This Women’s month packs an amazing show fueled by powerful women who are to showcase their work at The Vavasati International Women Festival 2016. “Threats of Women Voices” is the theme and Vavasati (a Xitsonga word meaning women) symbolizes the power that overcame the struggle of women in the 1950’s. The show is aimed at showcasing women in the arts and how their work reflects women stories in our society.
We had an opportunity to speak to Mutinta Bbenkele who will be performing at The Vavasati International Women Festival 2016 at The South African State Theatre on 19 August 2016.
This is what she had to say about the show, women in poetry and her work.
Photographer: Rantoloko Molokoane
XONGANI: What should people expect from your performance at The Vavasati International Women Festival 2016?
MUTINTA: Jazz in all its glory with my enchanting voice hahaha. Honestly, one should expect the honest tales of a misfit. A black female misfit.
XONGANI: How do you feel about sharing a stage with TJ Dema? What do you think of her work?
MUTINTA: I love TJ Dema. My first experience of her work was at AfrWEka last year May and I was sincerely taken by her presence and subject matter. She is so strong and it shows everywhere. I am very excited to share the stage with her. I am on a mission to find out if the fact that I was born in Botswana means some of her magic will be transferred, maybe?
XONGANI: If anyone, who would you like to collaborate with?
MUTINTA: I would like to collaborate with an artist by the name of Leshi LoveSong. She is also a Botswana based artist and she is AMAZING. That’s all I can say. Universe, make it happen.
XONGANI: Do you believe that poets reflect social issues? If so, is it projected through your work?
MUTINTA: I do believe that poetry is meant to address the feelings of the people concerning social issues. I am also of the notion that literature in South Africa is rich as a by-product of apartheid, which cultivated the culture of creating an opinion on paper and being accountable for it.
As much as my poetry does not take on the political views of the country, my poetry speaks to the life of an individual. This individual is young, black, educated, foreign and a woman. That’s a political statement in itself. So yes, I discuss many social issues because I am alive and we are walking collections of past experience. Society directly affects me.
XONGANI: Any advice to female poets either in the making or already established?
MUTINTA: Do not stop writing, wanting, growing and shouting. Make people uncomfortable with your truths.
XONGANI: What do you make of women using art and their bodies to tell their stories?
MUTINTA: I love it. I don’t know what is so taboo about a woman’s body when it is not selling sex. The controversy surrounding such topics only shows how much unlearning we really need to do.