South African poet slams xenophobia

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South African poet Mandi 'Poefficient' Vundla performs during Tariro neGitare's show. Vundla recited her poem against the recent wave of xenophobic attacks that sweeped through parts of South Africa.

QUEEN of South African spoken word, Mandi Poefficient Vundla, drew inspiration from the recent xenophobic attacks in her country to produce a poem she recited at the Poetry Lab sponsored by Shoko Festival during this year’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa).

Shadreck Maririmba / Kennedy Nyavaya

The poem created images of horrifying incidences of xenophobia that challenged Africans to unite.

“I was trying to demystify the rainbow myth when we have not changed as a community and are still unappreciative of others. I feel the anger that is brewing in South Africa is being directed at the wrong people, it should be directed to the government, so I addressed that in my piece,” said Vundla.

Born in Soweto, Johannesburg, she started performing in 2006.

She said poetry should be used to conscientise people about the need to love one another.

“The poem is something which I feel attached to. I feel poets should conscientise people on the benefits of loving each other. I’ve had this feeling for a long time so I thought of penning this poem,” she said.

Another poems she recited titled Mother chronicled the strong bond of love between a mother and her child.

Vundla said she was excited to be in the country and thanked Zimbabweans for their hospitality.

“Being in Zimbabwe has been homely and amazing because of the love I have received from people here,” she said.

Chirikure Chirikure, the godfather of spoken word in Zimbabwe, proved he was still going strong when he put up a scintillating performance.

Another youthful United Kingdom poet who was in Zimbabwe for the first time, Toby Thompson, did not disappoint either as he clearly proved that poetry could unite countries.

“This festival has taught me a lot of things about how people here are friendly and loving,” he said.