage with a poem-prayer she felt she needed to write since Nigerians love to pray.

Later on that same night, Khethi & her Afro Twists took to the stage but had to fight the sound of the rain which was showing very little mercy.

Rain or no rain, both poetry lovers and more so the poets left the festival feeling inspired. Catherine was excited to go home and write some more material.

Make sure to check out all these poets in 2014 as they are sure to be setting stages alight with great poetry!

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Follow Lethabo Afrika Bogatsu @CallMeAfrika

and Thapelo Mosiuoa @Thapelo_Mosiuoa

Images: Siya Mkhasibe @Todar88 and Nzolo Ezee Bidla @Iam_Mr_eZEE