//Fresh Impressions will be touring South Africa with Siphokazi Jona, Puno Selesho and Emmah Mabye throughout February & March 2019//
Wassup wassup fam...The #FreshPoetrryTour is around the corner, and I hope you already have your tickets. This historical national tour is the first of its kind in South Africa, and is headlined by three renowned spoken word artists, Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, and Puno Selesho. These poets will share the stage with special guest poets and the tour will showcase opening acts from 20+ towns and cities from around the country, and this is all thanks to the Fresh Impressions (as well as all the promoters in the different cities).
"The voices of Jonas, Mabye, and Selesho are distinctly South African, and yet with global sensitivity. Their writing is incisive and provoking, speaking truth to power, reflecting on faith, politics, identity, and the concerns of young South Africans. These poets are well-established as fiery performers who have a transformative presence on stage, and they share extensive experience around the country and abroad."
Fresh Impressions founder, Harold Moyo, stresses that it is important for South African audiences to appreciate South African artist. While artists from the West enjoy the patronage of local audiences, the South African industry lacks that same support. Fresh Impressions are well-placed to know this as they have brought huge names to South Africa such as Grammy-Award winner Lecrae, the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi, KB, Propaganda, Sho Baraka, and American poets Janette…ikz, Alysia Harris and Joseph Solomon, among many others. But now, more than ever, is the time to invest in local artists, and the rapidly-growing spoken word poetry scene, they say. And that investment, he concludes, should not only happen in the cities, but all over South Africa where many gems and new audiences are waiting to be found.
I totally agree with Harold, because there's more than enough talent around the country, and the artistic platforms seem to be increasing in number each year. It's easy for promoters to lose sight of growing/ developing the local creative industry, due to focusing too much on bringing international artists. With this being said, I'm hoping that this tour will inspire other event promoters/organisers to play a more active role in ensuring that local artists get significant opportunities to share their talents on multiple platforms (not just for exposure, but for financial benefit as well). If we don't invest in our local talent, who will?
[Click on any of the above pictures to watch one of their performances]
Moving on, I've decided to share a bit of information concerning the 3 main poets that will be part of this amazing tour, just so that you know and have a good idea of what to expect. These are definitely some of South Africa's most prominent young and talented artists, who also have quite a number of significant achievements under their belts as well. In 2016, Siphokazi Jonas (Pictured above - on the left) was the first African poet to perform at the largest Christian poetry event in the world, Rhetoric, in Los Angeles California. She also holds the 2015 crown of Cape Town Ultimate Slam champion and was the runner-up for the 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Award. She also made history as the first poet to release a live poetry DVD of its kind, Wrestling with Dawn, in South Africa. I was actually fortunate to meet her and watch her perform in 2017 at the Lingua Franca Poetry festival in Cape Town.
Next up we got Emmah Mabye (Pictured above - on the right) who's a published author, and has not only won an AfriCAN Authors award for her debut collection, Clocking In, but she has also staged the book as a production at the South African State Theatre. Her work has travelled to schools, corporates, churches, national radio and television, and she has performed for the Presidency at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) 2016 NationalConference. I bought her anthology almost a year ago, and I must say that it was a great read. You should definitely get yourself a copy (I just remembered that I actually need to buy myself another copy because I gave away mine to a fellow upcoming poet last year).
The 3rd poet is the award-winning Puno Selesho (Pictured above - in the middle) who will be no stranger for those familiar with her work on Youtube. Her videos rack up views and travel extensively, including her performance for TEDxPretoria. As a poet, content creator, voice over artist, and speaker, she has been commissioned to create work for leaders in innovation at conferences, summits, and fairs in South Africa and in Berlin. Her wildly popular poem, “I am an African”, was featured on “More Fufu” in collaboration with Feya Faku and Dominic Egli. Believe it or not, I only found out about this when I attended a show here in Bloem when Feya Faku and Dominc Egli came to perform lol. I bought Feya's "More Fufu" album because I loved the performance and the music, then when I looked at the track-list - "BAM!" - I saw that Puno featured on the album. These 3 poets are definitely worth your time and money.
Now that you know a bit about each of the main poets, I'll move on to the show that will be taking place in the City of Roses - Bloemfontein on the 28th of February. The show will feature Lukanyo Hlongwane from Port Elizabeth and Patience Labane (the current Free State Provincial Poetry Slam champion), so you definitely don't want to miss out. The Bloemfontein edition of the tour will be held at the University of the Free State, at the Albert Wessels Auditorium, and you can get your tickets from me [Tickets are going for only R100]. Please holla at me 0822677867 [TK] ASAP .
We've come to the end of yet another radioactive article, and if you are in South Africa I'm sure you're wondering by now "How can you keep informed about the tour and when will the tour be in your city?". Well, make sure you visit the Fresh Poetry Tour event page, and also don't forget to like their Facebook page as well (You'll find a poster for each city similar to the one above). Tickets are available on Quicket. The first event will be held in Witbank on the 1st of February, and the last event will be on the 30th of March in Pretoria. Don't forget to use the hashtag #FreshPoetryTour when you post your pictures and check in at the events. You can support the tour by contributing R50 or more to their Crowdfunding site here.
Please don't forget to also share this article with friends, colleagues & fam, and feel free to also subscribe to our site so that you don't miss out on what's happening in and out of the country. Peace out. [@2tukani]