Presenting Bafentse Ntlokoa – Word N Sound June showcase

This month’s showcase is one of a kind. After a 7 year hiatus, Bafentse returned to the stage in 2014, and found herself in our Top 6 at the end of the year. This year, she was back on the stage once, made it into the Top 5 but then decided, “No. I don’t want to compete. I just want to share”.

Don’t be fooled by her modesty… you know what they say about still waters.

So, in true Word N Sound style, we managed to get her to do a whole set for you. But before that, here is a quick q&a with Bafentse.


When did you realise you were a creative? What was your first poem about?
I have always kind of loved art, mostly visual art, for as long as I can remember, I was always drawing and painting and colouring in. My parents were very supportive of our creativity as kids but writing came much later. My first poem was probably about my relationship with my father which has been a great many things.

You took a 7 year break from performing. Why? What changed during that time?
I love performing and the idea of myself as a performer. The 1st few times I performed all those years ago was a complete dabble. I didn’t believe I had enough talent as a writer (still not sure). My writing was quite private and I wondered if it shouldn’t stay that way, but I did crave some kind of an audience or a platform to share and there were a few people who had either heard or read my stuff and they were affirming so I figured, what is the worst that could happen? And the answer didn’t cripple me.

What makes a good poem to you?
Wow, a good poem! I think it is a good story eloquently woven with the technical gorgeousness that is language which in itself is already so poetic because we have plucked out sounds from the silence strung them together and created little pathways to each other’s minds.

What do you enjoy writing about?
I write about what I’ve been through, what I’m going through or what I imagine to be true so basically my own little maps for navigating this life thing.

What is your writing/creative process?
I wish I had one, sometimes I’m not even quite sure what I’m writing about until I’m done. It’s usually a puzzle piece, a mess of lines or stanzas on little square sheets or on my phone or whatever I have available to write on.

Which poets or poems, local and otherwise, really stand out to you?
I don’t spend a lot of time reading or researching poetry so it’s mostly by people I have immediate access to at the sessions I attend and the poetry I stumble upon online, in books or what is recommended by friends. I’ve felt pressured by that question to have a favourite, the truth is I don’t really. I am moved by bits and pieces of a lot of people but mostly the legendary poets in my circles.

Often times we doubt our voices and stories. How did you get over that enough to take to a mic for the first time, and again after a 7 year break?
I wish I had a more complex answer but the truth is I don’t feel like I’ve overcome anything, I’m still insecure as fuck especially about my talents. I just thought it might be fun and I didn’t imagine that there was much to lose.

The AU declared this year the year of the woman

a) If there was one issue you could erase so that your daughter wouldn’t ever have to interact with it, what would it be?
Shame of any kind around her sexuality and however she may choose to express it.

b) Men are always sort of demonized by women. What would you like your son to understand about women?
I don’t know about demonized, I think the relationship between men and women has been corrupted by some very influential constructs and unnecessary power struggles. I would want him to know that they are individual and like all human beings are complex creatures, doing the best that they know how with their bundle of atoms and cells, who need kindness and compassion and tenderness.

What do u want to be remembered for?
I would be greatly honoured to be remembered at all.

What can we expect from your showcase this week?
Sincerity and a lot of heart.



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