“We have reached the end of CSP Book 1; it has been a malangabs 6 months. Each and every individual that paid for a ticket, shared an event, liked a status about it, or even spoke about it made it possible, it would not have been such a success without you. We would like to give gratitude to all those who have played a fundamental role in the success…”- CSP
The series of interviews – Nine Provinces. Nine Poets. Nine questions. continues with Katleho Kano Shoro.
Kano is the winner of the Gauteng leg of the CSP’s South African National Slam. Her performances are proof that the CSP is dedicated to building an industry because she is MALANGABS personified. She is also the winner of the #CSPSlam Ch.2 .
Here we go.
1. A cat has nine lives, what do you have that comes in nines?
Well…people shorten my first name, Katleho, to Kat, I am the daughter of a Mosia mother plus a father who was born in September, and it took nine months for all of this to be put together into human form so technically my whole existence comes in nine. Coming to think of it for the ninth time, my thoughts on anything and everything probably also come in nines.
2. What are the top nine things that you have achieved because of poetry?
- Sanity and the right to own my insanity
- A provincial slam title
- An honours degree (my BA Honours thesis was centered on performance poetry
- A co-edited book on spoken word in Africa titled: The Spoken Word Project: Stories travelling through Africa (Edited by Katleho Shoro, Christopher Ouma and Mbongiseni Buthelezi)
- Friends and lovers (because apparently re kgona ho charma ka poetry)
- Realising just how much artists are intellectuals (not sure if this is an achievement but it’s significant in that it’s given me the platform to keep pronouncing this)
- Poetry manuscript that I will not be asked about until I have it published
- Confidence to be exactly who I was created to be, to speak my versions of truth, to accept my perspective alongside others peoples’ without being threatened by it
- My mostly serious high school principal, Mr Welsh, walking past me in school corridors saying “I’m fabulous”. That was both encouraging and amusing.
3. If you were to choose one winner from one of the provinces to slam against, who would you choose?
Ashley Makue (I’m bias on various levels here)
4. What does this win mean to you?
It means I can’t sleep easy until the finals at Poetry Africa (15 October). It means I’ve learnt many things that I had hoped and worked on learning about performance. It means CSP workshops and mentors do a great job at imparting their experiences and knowledge. It means I need to plot and dream for much more. Oh my goodness, and I was thinking about it the other day, it also means that I can freestyle my way into a slam final. Sure I need to hone that skill a lot but exactly a year ago, I did not believe (actively) this freestyling was a real thing for me. Now, I genuinely have a shot at rapping (I’m joking but I’m also not really if there are any takers).
5. If you were to change something about your poetry scene, what would it be?
The level of understanding we poets have about our industry. I’d love to see more spaces where intentional sharing of experiences, industry insights, techniques and inter-generational exchanges could take place. Also, it would strengthen us to create more poetry engagements/workshops/events where both contemporary and historical features of performance poetry (theory, biographies and performance practices) are explored. Admittedly, it tends to happen organically but intention behind this (similar to CSP workshops) would be beneficial.
6. What were the intentions with which you entered the slam?
I entered to win and be a poet celebrity, of course! Kea dlala… hannyane. I joined the CSP workshops, primarily, and the slam was a way in which I could produce, practice, try out and experiment with what I was learning. Also, I needed an intense induction back into the current state of SA poetry so this became my baptism by slam, so to speak. More broadly, I’m in a space where I’m trying to use my own existence to test out some academic thinking and theories, excavate knowledge (my own and around me), plus figure out what (African) knowledge production and its accessibility means. Slam is one way of doing so. The intention continues to be intended…
7. Imagine a slam of 9 legendary poets, who do you wish to hear slam against each other?
BlackStar (I need Talib Kweli and Mos Def to be a duo here).Ntate Keorapetsi Kgositsile, Anis Mojgani, Antjie Krog, Dejavu Tafari, Safia Elhillo, Stacy-Ann Chin, Zee Cube, Okot p’Bitek.
8. In one nine lettered word, what do you love about poetry and what are the challenges in poetry?
9. With only nine words, what do you have to say to the CSP?
Your vision of building a Poetry Industry is happening!
If you’ve missed out on CSP Book 1, worry not because Book 2 is loading.