A few weeks ago we invited Master TungFu to our first show of the year and he has just shared his thoughts with us. Sink your teeth into this!
So here it is. I really tried to be nice, but i realized that might soon change. The good poems were good. The horrible ones had me wishing for a death. Don’t make me wish for death, please people.
Some poets sound like they don’t read. Fix that. It is for your own benefit.
To the brilliant ones, you have been born. Keep growing.
The voices are new, the energy is new, some are baying for blood. Some want to reclaim lost glory. Whatever the motivation, Poetry won.
Now let’s… Wait… Do you guys play chess? No?
Well read this http://bit.ly/1Gb8gRz before you read the rest of this. You’ll understand why in a minute.
1. KING: Zewande
Average Judges Score: 9.25
Zewande has been putting in work. It is evident by his performance. He delivered the quintessential Jo’burg poem about the demons and snares we fall victim to. Although I must say, I heard a whole lot of different poets in his poem. Maybe I must have my ears checked because he took top spot.
2. Queen: Xabiso
Average Judges Score: 8.75
Xabiso has mastered performance. He writes well. He went from a giggling timid thing to a powerful orator in an eye blink. His voice is powerful and his writing is clinical. A great combination. He deserves his spot on the top 5.
3. ROOK: Thabiso Ngwenya
Average Judges Score: 8.50
Thabiso Ngwenya knows his way around a mic. Homeless Memories was reminiscent of Mutle’s “Parkinsons”. I’m sure it sparked conversations and whispers. But I’m like, whatever yo, I enjoyed it. I just wish he toned the energy down a little. His poem had so many beautiful moments that were rushed through. Be calmer. Give us an opportunity to soak it all in. His performance was well rehearsed, but rushed. The audience clearly loved him.
4. BISHOP: Native
Average Judges Score: 8.31
Native performed a poem titled Ghetto Children’s Wish List for Christmas. Native did good. He delivered a well polished performance relaying the plight of townships and the little children that call it home. He was clear and coherent. He didn’t stray, stuck to the point and entertained the house. I enjoyed his performance. But, I really don’t know if Santa exists though. I’ll ask my unicorn.
5. KNIGHT: Strange
Average Judges Score: 8.06
Strange is weird. He has an abstract writing style. I’m not sure if it is immature or just strange. I enjoyed ,then lost him. I don’t think many could follow his rhetoric until the last stanza. That definitely won the crowd over. So I guess it worked.
6. PAWN: Zeelot
Average Judges Score: 7.88
Zeelot gets it. I am surprised that she did not make it into the top 5. She performed well. She never allowed the music to swallow her words. She was passionate. The poem, a gem, beckoning a lost daughter home. She is going to be one of the great ones.
7. PAWN: Ink
Average Judges Score: 7.63
Ink, was dope. I feel like I should just leave it there.
His performance was well controlled , He was in control. He was fully present. He took us up, held our hands through the quite moments and led us through those doors that haunt him. He sounds like he really enjoys being on stage .Nothing beats confidence in your words. It would be interesting to hear him tackle big issues with that writing style.
8. PAWN: Grace Zwane
Average Judges Score: 7.06
Grace Zwane gave us her declaration; I am an African woman. The story of a ‘loud and proud African woman’. Her poem was packed to the rafters with praise and adoration for African woman. A guaranteed crowd pleaser. Although I cannot stress enough how we must love cherish, and protect our mothers, sisters and daughters, I also do know, that that topic in poetry is often perceived as redundant, boring rhetoric. The ‘Africa is great , Africans are/were great’ motif is reduced to a Mzwake Mbuli-esque punchline. Many have heard that topic spread across a billion poems at any given poetry show.
In light of that, Grace was playful, she enjoyed herself. She believed herself, the audience enjoyed her. She stumbled and did not let it affect her in anyway. I liked that.
She also had something to add to the ongoing hair debate; “you wake up to comb your oppression, I have a kinky relationship with my locks, I am an African woman.’’ Bam Bam! Shots fired!
9. PAWN: Pseudonym
Average Judges Score: 7.69
Pseudonym is a brilliant writer. Her work is so sensual. Her poem was both beautifully written and recited. Soft and sultry. A brave move, considering how easily a crowd can be swayed and impressed by a testosterone driven performance.
10. PAWN: Pranishka
Average Judges Score: 6.94
Pranishka is no stranger to the WNS #PoetryLeague. She started her poem with a rendition of Erykah Badu’s classic Bag lady. Warning any abracadabra assassins that she will have no more of their shenanigans. Pranishka is a great talent. Her writing is mature, her voice is clear. One could hear that she was nervous on the day,but that’s nothing that time cant fix.
11. PAWN: MaAnda
Average Judges Score: 7.38
MaAnda did some really peculiar poetry. At first I was not quite sure if it was part of his performance or if he was making it up on the spot. The poem was fragmented, but clever and funny. The crowd loved him.
12. PAWN: Simon
Average Judges Score: 7.81
Simon This guy was a hit. They loved him. I saw. I was there.One tip, if I may. Slow down, some of us listen in slow motion. Its not our fault. It’s how God made us.
13. PAWN: Assassin
Average Judges Score: 5.94
Assassin greeted us all in the name of his Lord Jesus Christ. And then I thought about his name a little more…
I liked his poem. It was about creation and the journey mankind took to the future. The poem was well written, his performance was lackluster though. Delivery way too monotonous bro bro
14. PAWN: Josiah
Average Judges Score: 7.00
Josiah slow down brother. He had some really beautiful lines but it was not cool that he shouted them at us most of the time. Not cool at all bro. The topic was important, the performance needs touching up though.
15. PAWN: Khotatso
Average Judges Score: 5.88
Khotatso had his heart broken people. He went through that rusty machine we call Love. The result? Euthanize the yous and I’s ,a poem written in rhyming schemes similar to a rap song. I liked dude. His rhymes were cleverly placed. The poem/rap verse itself could have been better. More poetic language, as opposed to just a litany of everyday relationship qualms. Khotatso is an emcee, this was as clear as daylight when he took to the stage. I loved the sound of the title. I loved the rhythmic flow of the poem. But ,the words that held the poem together, not so much.
16. PAWN: Mary Jane
Average Judges Score: 5.08
Mary Jane is a rapper. She rapped about getting Mandela’s/Money and popping your booty. She can rap. It was awkward. That’s all I have for you.
17. PAWN: Canvas
Average Judges Score: 7.06
Canvas told us about Africa, how we have adopted western systems but remain savages in the oppressors eyes. A poignant point. It is a pity that neither the poem or the actual performing of the poem did it any justice.
18. PAWN: Ntahla
Average Judges Score: 6.38
Ntahla has all the ingredients for a great performer. Quirky mannerisms, a unique high pitched voice, strong features. I don’t think he knows that though. His poetry is archaic. Sounds like it was written in the 70’s, Granted, some issues and social ills are still the same, but that is not a good enough reason to write like you are still waiting for Mandela to be released.
19. PAWN: Cantolla martin
Average Judges Score: 5.69
Africa my Africa. Classic poem by David Diop. Over the years many good and bad reinterpretations of that poem have surfaced. Cantolla added his version to that literary canon. I’m trying to be nice so I wont tell you which sect he subscribes to, brilliant or absolutely horrible.
I think i just did.