#WNSFest5: Our highlights

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Oh what an amazing Festival we just had. The whole team is still reeling from the entire experience, still talking about epic moments on the stage and reveling in yet another successful Poetry Festival in the bag. 5 down, an infinite more to go…
We got the team to share their top 5 moments of the 5th Word N Sound Poetry Festival.

Stage Manager | Lwazilubanzi Mthembu
1. I loved the audience we had for the Poetry League Finale, watching an entire theatre receive the electricity from our finalists was absolutely exhilarating. They would move with the performers and respond so truthfully and with no inhibitions. It was electrifying.

2. Southern Comfort’s total upset was the most shocking and exciting moment I have experienced as a Word N Sound employee since Andrew Manyika’s upset at Emonti about 3 years back. I love the underdog, I especially love it when the underdog overthrows a king – there are so many lessons in that, so much history, so much goodness!

3. Vuyelwa Maluleka and Thobani Mthambo’s tug of war. Not that the other contestants were invisible, but these two commanded the very same audience in such different ways and to feel the shifts keep happening, to see the hunger, to appreciate the hours and dedication feels like a privilege.

4. Bella Cox’s response to Conelius Jones’s “Never Meant To Stay” deserves to be written on the walk of fame. She is pure magic. Experiencing Bella afresh this Festival was a clear highlight in itself.
5.) THOBANI!!!! THOBANI!!!! THOBANI!!!! THOBANI!!!! THOBANI!!! THOBANI!!!!

Social Media | Mandi Vundla
1. Koleka’s poem about water
2. The fact that we had a full house
3. Thobani’s entire set
4. The devine food (backstage)
5. Mandi and Xabiso performance outfits. Looking good is always a win

Artist Hospitality | Xongani Maluleke
1. Koleka’s showcase on Friday night at Poetry Is, what a mind blowing ear-gasm!
2. Meeting Warsan Shire and realising how soft her hands are.
3. Thabiso shouting at me for no reason as per usual.
4. Vuyelwa winning Poetry League, she brought the kitchen sink basically.
5. Thobani’s performance on stage and backstage…I thought he was losing his mind.

Logistics Manager | Zanokuhle Mthembu
1. Southern Comfort’s upset victory over XabisoVili.
2. Thobani’s second poem, the electricity in the theatre was crazy!
3. Shef And The Kitchen!!
4. Koleka Putuma’s poem about water…damn son!
5. Watching the queen take her throne, Vuyelwa we love you!!

Festival Director | Thabiso Mohare
1.When Pakama was crowned Slam For Your Life Champion because I was backstage and got to give her her first high 5 as champ!
2. When Xabiso got knocked the f#*$ out!
3.Picking up Warsan Shire from the airport.

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4.The team pic on stage. I was the only one to get the video selfie of that!
5.Watching Vuyelwa get crowned, I was like “Of course! Of course!”

Finance and Admin | Mutinta Bbenkele
1. Walking into a full theatre on night one.
2. Shef And the Kitchen were amazing. I was proud that we had put up such underdogs.
3. The intensity of the Poetry League Finale.
4. I remember hearing a lady say to her friend “do you really think she is here” in reference to Warsan Shire.
5. I loved absolutely dying in the audience over Thobani, Mandi and Koleka.

Visiting Shareholder From Zimbabwe | Andrew Manyika
1. Seeing that audience again – and seeing how it’s grown.
2. Hearing Thobani for the first time
3. It was the first time I got to see Southern Comfort perform, I really enjoyed his cadence.

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4. Vuyelwa’s second poem – “16 Stages Of Compassion”. Breath-taking.
5. As always, I really enjoyed photobombing group pictures

Marketing and PR | Bonga Ndziweni
1. Thobani’s first standing ovation.
2. Kholeka’s question to SFYL Finalists during workshop: “How did you make it to Jo’burg if you can’t write a punchline in 30 sec?”
3. Thobani’s second standing ovation.
4. Hosting the Poetry League Finale.
5. Thobani’s third standing ovation!

Content Team | Kgothatso Maditse
1. Realising we had a packed theatre two nights in a row
2. Koleka Putuma’s set
3. Watching the audience react to Thobani

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4. Thobani’s response to Modise’s poem
5. The tension and excitement in the room before the Poetry League winner was announced

Head of Content | Ayob Vania
1. Mandisa Vundla opening Fest as the home girl. And her poems reflecting on the ‘Luister’ documentary.
2. Andrew Manyika showing up at fest a day after his scheduled performance, after a yearlong absences, from our stage and doing a killer poetry performance and stand-up comedy routine.
3. Thobani Mntambo receiving a standing ovation three quarters of the way through his second round performance during the #PoetryLeague Finale
4. The festival vibe at the theatre after Friday Nights’ #PoetryIs performances
5. Koleka Putuma’s performs of her poem ‘Water’ which is so relevant as part of our current nations discourse.

Head of Digital | Qhakaza Mthembu
1. Walking in to a full theatre on a Friday night. It was amazing to see just how many people came out for poetry. With each Festival, we keep growing and this was just proof of that.
2. Having my mom come out to both days of the Festival then receiving a message saying: “I may not agree with all your opinions and all the swearing but I love you anyway and am proud of you and you passion in what you believe in. Thank you for a fabulous time.” It melted my heart.
3. Turning around and asking my team ‘Who the hell said girls don’t slam’ after realising we had just crowned two amazing women as slam champions. Salute Queen Vuyelwa Maluleke and Queen Pakama Mlokoti.
4. Tallying up the scores for round 1 and having Lwazi say, “wait, does that mean Southern Comfort has just kicked Xabiso out the competition?” From then on we knew we were in for quite a show and both Bonga and the Top 5 did not disappoint…at all. Bonga, if this is how you will be running the Poetry League shows each month, I’d like to book my front row seat kusase manje nje!
5.SHEF AND THE KITCHEN!! Oh my but I was never ready. From the very first note of that ‘Nomathemba’ jam to the last, I was hooked. Now that’s how you open a Festival. Those gentlemen have definitely got to come back sometime soon to cook up another epic storm!

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Workshop Facilitator, The guy playing all the jams during the show | Mutle Mothibe
1. The workshop on legal tips given by Adwoa Ankoma it gave me some interesting insights about my rights as an artist.

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2. Seeing how harmoniously the team worked and how we handled any problems and the sense of family we carry in our approach to each other.
3. The Insane battle that happened in the Poetry League Fianle between Thobani and Vuyelwa. It was fun actually not knowing for sure who the winner was.
4. Watching Shef And The Kitchen on stage with awesome sound and lighting… seeing them alive like that was humbling.
5. The picnic…The sense of family again shining through and the sense of welcoming ease we treated even people we had just met that day who weren’t part if the team. No one looked left out…we were all just gelling… sharing…laughing. We’re basically f#@&*n cool man.

Thank you to everyone who came through for the annual #WNSPicnic…it really was the perfect way to end the #WNSFest5.

Posted by Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series on Sunday, 4 October 2015

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