Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
THE Intwasa Lafarge Poetry Slam held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on Wednesday night lived up to its billing with Sox the Poet landing the top prize.
Sox the Poet (real name Sondlane Dube) beat 19 other wordsmiths to the top prize of RTGS$1 000 while Siboe Netha came second and pocketed RTGS$600. Anele “KGT” Chinembiri took third position and received RTGS$400.
An excited Sox the Poet said he was happy to have won the slam.
“It’s hard to write poems and perform them during a competition. I didn’t think I’d win so I’m excited and grateful to all those who believed in me and my talent,” he said.
The fourth year Midlands State University Politics and Public Administration student said his poems touch on contemporary issues in Zimbabwe and the world.
“My first poem, Shades of Black, encouraged people to embrace their dark skin and informed them that being light skinned shouldn’t be the standard of beauty.
“The second one titled Mental Circumcision was about telling people to stop complaining and start walking the talk.
“The third one was Bipolar Personalities which looked at the hypocrisy of some people in the international community who preach peace and fund wars,” said the Magwegwe West-born poet.
Performing in front of a packed venue, the poets set the bar high with poems that touched on a variety of issues.
They kept people glued to their seats, clicking their fingers in appreciation (during poetry slams, the audience does not clap hands, it clicks fingers) and in awe of the topics that they tackled.
It was not clear from the onset that Sox the Poet was going to win because the other poets were also good. So tight was the competition that there had to be a tie breaker in the end to come up with the winners. Also, last year’s winner Thandokuhle “Thando the Poet” failed to make the cut showing how stiff the competition was this year. One of the judges, Patience Phiri, said they had a torrid time judging the poets.
“The Lafarge Poetry slam was amazing and gave us (judges) a difficult time. The talent on stage was a great testament that the event is very much needed in the city and has the potential to grow,” she said.
Phiri said it would be nice to have more female poets participating in the slam.
Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo director Raisedon Baya said he was impressed with the quality of poems this year.
“I was amazed at the level of thought and how they (poets) used words to articulate their presentations on stage. It isn’t easy to do such, but all of them did well,” said Baya.
He thanked the event’s sponsors Lafarge Cement for their support.
“In such harsh economic times where some companies normally say their budgets are tight, Lafarge came through. They saw it fit to sponsor the poetry slam and we’ll forever be grateful for their kind gesture,” said Baya.