Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla Is Going Out There!

With only a few hours before Mandisa “Poefficient” Vundla‘s appearance at the last show of the OUT THERE SESSIONS: POETRY AND JAZZ IN ORBIT for the year, we sat down with this rising star for a quick catch up and here is what she had to say for herself:

Mandi DSC_5972


Q – First things first, have you dropped “Poefficient”?
A – Not at all

Q – [i] If not, can you speculate as to why there has been talk about you dropping it?
A – It’s the grow up syndrome… it’s because there are individuals who feel that I have progressed beyond that
name, not knowing what kind of attachments I have to it.

Okay now that the tabloid stuff has been dealt with lets get to it…

Q – This has been a very busy year for you, you co-published and nationally launched an anthology “Home Is Where The Mic Is”, you’ve performed across the length and breadth of the country and the SADEC Region and you also had an appearance in Venice, take us through your personal/professional highs and lows of this year?
A – [i] Professional:
There is always the issues of putting a price tag on your work which is always challenging.
I felt overwhelmed in Venice, as this was the Venice Biennale which focuses
mainly on galleries and exhibition. Being the only poet made me feel a little out of place
A – [ii]Personally
It was my first trip outside of the continent, so I was hella nervous and the jetlag was gruesome
I fell ill by the time I was heading to Italy.
I thought I was really dying from CT -> Zim ->Italy
Nostalgia was a b!7c#!

Q – You have been involved in the poetry scene for a number of years now, and earlier this year you quit your day job and decided to make a living as a full time poet and performer, how has this journey been so far?
A – Challenging, but I am responsible for my decision therefore I have decided to continue this journey because I have bigger dreams for myself and my work.

Q – You challenge convention, you have a radicalized voice, you speak truth to power and are not afraid to take on topical & controversial issues in your poetry.
[i] Where does this courage come from?
– The Heart
[ii] As a full-time writer/performer now, do you ever feel like you need to sensor yourself for fear of not getting booked for gigs because promoters, corporates and government may think your subject matter is too contentious or provocative?
– No, unless of course it comes with the memo prior to the gig because I am quite aware that we are fighting the very same system we need to survive. So if I am not requested to, I don’t!

Q – We were all super excited when the Out there Sessions was launched earlier this year and you have been to support some of your peers at a number of these shows.
[i] What excites you most about the format of this show?
A – Actually, I’ve only been there once unfortunately it always coincides with my Durban trips or some other commitment. The audience is different, The venue is sophisticated. The poetry and jazz format is one that has not been exploited to this degree. The cherry on top is the collaboration between 2 poets from different generations. I have dreamt of a platform/Anthology where our generational gap is breached. And this is it!
[ii] As someone intricately involved not only in performance but also staging events, what advice do yo have for the organisers of the The Out There Sessions?
– Document your shows and own your footage. That is your real currency
[iii] What can we expect from your performance this evening?
– Fun, I am surprised at my ability to loosen up and play outside of the poetry. The band lends you room to just be. So tonight I will just be!

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Q – Tonights’ performance at the Out There Poetry and Jazz in Orbit Sessions is probably one of the last of this years formal poetry circuit performances as the circuit starts winding down. How does it feel to be headlining this particular event at this time of the year?
– When I heard that we are the closing act, oh boy I gave myself a pat on the back and thought the universe couldn’t have delighted me in any other way than to have me share 2hrs with Lebo. Our energy just mixes well!

Q – You have been paired up with Lebo Mashile, a poet you have looked up to for many years.
[i] How did this pairing come about?
– The universe provides, Latitude validated my dreams of being a poet.
Lebo is a wonder and I am forever thankful to have access to such wisdom.
When she was invited to perform at OutThereSessions, of all the glorious poets in this space, She chose me!
I did my happy girl dance at just the thought of it all!
[ii] Now that you are an established name in the poetry scene, and Lebo is more of a Peer to you, what does that look and feel like to you?
– hahhahahaha!!! It’s another name to the secret big sister/brother list I keep
[iii] Is there the possibility of a collaborative poem/project between the two of you on the cards, what would it be, look, feel and sound like?
A – There is. We were supposed to collaborate and perform the poem at this event but…

Q – What’s next for Mandisa Vundla?
A – I’m am dying to finish my Requim For Kwaito Script but the words sometimes require a bit more patience.
My heart and soul are in the life of that poetical.

Q – Lastly, is there anything that we may have left out that you would like to highlight?
A – Nope! J

Do yourself a huge favour and make your way to The Orbit Jazz Club and Bistro in Braamfontein this  evening to catch the very last Out There Sessions: Poetry and Jazz In Orbit show for the year featuring Lebo Mashile, Mandi “Poeficient” Vundla and the Simphiwe Shiburi Trio, anchored by Myesha Jankins and Natalia Molebatse


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