If you’re wondering what Bonga Ndziweni has been up to lately, wonder no more!
We recently caught up with the 2011 Tewop Slam Champ turned Copy Writer and WordNSound Marketing Strategist to find out how he feels about his upcoming WordNSound Showcase.
“I am not a very politically conscious poet, but what I do is attempt to teach both myself and others to better understand all the seemingly trivial things that make us human.”
MANDISA: You haven’t performed on the WordNSound platform in a young minute, how do you feel about your up and coming showcase?
BONGA: I feel a little fraught, it’s been a while since I’ve shared new work on stage, so it’s all a little daunting really. I am looking forward to it though, but i’ll be holding my breath till the hour of reckoning.
MANDISA: Your writing focuses intensively on issues of love. As a poet, do you think content is key?
BONGA: I think content is key, after all it is the sum off everything we take away from a poem or movie or painting. Without content what else is there of the body of any work?
“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable” Ernest Fisher
MANDISA: Do you think the work of a poet should include social commentary?
BONGA: I think the role of a poet’s work differs for every poet in our society. Perhaps it is nobler for one’s work to be on the front lines of social issues and I guess only a careless fool would fail to appreciate the role poetry plays as a tool for positive social change. However, I don’t think it any less noble for a poet’s work to shy away from the politics of society.
So to answer your question, I don’t think a poet’s work should not include social commentary, but I don’t think it should either – not as a rule of thumb, no. It’s like Ghandi would say if he was still around:
“It is better to write about bicycles if there are bicycles in one’s heart, than to put on a cloak of false sincerity to cover up apathy…”
ok maybe not, but you get what I’m trying to say. Find your own place or work’s role in society.
MANDISA: If your work were to tackle any pandemic crippling our society, what would be at the center of your subject matter?
BONGA: Uhmm, I guess I’d have to say, uhhh, crimes against humanity? I don’t quote the bible much but if there’s one lesson that can be taken from it is that we should do unto others as we would like others to do unto us.
MANDISA: You’re a multi-faceted artist (Copy-Writer, Comedian, Poet and MC). Do you think your talents complement each other? If so, why?
BONGA: Most Def. I mean I didn’t study to be a Copywriter, I actually did Strategic Advertising, however I was able to land a gig as a Copywriter because I was a poet. I think it works the same way as having two hands does, ziyagezana – the one hand helps wash the other.
MANDISA: You attended Boston Media House for your qualification in Copy Writing, but the rest of your talents have no educational background. Do you think it is essential for artists to receive formal training for their art? (Please elaborate?).
BONGA: (Yea, sure… because I’ve done such a terrible job elaborating thus far) I do, one hundred percent. I know it’s cliché, but you have to know the rules to be able to bend them or break them sometimes, if need be. I mean, for me personally, more than the metaphors and similes, it is knowing the difference between “thinking less of yourself and thinking of yourself less” that excites me about language… ok maybe not more, but just as much. Imagine how many other delicious nuances I would have been privy to, had I only received a formal kind of training. I would have been better equipped to get out of my own way and write beyond my limitations.
MANDISA: You are also known as the Stand-Up poet where does this word come from?
BONGA: There was a time in my life when all I was doing was trying to be a funny poet and people insisted I was a comedian. I didn’t want to be just a comedian, so I guess this was just my way of trying to get people to understand poets can be funny too.
MANDISA: In one word, please define your WordNSound experience
MANDISA: Explain the word poetry, to a 5 year old?
BONGA: “Poetry is like going outside to play inside yourself.”
(If they still don’t get it, I’ll say what all enlightened folk say in such situations, “you’ll understand when you’re older.”)