South African poet Vangile Gantsho has described local spoken word star Q Malewezi as a game changer, following the Malawian’s release of his debut poetry album.
On March 19, Malewezi pre-released the album on www.cdbaby.com, an online record store, connected to several platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon and Tidal.
He launches the album on Saturday at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe where Gantsho will perform alongside Democratic Repunlic of Congo (DRC) asylum seeker and slam poet, Menes, Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga, Robert Chiwamba and several other local poets.
“I first met Q at Poetry Africa and we instantly connected. I think it was because we both understood that though poetry is a gift, we are all still just people, navigating this life as best as we can, through words. So, the fact that his album is called People makes so much sense to me.
“I am a huge fan of his writing and sensitivity. Also how he makes things happen. Words alone do not change the world. People change the world. So, I am really proud of Q for being a game-changer, and this album is insane! Such a gem,” said Gantsho in an interview when asked about her thoughts on the album release.
While acknowledging that she knows little about the Malawi poetry industry, Gantsho is humbled to be sharing the stage with some of Africa’s greats.
“I’m not as familiar with the poetry scene as I would but I feel honoured to be sharing a stage with Benedicto Malunga. And, of course, the fact that this is Q’s first spoken word album to be launched means there will be many more to come. These young poets are so exciting and everything seems set on a beautiful growth trajectory in poetry so I’m excited to see and hear what gems here grow,” she said.
She also mentioned of how excited she was to come to Malawi for the first time, urging poetry lovers to expect life through her spoken word.
“I’m so excited! I’ve wanted to visit Malawi for a while now and to be able to come because of poetry just makes it all the more exciting. Such a blessing. I want to see this continent in its entirety, to listen and to share. All of this feels like sitting in the heart of God. People can expect stories of women, politics, love, family, breathing, fire and nothing but more stories.
“I just hope that people come out in numbers. We’re all working really hard to put out a great show and Q’s album is bound to get people talking.
“His team has been hard at work and there will be a variety of voices, so everyone is bound to fall in love with something or someone. Beautiful artists are those who wish for everyone to shine in their full capacity. Q is such an artist. We will have our books on sale and the whole experience will feel like poetry overload, a dream,” stated Gantsho.
She describes herself as a girl who could not sleep and the family thought she was crazy because her visions for Africa were spacey. Now, her scribbling they all want to keep.
She said: “I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and started taking writing seriously after high school. I don’t really like to categorise my poetry. I just tell stories. Stories about people, situations, this continent, as truthfully as these stories come to me.”
Aside being a poet, Gantsho is also founder of the No Camp Chairs Poetry Picnics held at the Union Buildings in Johannesburg.
She has participated in poetry events around the world, including Poetry Africa, the Word ‘n Sound Spoken Freedom Festival and the South African Literature Awards.