Sightlines: Maitisong Festival 2016, April 15 Review

Journey with poet and writer, Maipelo M Zambane as she offers daily reviews and critiques of some of the 2016 Maitisong Festival offerings.


In the forth installment of Sightlines [n. any of the lines of sight between the spectators and the stage.] we take a look at performances of the previous day


DAY FOUR: 15th April 2016


I began my day by attending the creative writing workshop hosted by Mandisa Mabuthoe and Steady Onx. The workshops proved to be a safe environment for aspiring writers and poets to mingle with established artists, share their art and ambitions for the future. I was inspired to revive my love for the spoken and written word.


After the workshop I walked to Maitisong Auditorium to catch the showing of A girl in heels, a South African theatrical short highlighting the disturbing surge of human trafficking cases and its dire consequences on the people involved and general community. The play was of relevance to the current societal phenomenon of young women who are in desperate need of a source of income who fall prey to the trafficking rings as the leaders (who later become their pimps) lure them with prospects of credible job opportunities. The trafficked people disappear off the face of the earth into the endless loop of certain prostitution, habitual physical and emotional abuse and drugs.


The cast displayed great acting skills and experience in storytelling as witnessed by the choice of costumes, eerie music arrangement and the shocking closing scene which left the audience in astonishing silence, and glassy eyes seared by the realities from this piece. The whole cast and crew came back on stage to take a bow and was met by an appreciative applause. Words fail to describe the emotions that I felt during the show and after.  The production forced me to critic the actions on how much policy makers and the community takes human trafficking seriously.


A girl in heels hit home. Although it is a South African play, too many similarities made the realize the sad reality that the law enforcers that could alleviate this crime against humanity are ill-equipped when it comes to the necessary skill or resources to keep pursuing cases. It tears my heart to think that family members and close relatives of missing people mourn daily for their loved ones that they may never get to bury.



Taking a mental re-adjustment from the theatrical piece, I grabbed a quick snack by the Bean Café and I headed over to Thapong Arts Centre for the True Open Passion(TOP) Young Artists performances to showcase offerings by upcoming performing poets and singers.


Bongi sang her cover of Nathi’s Buyela Mali, Zoe sang a cover of Sia’s Chandelier much to the amusement of the audience that sang along with her. Mmakgosi sang Bob Marley’s Redemption Song  and  recited two powerful poetry pieces. Poetess Phopho took the stage and I couldn’t help but connect with the sincerity of her spoken word, ‘You are beautiful, the universe believes in the glossiness of your soul; you are bold and strong…you are the center of the universes rotation’


The TOP young Artists handed the stage to the much-anticipated and well attended Spoken Word showcase headlined by the talented and humble Miles Hodges. Mmabatho Motsamai was the Host of the evening and introduced Ngozi Chukura, the first act to the stage. Chukura had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand with her soulful conscious poetry before switching up to quick-witted rap. Zimbabwean spoken word artist and Hip hop sensation/artist  Synik commanding politically themed prose and song that called for a revolution against excessive consumerism, corruption and blatant greed. Gomolemo ‘Ghost’ Motsamai gave an emotionally rousing poem and tear jerking poem, about the struggles of apartheid and the fight that our forefathers and mother bore to liberate us. ‘In the 1989 riots, my uncle left a hole in a policeman’s head….father wept into his palms in an abandoned car park’.


Miles Hodges was the star attraction of the evening, initially speaking on the power of spoken word to ‘change lives, change worlds and to make connections’. A well-travelled and seasoned spoken word artists Hodges thrilled the audience with his sharp informed pieces, irresistible charm and potent punch lines.  His performance piece pleading for men to love and appreciate women had the audience in vibrant soul snaps as he weaved words together to paint a beautiful picture of his affection of a women entirety. But it was his last poem that resonated with me as he challenged humanity’s notion of belief systems by listing  the things you can count on and all the things you can’t in this world.  Riveting, spiritually awakening, life changing are just some of the words I can pierce together to try to paint a picture of the spectacular Mr Hodges.


Mpho Sebina was the last performer and due to time constraints could only perform two songs, firstly moroka a piece produced by Charles Favi Motsemme, followed by see no evil. Her short time on stage left the crowed panging for her rather popular number loves light.

Overall my day was inspirational, informative, riddled with exceptional performances.  In closing all I can say is the after watching the splendor and display of talent I have I’m eagerly anticipating  tomorrow’s day time performances and the closing ceremony.


Maipelo M Zambane is a poet, writer, businesswoman, social media enthusiast and co-founder of MOscripts a literary advocacy group that wishes to preserve our culture through written and spoken word. She loves hanging with family and friends and is a sucker for a perfectly grilled T-bone. Follow her on twitter, instagram and her blog.