We are a walking sum of all past experiences – Mutinta Bbenkele, September showcase

It is the last showcase before the grand finale and we are proud to present the talented Mutinta Bbenkele, Word N Sound Live Literature Company shareholder and our Head of Admin and Finance. We sat down with her for a quick Q&A before the show.


KG: What’s your occupation? What are you involved in in the poetry spheres?  What projects have you been part of? What do you want to be?
Tinta: I take on a lot of contract work so I am currently at The University of Johannesburg working in the Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering. Ask me in 3 months and that will have changed. I do more corporate gigs than poetry sessions. I am the Head of Admin and Finance at The Word N Sound Live Literature Company. I have been a part of everything with the Word N Sound brand since 2013 :). I headed the Fore.Word Poetry Society at the University of Johannesburg for two years, winning best chair person of the year in 2013. I want to be in anything production related simply because I kick ass at it. I would like to dedicate my time to spaces that change the world one corner at a time.

KG: One day you started writing poetry because…
Tinta: My best friend took me to a poetry session and made me feel bad for keeping my writing to myself. Haha, really she guilt tripped me into becoming a poet.

KG: A lot of people write but don’t perform their poetry. What made you step up to a mic?
Tinta: The fact that I wanted the people to hear what I had to say with my deliberate tone applied. I would hate for my work to be deconstructed with no general idea of the tone because its relative to too many people. We are a walking sum of all past experiences, my work may resonate with you but there will never be a 100% understanding of my experience because no two things are ever exactly the same. So, yes, that and the fact that I love forcing myself to do things that scare me but have me feeling good afterwards.

KG: You’ve shared the stage with some pretty “big” names in the poetry circles. Anyone you’re dying to work with?
Tinta: I think sharing a stage with them is enough really. I am willing to work with anyone who can keep up with my train of thought. It’s a mad house in my head, I promise you. Wait, I’ve got it! I would love to work with Leshie LoveSong … I think that’s a collaboration that would work.

KG: What is the true power of words?
Tinta: No one will ever know. They are the source of 99.9999% of our emotions. Gosh they have the power to create, incite, divide, connect they have so much ability, there’s no measure to the true damage or healing that words can do.

KG: It is said that the role of an African writer is to document African history. Please comment on that.
Tinta: Well as a writer who writes primarily about my own stories I see how this can be relevant because, if we all adopted this mentality there would be so many perspectives of one thing, and the more information you have on something, the easier it is for an outsider to look in and understand. There is more validity in a groups story than a singular person. But in the same breathe I believe that African writers should not be put in that box because there is so much more to write about. It is the Historian with a love for writing’s RESPONSIBILITY to document happenings in  Africa but the writers job to write, without ego and predicted praise. If the writer is lead to wrestling with African history then so be it. We get paid to play hey, we cant be miserable on our play ground.

KG: What can we expect from you on Saturday?
Tinta: Truth, truth, truth truth and more truth. I will be presenting myself entirely vulnerable to my audience. A beautiful yet scary thing.

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