#WNSFest5: Wise words before the battle


This year’s Word N Sound Festival will see two epic slams unfold. The Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam finale will see Phakama Mlokoti (Eastern Cape), Nomashenge Dlamini (KwaZulu Natal), Hlox De Rebel (Free State), Kyle Louw (Western Cape) and Lucas Serei (Gauteng) doing battle for the national slam champion title.

The much anticipated Poetry League finale is the culmination of a year’s work. Join us at the Soweto Theatre to see Xabiso Vili, Thobani Mntambo, Vuyelwa Maluleke, Bella Poetry and Southern Comfort bring for the final duel.

So we figured it was a good day to share some slamming advice from the experts;

“Try avoid social media because it will feel like there is a tremendous amount of pressure coming up on top of that which you already have trying to prepare for the final battle. Remember you’re bigger than the numbers given to your artwork and the fact that you got this far means you’re already quite an amazing artist. Good luck and stay focused.”

– Mutle Mothibe | Johannesburg


“I’ve been fortunate to take part in slams, and see many too. If there is one gem I take with, learn the stage, know the microphone, very well. You can never be over prepared, as a fighter’s tool can mean the end of the either themselves or the opponent. Sharpen your vocabulary, do tongue exercises, makes sure your words are deliberate, and know your work enough to create from the spaces in between the pauses, and breaths, as they all make up part of the slam, and the most crucial, use the time wisely. know how to dance between the ropes of the time limit. Let spirits guide your work too, technical work can sound very robotic, this is a magical realm we enter into, where body, mind and spirit unite. Enjoy the slam, it’s a learning experience.

– Ntsika Tyatya | Port Elizabeth


“1) Don’t fake cry.
2) If you’re at a rowdy bar, maybe save the rape poem for a respectful place (aka. consider congruency for efficacy).
3) If you’ve always spoken the poem in anger or desperation or dramatically, this time try telling it with an honest smile just to see what happens.”

– Buddy Wakefield | US


“1. Speak with your voice and your voice only.
2. Do not “eat the mic”. In other words, the mic should not touch your lips. Hold the mic an inch or more from your mouth. You will still be heard. In fact, watch other poets, how far they keep the mic from their lips, to gauge how far you should keep the mic from your lips to be heard clearly and loudly.
4. Take a deep breath before you begin to settle your nerves and cue the audience that you are now transitioning from person to SUPER-POET.
5. Trust your words. Trust yourself. Let it flow.”

Halah Mohammed | Brooklyn New York


“It is important to love your craft. Love it enough to hone it and dedicate your entire life force to representing yourself as best as possible when you perform it. Also love your work enough to know when you are doing it a disservice.”

– Nova Masango | Johannesburg


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