Cynthia “Flowchyld” Marangwanda

Cynthia Marangwanda is a Zimbabwean spoken-word poet who identifies herself as a feminist and a creative activist. Her art is rooted in Harare’s vibrant urban culture scene and fueled by the protest sounds of hip-hop and reggae. Her poetry is mainly concerned with themes of identity, emancipation, the deconstruction of oppressive structures, socio-political commentary, individual power, as well as in transformation, all seen through the lens of a twenty-something African feminist.

Cynthia started performing spoken-word in 2008 at Sistaz Open Mic, a show held monthly at the Book Café. She has performed at many other events at the Book Café including the House of Hunger Poetry Slam, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and the Afro-Slam Poetry Express. Other places she has performed her poetry include the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), the International Images Film Festival (IIFF), International Women’s Day events as well as appearances in Namibia and Lesotho. Cynthia also co-founded Chimoto! – a platform for fellow emerging performance-artists and urban creative-outreach project in 2010 and she has also worked with Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights.

Chiedu Ifeozo

Chiedu Ifeozo is a young Nigerian; he was born in Lagos in the early eighties and his family is originally from Ubulu-uku in Delta state, Nigeria. He completed his secondary school education at Kings College Lagos, and graduated with a master’s degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Surrey, England. He returned from his studies in England in 2006. Although a keen engineer, he has always had an appreciation for the arts. From an early age, he began by drawing comic books and illustrations. Reading and writing became a passion in his teenage years, drawing inspiration from events in his daily life as well as in his Society. Thoughts on a page is his first book, a collection spanning over 12 years; it focuses mainly on topics such as, politics, social commentary, youth empowerment, inspirational poetry and romance.

He also edits and prints a quarterly anthology titled poetry for charity that raises funds for various charities. These include “These Genes”, a charity that supports sickle cell sufferers and the “Rose of Sharon foundation” which provides scholarships and reading materials for orphans as well as financial aid and skills acquisition programmes for widows. The contributors to the anthology are gathered from many diverse countries using facebook’s social networking platform.

Chantel-Fleur Sandjon

Chantal-Fleur Sandjon is at the forefront of artists of colour in Germany that reclaim words, voices and the visibility of the subaltern. Based in Berlin and Johannesburg, she has been part of numerous art projects and publications in Germany and abroad. As a member of the collectives Blaque Reinnecarnation as well as The Critical Witness, Chantal-Fleur ignores the alleged boundaries between different media, art forms and the academics.

Helen Wambui

Hellen “Poeticbee” is proudly Kenyan. She is a student pursing fashion design,she is also a performing spoken word artist,a recording musician, and 46th Slam Africa queen. She was born into a creative family where her life quickly started revolving around pen, paper, words and melodies.

Hale Tsehlana

Hale Tsehlana is the Faculty Advisor for the Stellenbosch University Poetry Society, which she assisted to establish. She is a published poet and has read and performed her poetry in and around South Africa, India, Germany, UK and South Korea. Her collection titled Poems and Songs from the Mirea was relaunched in August 2007 at a special celebration for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions hosted by the South Africa National Library for the Blind in Grahamstown and it has been published in Braille and Audio. In the face of current debates on multiculturalism and multilingualism in South Africa, this book takes a multimedia and multilingual approach to poetry with English, Afrikaans and Sesotho poems. The book encourages local writers to reach out to marginalized communities who may not be able to read and write; hence it is made into Braille.

She recently translated a children’s book Phapo’s Gift that will be suitable for use in primary schools. She is featured in Ink@ boilingpoint, a collection of poems and essays by women from the Southern tip of Africa, (2004) 2nd edition. Voices from the Free State (2004), an anthology of Prose, Verse & Creative Articles by Indigenous Women and Youth of the Free State Province, and Basadzi Voices, an anthology of poetic writing by young black South African Women, published in 2006 by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. Hale Tsehlana was selected to attend the November 2007 Asia Africa Literature Festival in Jeonju South Korea and in May 2008 she represented South Africa as one of the 20 young writers selected world wide to participate in the Seoul Young Writers Festival. In 2009, she presented the Words on Water Festival – Stellenbosch Satellite event sponsored & co-hosted by the by the Indian Consulate Cape Town Office & Stellenbosch International office.

Patricia Schonstein

Patricia is an internationallly published, award winning novelist and poet whose works have been translated into five languages.

In 1984, in response to apartheid and the political violence in the Eastern Cape, she opened a non-racial pre-school. She wrote and self-published stories, poems and songs that had relevance to her pupils’ lives, and which were based on the same principles of peace she used in her classes.

After completing a Master’s Degree in creative writing at the University of Cape Town, she focused on full-time authorship. Although her novels are decorative, magical, opulent and richly furnished, they carry at core a deep, philosophical note as she exposes the emotional carnage caused by war and genocide.

Her novels reflect variously on the Holocaust, South Africa’s wars in Angola and Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s Chimurenga war and current dictatorship, the bombing of Dresden and apartheid.They also reflect on the way we ‘war’ against the earth and other species.Yet, despite these dark matters, her fictions are full of hope and joy and love.

Her poetry is another matter. Here she is blunt and to the point. She captures, in language that is at times paradoxically lyrical and beautiful, the full scale and horror of war, genocide, fratricide and our destruction of the natural world. Patricia’s is a voice for peace.

Rantoloko Molokoane

Rantoloko ‘The Truth’ Molokoane is a writer from the unknown township of Tumahole in the Free State, South Africa. He went to Primary School at Botjhabatsatsi Intermediate until grade 4, and then changed schools to Hendrik van der Bijl in Vanderbijl Park where he completed his grade 7. He matriculated in 2003 from Suiderlig High School. He has an S4 in Chemical engineering and is currently studying for his BA with Unisa.

He is the author of Read, Write Dreams Into Life published in August 2011. Read, Write Dreams Into Life is Rantoloko Molokoane’s debut literary text. It is the culmination of a decade of writing. The book is a collection of poems and prose writing that carry his signature view of the world in which reality is not only viewed at face value, but holistically. This view is the foundation of his philosophy that reality isn’t as rigid as it is deemed, as most of what we experience is the creation of men. The book deals with reality in its creation paradigm and not its existent paradigm, so as to provide the reader with the confidence to face their realities however diverse.
For a decade now he has been practicing his craft, nurturing it and learning ways to better tell the Afrikan story. In two thousand and one he turned his mind away from academics and began to observe human behavior in all its absurdity and from there the writing began. In 2008 he quit his job after finding himself immersed in unending depression because of a lack of utilization of his mind which led to extreme drinking. Since then he has been working tirelessly at his writing. Now with only a few years passed he has expanded from merely just writing poetry to even fiction novel (still being written). His work has been featured on One-2’s album ‘Microphone blank cheqk and on Inaudible poetry’s ‘Comprehension’ compilation. Besides writing he has horned in on his experience of performing poetry for seven years to produce edgy performances that shatter limitations with their fusion of enactment and poetry so as to bring life to poetry. He has performed around Gauteng tertiary institutions like VUT where he was exposed to the world of performing; TUT, NWU, UJ and at venues like Cramers coffee at Balladry composition’s poetry shows. He has also had the pleasure of performing at the Word N Sound Series hosted by Afurakan at the Bassline coming second on two occasions and at the KPN session held at Market Theatre Lab hosted by Jefferson Tshabalala. He has performed alongside some of the greatest poets like Romeo the poet, Inaudible poetry, and Quaz, and musical talents such as The Soil and Travellin Blak.
His writing is driven by the rich spiritual heritage of Afrika and the immense creativity that lies in the depth of its heritage. Driven by that he has found ways of writing material that awakens all to the realization that what we deem to be reality is but a mere fragment of a bigger reality that exists where creation moulds what we finally see. Adamant that imagination is the key to breaking the bondages that anchor us in a reality that seeks to diminish us into the confines of a reality of those who have learnt to use creation to their bidding, he writes awe-inspiring image centred writing that challenges the reality that Afrikans are faced with by exposing the hidden boundaries of what is. A strong believer in the quest to findings ways of celebrating Afrikan indigenous knowledge systems so as to once again instil pride in the Afrikan, especially the one battling with a township reality that instils despair in the minds of the Afrikan.
‘More than a writer I am a mere township boy who read to the point of seeing beyond the blinding surface of all.’

Sydney Sam

Sydney Fiifi Sam is a Ghanaian undergrad studying Human Resource Management at the University of Ghana, Legon.

He is the co-founder of Trademarkers Inc.; a network that develops business concepts designed to uplift talent and entrepreneurship. He is also the program co-ordinator for Moonlight Cafe, a poetry,comedy and live music show that runs in University campuses around the country.

Sandhya Mathura

Sandhya was born on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal in 1987. She grew up in the quaint village of Seatides which is situated along the sugar-cane belt of the Tongaat district. As a child her irrepressible curiosity often resulted in painful consequences. She was not content with the banal knowledge that the switch turns on the light. No. She had to know how hot the bulb actually burnt. Fortunately this precocious, mischievous mind was soon harnessed by the creative outlets of poetry and short story writing. She matriculated from Seatides Combined School at the age of 16. After working an assortment of part-time jobs she moved to Cape Town to complete a diploma in Audio Engineering at the Cape Audio College. Since then Sandhya has completed a B.A. (Hons) degree in English Language and Literature Studies at the University of Cape Town.

She has always written poetry, sometimes in secret, sometimes for the amusement of friends and family. Most often her cautious, quiet scribblings were the cathartic, emotional outpourings borne of personal trauma or victory. Now she writes outside of herself. Some of these latest poems form a triptych of sorts which probe and subvert idiosyncratic aspects of diasporic Indian culture. Persistent themes in these pieces include: the patriarchal appropriation of Hindu scriptural teachings, the conflation of fear and respect by young ones” towards “their elders”, and finally the preoccupation with masking familial discord and domestic abuse in order to keep up appearances within one’s community.

Sandhya currently plans to forge links with local NGOs that share her vision for equitable access to tertiary education across the nation’s polarised socio-economic landscape.

Sitawa Namwalie

Sitawa Namwalie is a poet, writer and performer interested in how Africans are defining themselves in today’s world. In writing she finds her expression. In 2008 her first dramatised poetry show by the name Cut Off My Tongue was successfully performed in different venues in Nairobi. In 2009, her first book of poetry, Cut Off My Tongue was published. Later the same year, the show was performed at the prestigious Hay Festival in the UK. And in 2012 it was performed in Uganda. She was nominated for the Freedom to Create Prize in 2010 for the courage and positive social influence of her poetry.

In 2011, her second show of dramatised poetry called Homecoming was performed in Nairobi to rave reviews. In April 2012 Cut off my Tongue was selected by TED Talks on a global search for the new and undiscovered as a performance worth spreading.

Sitawa has worked in the development sector for many years with NGOs and with UNDP, USAID and IUCN. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi and a Master of Arts degree in Environment, Society and Technology from Clark University in Massachusetts, USA. She works as a development consultant in the areas of environment, gender and governance.

Sitawa has achieved excellence in many areas of life, including representing Kenya in tennis and hockey in her youth. She is a mother of three gorgeous children and is married to a man of rare generosity.

Siphiwe Ka Ngwenya

SIPHIWE KA NGWENYA was born in Soweto in 1964. He is a writer, theatre director and performer. He has a diploma in Speech and Drama from Fuba Academy and participated in a Voter Education play commissioned by the Matla Trust in 1994. He was a member of the Rishile Theatre Project that presented plays by Nadine Gordimer and Don Mattera and since 1994 has been a member of the Botsotso Jesters poetry performance group.

Ngwenya has performed internationally in countries as diverse as Denmark and Pakistan. A selection of his poetry was published in the 1992 anthology, Essential Things. Other publications that have included his work are Ingolovane, Botsotso, New Coin, Timbila, Kotaz, It All Begins and Writing from Here. A collection of his poems, Soul Fire, was published in 2005 by Botsotso.

Sfiso Riccardo Shezi

Sfiso Riccardo Shezi also known as Imprint has been writing poetry for what feels like a lifetime to him. He started exploring the poetry scene in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, but his love for art form has seen him travel across other provinces too. He mainly writes in his mother tongue isiZulu.

Sello Daniel Maputle

Sello Daniel Maputle is a poet based in Thaba Nchu in the Free State. He started writing poetry in 2003 when he joined a writing group called Untitled Poets in his hometown. The highlight of his career is when he performed at the Macufe Wordfest.

Samo

Samo is a poet based in Nairobi Kenya. He frequents the Slam Africa competition held in Nairobi. He is publicly known as “rabid dog in a suit” because he is one who is not big on photos and bios.

Tantra-Zawadi

New York spoken word artist and performance poet, Tantra-Zawadi’s rousing poetry has established her as a force in the genre. Her work has been extensively published and televised and her numerous stage performances include the iconic Nuyorican Poets’. For Tantra-Zawadi poetry is “breathing, walking, doing, loving and awakening – limitless in its ability to reach across genres and varying walks of life”.

Uche Uwadinachi

Uche Uwadinachi also called Flames – Priest of poetry, is a spoken word artist and the author of poetry collection SCAR in the HEART of pain and it’s Spoken Word audio Album.
He is the winner of ANA Lagos (Association of Nigerian Authors) Poetry Performance Festival Prize 2006 and Pakistan June ‘Poetrycraze’ contest 2009. 2nd Prize Poetry Winner of Ken Saro-Wiwa Contest, USA  2010, won the June Loudthotz Poetry contest 2011 and directed the overall winning Poetry performance of district 5 Education Board for the Lagos State Jam Feast Competition 2011, his poems have been published in the ‘Lime Jewel’ collection-London 2010 and other publications. His poetry performances has been seen on Bookshelves-LTV8, 9ja TV, Tinapa Trade Expo 2008, Lagos State Trade Fair EKO-EXPO 20011, Wordslam 1,2,3 & 4, Poetry Potter, Potters Lounge, Anthill, Pen Society among others,  presently, he is  an independent television presenter with Konto Music and works towards his new spoken-word-rap album titled E’FI MI LE’ joo’or.

Wanjiku Mwaurah

Wanjiku Mwaurah is an African pearl. She has graced numerous performance stages; she has performed alongside some of the leading  African poets like Mphutlane Wa Bofelo (South Africa), Qbibo Intalektual (Swaziland) Napo Masheane (South Africa) at the Johannesburg Arts Alive international festival, held in Johannesburg in 2010. She also graced the stage  at Arusha Poetry club among other events.

She goes beyond poetry and has been heartily involved in awareness raising campaigns for the cerebral palsy condition (art4acause – 2010), while playing mentor and role model to many upcoming artists in the field.

She has achieved a lot; having been crowned Slam Africa Queen (Aug 2009), named as the featured poet severally at Kwani Open Mic, Poetry Spot, Jukwaani Festival in 2009, Sawa Sawa Festival  2011, SAMOSA festival 2012 and was one of the guest artists at a highly charged poetry night at the Story Moja Hay Festival 2012.

Her book, The Flow of My Soul  is a bridge between her spoken word and reflections of a times before her. Currently, she writes screen plays  and facilitates poetry workshops  as well as performing.

Xabiso Vili

Xabiso Vili is a writer, performer and poet obsessed with social development. He has performed his poetry around South Africa, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Grahamstown and more. He came in the top six in the 2011 Lover + Another national poetry slam and came third in the 2013 poetry slam of the same national event after winning the regional finals.

He has worked as an assistant teacher and run multiple workshops around poetry and improvisational comedy in Cape Town. He is currently staying in Pretoria and working with various organisations to further the reach and effect of poetry. In his spare time he enjoys battling silver-tongued dragons in the hopes of claiming one as his own.