WordNSound presents a Live Literature Company

The Word N Sound Live Literature Company is spear headed by 12 arts entrepreneurs of which 9 are performance poets and 1 an Vocalist and actress.

Andrew Manyika is an award winning poet and comedian who has performed in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has appeared at the Harare International Festival of the Arts 2014, TEDx Johannesburg 2013, Melville Poetry Festival and appeared twice on the first season of ZimComedyLive and performed Comedy at Oliver Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye.

Andrew

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am Andrew Manyika. I’m Word N Sound’s Marketing Officer, host of the Word N Sound Awards (from Inception); MC of Word n Sounds Poetry Corner, sometime host of Word N Sound Series, Perfomance Poet in the Open Mic League, and generally involved with the Word N Sound Festival from it’s inception
  2. What department do you man?
    Marketing & Public Relations.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    My goal is to ultimately increase the visibility of poetry and performance poetry in Africa as a vehicle for communication. But in the short term- poetry on more platforms, poets in more spaces.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To Position Word N Sound as the go-to stable for performance poetry and our other various activities.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    Resources do not abound, and the one to which this most applies is time. This being the case, we have to work within the confines of the amount of time and money available, as most company members have other jobs that necessitate an “after-hours” approach to running the company. Given that Word N Sound is largely a digital brand, ease of access to the internet becomes of paramount importance for doing things as basic as show invites (which, on a smart-phone can be quite a task). With more money, we could have a full-time staff contingent and that should translate to more efficient work.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    With some difficulty. For instance, suppose there was a slam, and one had two weeks to prepare, but also there was a festival and one had to prepare a press release and interviews within three weeks, and those two overlapped. Something might have to give yeah? So those are the kinds of challenges one faces, the live shows are things one watches in retrospect because in real-time one has administrative aspects of the show that need taking care of. The rewards are of course that you get to be part of a vision that can change part of the world. How many people can say that?Mutle


MUTLE MOTHIBE
Widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering artists of the current generation of South African spoken word, Mutle is a founding member of the group Inaudible which released the acclaimed album “Definition”; as well as Brake Seshions which produced the play “Estar”. In his own right, this multi-faceted author has released the album “In_Sense” and has performed on most major poetry stages in South Africa and has performed in Cardiff, Scotland.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutle Mothibe. Spoken word artist and also the International Relations manager of Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am The International Relations Manager
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    Make sure we have better relations with more artists internationally. Make sure international powerhouses and poetry movements know of our company and refer to us as the first landing spot when it comes to collaborating and also hosting us when we tour in their area.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To make sure we are the first reference spot when international artists come to our country
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I have noted that much as its not my department we need to get more conceptual videos and better quality vids on the net so international houses see the calibre of work we produce. This will give us a better standing when it comes to the view. Will collaborate with multimedia department and make sure this look is accomplished. Get more intel on international festivals so we can be on the A list of most of their rosters.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I dedicate one day of my week to admin… other days are then dedicated to my craft and all my other responsibilities

Bonga
Bonga Ndziweni
was born in the Eastern Cape, like all the other kids he wanted to be a doctor or a teacher and at the time had no idea that poetry even existed. In 2001 he moved to Jo’burg but it would only be around 2005/6 that he was introduced to poetry and like the perfect love Story they’ve been together since.
An artist and optimist Bonga’s poetry is often a parody of itself, depicting depth as comical ‘shallowness’. He has been performing for 3 years now, won slams and has performed around S.A.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Bonga a writer and performance poet, I am also one of the people responsible for bringing WnS followers to the dopest shows ever.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the Shelela Boys Tuck shop, occasional PC host, and Future brand manager… watch this space.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To set-out a clear and unmistakable brand presence, establishing WnS as the premium go-to poetry brand.
  4. What vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To grow into a brand that can attract funding, inspire collaborations and be a top of the mind brand when it comes to poetry in South Africa.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We need a brand strategy session – to outline brand ambitions and objectives.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Making time for everything is a little bit tricky, but has I grow into the various roles, I think it will become a lot easier to find the balance needed.

Qhakaza
Qhakazambalikayise Thato Mthembu
is a multi talented and multi-tasking journalist, multimedia producer, writer, events organiser, arts enthusiast, education activist and a true reflection of the new energy propelling South African youth.She is currently a Digital Content Creator at Don’t Look Down and the Managing Director and co-founder of The Word N Sound Live Literature Company.She has worked as City Press’ Web Editor and Multimedia Editor. She is also the founding member of an education intervention NPO called Miyela.She studied Journalism and Media Studies along with Political and International Studies at Rhodes University where she was an active member of the poetry society, wrote for the student publication and hosted popular shows on Rhodes Music Radio. Qhakaza is a legend in the making and believes she, just as all young people in a society, is a powerful agent of social change.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Qhakaza Mbali Mthmbu. I am the co-founder of Word N Sound and the Managing Director.
  2. What department do you man?
    As Managing Director I over see all departments, working closely with the dept heads. I also manage the blog and all of WNS’ digital properties; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud and Instagram. Thabiso and I also head up the vision and strategy for the ever-growing company?
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    Wow! My biggest goal which I hope to make real progress in is getting more young poets to to start publishing their own books. We are launching the digital store in November so this next year is the true test of how commercially viable poetry is. I also really really want us to own our own venue. I’m tired of being at the mercy of venue owners who do not respect us as business people and have no understanding of our craft.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?Word N Sound digital footprint has been expanding in an amazing way. Now the challenge is to create more in depth and regular content around the work we do and the amazing poets that grace our stages. I would love to see our Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog stats rising, this is already happening so I’m glad.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?Our biggest challenge at the moment is time. With our team holding down day jobs or free-lancing we can not invest the necessary time to creating compelling content. We also need to train new members on digital journalism which in itself is an ever changing industry.We are working hard at getting funding to allow more time to be freed up in order for us to do all the things we have wanted to do. With training, it’s a learn on the job kind of set up. The more we do, the more we learn.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of having a 9-5, being the WNS MD and being an active member of the WNS team?Balancing a very demanding and challenging 9 to 5 with being MD of a dynamic and growing company is very difficult. To be honest, some times I really don’t cope. after a long day at the office the last thing I want to do is continue working, but it has to be done. I have a great team so work is easily shared among us and when you understand the goal and the grand vision, it keeps you motivated to keep pushing. It’s not easy but the reality is that it has to be done in order for us to help build careers for the next generations of writers and performers so that they don’t have to juggle a ‘real job’ and their passion.But another reality is that it’s important for artists and creatives to know how to juggle admin and their craft. We need to take full ownership of our work and stop relying on 3rd parties who might not have our best interests at heart.

Xongi
Xongani Maluleka
, aka Claudia Mac, is a writer, poet and performer from Soweto, Braamfischer. The 22 year old only started performing when she got to varsity as it allowed more leverage for diverse styles of the spoken word. The Fore.Word Poetry society at the University of Johannesburg was the first platform that opened doors to many stages.

Claudia Mac is known for her controversial take on social matters, challenging and questioning the norms, breaking boundaries to create new ones. These have made her style of writing unique thus securing her own signature.

She has performed at multiple open mic sessions where she learnt how to familiarise herself with the audience and stage. The shows that sit close to her heart are her first showcase at the Next Generation: Let’s Talk Homosexuality, where she stood as an LGBTI ally because these are issues that are sensitive and should be acknowledged. She was even coined ‘the gay poet’.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Xongani Maluleka, I am a poet and also the He.d of Production manager for Word N Sound.
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the Head of Production manager for the WNS.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    I would like to foresee growth and fluidity in the execution of our shows. Creating more shows across the country so poets in areas outside Johannesburg can be afforded the same opportunities as those who have access to it. I would also like the WNS to form part of the arts and culture department in South Africa in a more critical manner.
    I would like to be more involved in my department, growing and making sure that I become fully skilled in order to handle bigger projects with ease, therefore I will be able to contribute and manage our projects and be a profitable asset to the company.
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I will admit I am not the earliest bird of the bunch, and working together with other departments, time is valuable, and I tend to lose track of time, thus my way of overcoming this challenge is to work on my punctuality. Other challenges that come with being the Head of Production manager is having to work under pressure and still maintaining calmness at the same time, I believe in time I will grow even more acquainted to these.
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team
    When one does what they love, it will never feel like some form of responsibility but it forms part of your nature. All I do is with love, I am passionate about the arts and I enjoy it. I am proud to be part of this movement because I do believe that we are on the verge of transforming the country’s ideology of art, specifically poetry.

Lwazi
A truth telling. Soul searching. Love bearing Azanian royal, otherwise known as ‘Lwazilubanzi Mthembu’. She is a singer-songwriter, an actress, a director and arts entrepreneur. She fell in love with music and theatre from earlier than she can remember, attended the University of the Witwatersrand studying a BADA to go be a big balling, famous, life changing superstar and has since found out the truth about the rise to stardom and influence.

She believes in telling stories that are riddled with truth and is not afraid to talk about ‘the dark and twisties’ that we often think we should hide. She has taken her stories around the country, performed on various stages from Wits, Joburg Theatre, Lyric theatre, the Swaziland Bushfire festival, to opening for Mos. Def on skyroom live, performing at the album listening session of Nothende’s.

She is a also one of the 13 dynamic arts entrepreneurs that make up the Word n sound Live. Literature company. She plays the role of the Live music manager and stage manager for all the shows.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am an actress, musician, and director. I head the live music department and also the poeticals. I am the stage manager at all the major festivals and an all round poetry and live music lover.
  2. What department do you man?
    Live music and Poeticals
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    We aim to reignite the flame that is live music in Johannesburg. We would love to be the company that holds monthly events where people are guaranteed a new, emerging band with great sound and quality of work. We aim to be the best place for strong emerging bands to come to showcase their work and build relationships with other young artists.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    I would like us to spearhead the revival of live music in Johannesburg, allow artists to make connects and grow the connections we have on our database. Someday, we can run world renowned concerts with all the artists we have been building relationships with.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    We acknowledge the hardwork and time that the artists put into a performance and would like to pay them for their efforts. As bands could be anything from 2 to 13 members this is not always possible. We are trying to ensure that shows pay the bands so marketing becomes crucial on both our side and for the artist themselves.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    Only the Lord knows. Passion can sometimes stretch 24hours to house all your ambition …
    sometimes it doesn’t though 😦

Tinta
Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele
, known to the stage as The Duchess, is a young performance poet with a deep love for poetry, literature and dance. Her subject matter is based on an array of topics that resonate true to anyone willing to be moved. Most of her subject matter is inspired by the quote “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” By Maya Angelou.
Mutinta has headed the University of Johannesburg’s poetry society for two years. She managed to scoop up an award for Best Chairperson of the year in 2013 amongst her many other achievements academically. Only introduced to the stage in 2010, Mutinta’s performances remain flexible to different occasions. Mutinta has been described as a conummate performer and prides herself in her story-telling style of poetry. Having performed at corporate functions, weddings and poetry shows, The Duchess is a performer you shouldn’t take lightly.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    My name is Mutinta Marie-Jose Bbenkele and I am the Head of Admin at this here company, WordnSound
  2. What department do you man?
    My department mans every detail concerning accommodation, catering and finances within the company. I am basically the go to person for most information
  3. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I think my department is the simplest to man because there is a set standard frame work to what should be happening and i ensure that happens
  4. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I am not sure as yet. It’s easy because i am doing what i enjoy, when anything satisfies an internal aspect of you, tasks are not tedious. It does tire you out eventually but there isn’t much beyond time management.

Mpho
Mpho Khosi
was born in 1982 in Orlando East, Soweto, Mpho Khosi draws his inspiration from his surroundings and the blues. He was introduced to poetry in grade 4. He was initially just a writer and started performing in 2011. He has performed on various stages including WORDnSOUND, House of Hunger, and Likwid Tongue. He self-published two anthologies: Portraits of Propaganda (2006) is a co-publication with visual artist Frank Manakane; Quietly Loud (2012) describes his work and growth and himself. Mpho considers himself more of a storyteller than a poet and his work echoes his own inner voice.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    I am Mpho Khosi, a poet, father to two wonderful children; Zolile and Kamo. I am part of the WNS team as the operations director, i also co-run the Shelela Boys shop at our monthly shows.
  2. What department do you man?
    I man the overall behind the curtain part of WNS, making sure that all our affairs are in order business wise.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    In the next 12 months I am looking to have the department able to run on its own, and have secured funding for the company while all the paperwork that means we remain a company are all sorted.
  4. What 2year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    The vision is to build more of a business mindedness when it comes to administrating and running poetry. My department should look at ensuring that we are able to approach anyone and say we are legally complaint to receive funding and or sponsorship.
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The current challenges start with me not having enough time to dedicate to the department and WNS as a whole; in short, I need to quit my current job to focus on what I am passionate about.
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    I’m honestly still struggling with balancing the responsibilities more so that I have a 9-5 and fatherhood. But it is a daily challenge that I aim to win soon.

Brian
Rhawell Mthiyane
was born in 1977, in Soweto. He was a part time student at Fuba and Sara.
where he studied music and Sound engineering. He was the engineer for the late Moses Khumalo.
and has worked with the band called Kutu, HHP, Thandiswa Mazwai and Mzwakhe Mbuli. Rhawell
also worked with Bra Hugh on his theatre production called Songs of immigrations.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Brian Rhawell. I am head of technical at WordNSound
  2. What department do you man?
    The technical department
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    It’s to see the technical part WordNSound Grow towards owning equipment.
    To have more people on the technical team
  4. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    The hiring of equipment is a major challenge. I would like us to own our equipment.I am comparing the industry rates for hiring equipment to avoid overspending.If we could secure a budget by raising funds through hiring out the equipment we already have and to utilize those funds to purchase more equipment for WNS
  5. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a technical manager, board member and active member of the WNS team?
    By dedicating more of my time to the company

Mandi

Mandi Poefficient Vundla is a writer and spoken word ambassador who was born in Soweto, Johannesburg.Vundla made her debut in the world of competitive poetry in 2011. Since then, she has appeared at different events on various stages, she’s opened the stage for Tedx Johannesburg,co-hosted Tedx Soweto,performed at Poetry Africa.She’s also performed at Action aid’s 5 year country strategy launch, KPMG womens breakfast and the Gahamstown festival and Arts Alive.Vundla co-wrote and featured in the Banyana Banyana theme track, featured in True Love’s September edition, where she dedicated a poem to South Africa for Heritage month. Dubbed Queen of the Word N Sound Mic 2012 in Johannesburg’s prestigious Slam, Vundla went on to win the Poet of the Year award then ended off the year 2013 by breaking her own record and making history by defending her @WordnSound queen of the mic title.She is officially queen of the The word n Sound mic 2012+2013

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is
    I am part of the digital content production team at WNS and I also provide content
    for our digital platforms
  2. What department do you man?
    Digital content production
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months?
    To develop a stringent content calendar plan for #WNS every 3months
    and to abide by it.
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department?
    To stream all our shows online.
    To dedicate 30 min of our WNS series show to a live cross over, so we are able to interact
    with other poetry shows internationally in real-time. This will strengthen our global presence and open us up to international opportunities
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    I am sometimes a slow paced worker and given my schedule as a freelancer, it becomes challenging to complete articles on time.The calendar would curb this challenge as I would ensure that we work ahead. When my finances are low, purchasing data bundles become troublesome.

Afurakan
AFURAKAN
is the Co-founder of Word N Souns, Arts Entrepreneur, Award-winning Poet and Copywriter, Afurakan has a career that spans 11 years in the Johannesburg poetry scene and has steadily risen to the upper-echelons thereof. He was the official poet for AFCON 2013, and part of the Olympics Artists Delegation for 2012.

  1. Please introduce yourself and tell us what your relationship with WNS is?
    Thabiso Mohare. CEO of the WordNSound Company. I am responsible for outsourcing funds for
  2. What department do you man?
    I am the CEO and overseer of the WNS company.
  3. What goals do you have for your department in the next 12 months
    -To launch the WNS digital store
    – To launch poetic act and to start working on an arts resource center
  4. What 2 year vision do you have for WNS with specific relation to your department
    To have the company full resourced and in a position to pay salaries
    To grow the companies footprint globally
  5. What challenges, tangible and non-tangible, are you faced with in your department and how do you plan on overcoming them?
    -I am faced with financial challenges and finding the appropriate project partners to collaborate with
    -Managing a crew of 12 individuals, aligning all the stakeholders interest
  6. How do you balance the responsibilities of being a performer, CEO and active member of the WNS team?
    I wake up at 3:00am everyday to begin my work.
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