When Katleho Kano Shoro won the #CSP Slam Ch.2 the first thing I asked was, who won Ch.1? I was told that it was Busisiwe Mahlangu. Word around the theatre was that she was expected to dominate for quite some time and people who had seen her slam where disappointed that she didn’t win. I however was blown away by Kano and wasn’t disappointed, in fact my interpretation of the whole situation was that women are giving each other a run for their money on the stage, because you know, we should set the standards. One of us has to be exemplary and I thought Kat to be that person.
But Busi continued to announce herself on the stage as a fierce force and was becoming a firm favourite with the slam attendants. When she was voted out earlier than a lot of people had expected at the Gauteng leg of the CSP National Slam a lot of people were beyond disappointed, they were devastated.
Fast forward to this year, Busi sure got her win when she won first position on the Tshwane Open Slam and took home that R30 grand cheque and many other perks, that’s why I wanted to talk to her to ask her; What happens between a loss and a win? How did she pick herself up to sharpen her skill and come back having written a poem with the letter R.
Here we go,
- When your chances of winning the Gauteng leg of the CSP National Slam were cut short, what was your initial reaction?
Oh wow! That day is still clear in my head. I got off stage after the first round, found a corner in that theatre and let out a huge cry of disappoint and exhaustion. I cried like a baby. I cried so hard I missed half the slam that day. That moment is important in my life. Firstly, that was the closing night of my showcase, Rusty Knife, at the CSP Sho’case (alongside Xabiso Vili, Batsirai Chigama and Golden Shovel) which ran for two nights, before and after the Gauteng Slam finals. Secondly, it is a treasured reminder of a healthy rehearsal schedule. It is a reminder that a poetry performance is a sport that requires proper training, from physical exercises to the vocal.
- What is the one thing that winning amplifies?
- If your poetry was a super power, what would it be?
In Greek mythology, a phoenix, a long-lived bird, regenerates and obtains new life from the ashes of its predecessor. I imagine my poetry to be a phoenix, a renewal, finding rebirth from the loss and trauma of life.
- What are we, black people, forgetting in the pursuit of black love?
On Xenophobia: we forget that black has no boarders.
- What are you most looking forward to with the travels that are coming with your #TSOL win?
I am looking forward to sharing my work in Cape Town and Washington DC and meeting more writers and their work. I also want to go sight-seeing because it would be my first time in both places.
FIVE Current Things
- What are you reading?
I am now reading Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta and Burn this book by Toni Morrison
- What are you eating?
My favourite food, bread and avocado
- What are you learning?
How to take rest from work.
- What are you doing?
Editing the next book that NSUKU Publishing Consultancy is publishing. NSUKU Publishing Consultancy is black owned company owned by Nkateko Masinga.
- What are you listening to?
- I found Freshly Ground album, Nomvula, in my old music library folder. I am listening to it in a loop.
The Tshwane Speak Out Loud prize includes a R30 000.00 cash prize, a trip to Washington D.C (To be confirmed) and a trip to Cape Town to perform at the Naked Word Festival in June, 2017.
To keep in touch with Busisiwe Mahlangu you can follow her on social media
F: Busisiwe Veronica Mahlangu
Photo: T C Maila