Sinazo Somhlahlo, known as NazFloe, is a poet/spoken word artist and vocalist from Butterworth, Eastern Cape, currently based in Johannesburg. Having started writing songs in primary school, the transition into poetry was a natural one. She writes her poetry in English and isiXhosa, giving her work a very unique and honest feel. NazFloe finds inspiration in personal and shared life experiences and the human condition in general. She began her performance career at open mic’s and slam poetry events around Johannesburg, and has graced stages such as the Muvhango 15year anniversary gala event where she wrote and performed a tribute to the legendary Duma kaNdlovu.
Ahead of us dropping the #PoetryLeague Mid-Season Top 10, we caught up with our 2016 Athol Williams Award winner.
KG: Take us back to the moment when you heard your name announced as the Athol Williams Award winner. What did that mean to you?
NF: I don’t even know where to start. Uhm, I mean, I was hoping I’d win, but when my name got called, I wasn’t even sure I heard right at first. I was literally a whole myriad of emotions. It was such an affirming moment for me. It meant that all of the hard work I put in was seen – I slammed consistently on the Poetry League stage since May 2015 and receiving the Athol Williams Award made all those early mornings worth something. It is an achievement I will always be proud of. I wear it as a badge of honour.
KG: What have you been up to recently?
NF: I am currently super focused on school, working on getting that illusive degree. Other than that, I always try to get in some reading and writing because that is where my sanity lies and I’ve done a few performances at weddings and family gatherings just to keep that thirst for the stage quenched, you know.
KG: Looking back at when you started slamming, to being in our Poetry League Finale Top 5, and now where you are, what are you most aware/proud of
NF: On my Poetry League journey, on any journey of growth I think, you try out so many things. You want to be as good as everyone else and the assumption is that if you imitate the best, you become the best. It wasn’t until I found my own voice on the page and on the stage, that I realised I needed to be my own yardstick. That is a realisation I am very proud of; we are all different and we all contribute to the poetry world in our own unique ways and true growth is becoming the best version of you. That is what I continue to work on to this day.
KG: You haven’t been as regular on the WNS stage but you have been watching the shows. Whose work are you really loving right now?
NF: This is a tough one. The Poetry League has been flames on flames on flames this year. But if I were to choose a favourite so far, it would definitely be Mjele. He is such a fantastic writer and he gets on that stage month after month and proves that you can read and still slam with the best of them. Absolutely loving his work. So many people are bringing it though, like Soetry and Clear are fire. I also hope that Sabelo slams all season this year. He is such a bright light on that stage, such a great writer and his performances always warm my heart. Love him.
KG:What are your plans for this year?
NF: My primary goal for this year is to get my first poetry collection published, that is just the natural next step in this journey of growth. Would also love to perform more, so definitely on the look out for gigs … So hook a sister up y’all! *grins* I promise I’m worth the booking.