#WNSAwards: “We need to open up space for mother tongue writers” – Mthunzikazi Mbungwana

What made you decide on collaborating with a musician for your showcase? What is it about jazz and poetry that makes it such a beautiful combination?
I was introduced to music before I could read or write. Therefore it was/is a natural order of things. Prof. Kgositsile once said “jazz and poetry are rhyme and reason, therefore the existence of both is not a fluke” and I say why not extend your reach to appeal to both wordsmiths and music lovers?

We often speak about the importance of writing in your own language, what are the practical steps we need to take as a community to encourage more young writer to explore their mother tongue?
Let’s open up the space to mother tongue writers by inviting mother tongue writers to perform and host workshops in spaces like WNS.  We have to ensure that in all your showcases there is one or two poets that are writing in their mother tongue/ language to encourage the budding writers to know that it’s cool and fun to write in the language you “dream in”.

If you were to put together a line of poets who perform in their mother tongues, who would you add to your list?
Sabelo Soko, Makhafula Vilakazi, Matete Motsoaledi and Asisipho Nzuza. They are honest, hardworking and respect the nuances and rules of their languages.

What are you hoping 2018 has in store for you?
Exposure to greater audience, recording the audio version of my chapbook Umnikelo and finishing my honours programme in Creative Writing and Translation.

“We are the ones we have been waiting for ” and si-ready!

Mthunzikazi needs your votes to take home the Best Showcase award. You can vote once every hour. Voting closes on Wed 31 Jan at 20:00.

Join us as we honour the excellence in our craft with the Word N Sound Awards on Saturday 3 Feb. Get all the event details here.

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