Bodies Under Siege: an all women poetry and jazz showcase

Poetry and Jazz showcase, "Bodies Under Siege" to take place at the South African State Theatre on the 18th of August as part of the Vavasati International Women's Festival.

Hear My Voice, the City of Tshwane based non-profit youth poetry organization, is proud to be partnering with the South African State Theatre to host “Bodies Under Siege” an all women poetry and jazz showcase taking place at the Rendezvous on the 18th of August 2018, from 19:00 - 22:00 as part of the Vavasati International Women’s Festival 2018. Tickets for the spectacle are R80 and are available at computicket.

The show will be headlined by poets Vuyelwa Maluleke, Emmah Mabye, Wazi Kunene and Siphokazi Jonas accompanied by an all women quartet jazz band lead by Sibongile Buda aka Miss Buda Bass. The story line will be narrated by cultural activist and storyteller MoAfrika 'a Mokgathi.

Through their works, the respective poets have been very vocal and introspective to women issues including femicide, body shaming, patriarchy and many other societal issues facing women.

In 2018 women still have to grapple for full recognition in society and equal pay for equal work, our women still face gender biases, misrepresentation and rape culture. In 2018, the narrative is still about women overcoming limitations of their gender in order to excel in what is deemed to be “masculine industries”. This production showcases the ability for women to overcome adversity in different public spaces and still exude excellence, empathy, co-creation, dignity and strength. “It’s a reminder of the strength and the perseverance our women possess as well as the ever evolving and pivotal role of women in society.” - says MoAfrika ‘a Mokgathi, the show’s director and co-founder of Hear My Voice.


-Vuyelwa Maluleke
-Emmah Mabye
-Siphokazi Jonas
-MoAfrika 'a Mokgathi
-Wazi Kunene


-Sibongile Buda - Bassist
-Nthabiseng Mokoena - Saxophonist
-Nokulunga Mncwabe - Trombonist
-Naomi Kudzaishe - Drummer


Saturday 18th August 2018
The Rendezvous, The South African State Theatre
R80, available at Computicket

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Performing Artists

Emmah Mabye

What started in 2009, as a mere stress reliever has helped Emmah Mabye become a poetry firebrand.

“Through my powerful command of the stage, I bring poetry to life. Using the technique of creatively expressing everyday life, I take you to a world of solace, a point of inspiration and grant you an opportunity to challenge the status quo all safely within yourself. My work is a poignant expression of imagery that’s simplistic and engaging”.

Emmah has had the great privilege of taking her works to schools, corporates, churches, national radio, national TV and even performing for the Presidency at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) 2016 National Conference.

In her first published poetry collection, Clocking In, Emmah journeys into man as a tripartite being - thus clocking into one’s spirit, soul and body - and doing so with her through poetry. The book is comprised of her poems over the past 8 years. Thus far, the collection has been well received not only in South Africa but also in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Canada and scoped an award at the first AfriCAN Authors Awards in 2018.

Under the South African State Theatre’s Incubator Programme, Emmah got to stage her first theatre production in 2017 also titled “Clocking In”. The reviews from audiences were testament to the power and voice that Emmah possesses on stage.

MoAfrika ‘a Mokgathi

Muriel Mokgathi-Mvubu known as MoAfrika ‘a Mokgathi is a South African based multi-faceted artist, who is a performer, writer, Poet, cultural activist, Art codes adjudicator, Art-‘preneur, Band leader, award winning radio presenter-Producer and a civic leader amongst many others.

MoAfrika is known for her Sepedi pen, her fusion of the language with English, fusing with Jazz, soul and kiba rhythms blending with her deep sassy vocals that keep her followers wanting more.
Some of her works have been featured in community and online publications recently including “To breath into another voice”, a jazz poetry collection edited by Myesha Jenkins. Media features include Kaya FM, Ubuntu Radio, Channel Africa and SA FM. Recordings include (Ndoza kusa) 2014, Nduduzo Makhathini’s debut album Sketches of tomorrow, Tribe Soil and recently Gabi Motuba’s upcoming album.

Wazi M Kunene

Wazi M Kunene is a performing artist and author born in 1992 in Pietermaritzburg, KZN and now based in Johannesburg. Wazi began performing and writing in 2004 and her journey as a professional artist began after obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes University in 2012.

Wazi has performed in many stages around the country and in neighbouring countries. She began authoring Zulu children’s books for Oxford University Press in 2015 which are widely used in schools around the country. Wazi has also recently released a photographic poetry anthology titled Deluge In Swarga in 2017 and she co-runs one of the biggest poetry houses in Africa, Current State of Poetry where she also facilitates in Art Administration. Using her artistry together with her passion for education and indigenous languages, Wazi has entered a number of classrooms. She has translated High School Maths and Maths Literacy into her mother tongue IsiZulu and taught it under the Vodacom eSchooling programme in 2015 and The Khan Academy in 2014. These programmes are still running and are effectively used, like the Modlin eSchooling project, where she was the voice artist teaching grades 1 to 4 subjects such as Life Skills, Maths and Zulu literacy. Wazi has interacted with many schools and teachers around the country, running workshops that focus on writing and storytelling. In 2016 she was invited to give a lecture at AFDA to the third year writing class. She has recently been invited to Kairos School of Inquiry for a month, teaching IsiZulu using storytelling to grades 0 to 7. Wazi has also subtitled popular South African television shows such as Tempy Pushas and Uthando Nesthembu.

Vuyelwa Maluleke

Vuyelwa Maluleke, is a Joburg based Spoken Word Artist, Scriptwriter and Actor, with a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry in 2014 , is the author of a chapbook ‘THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE’. The slam champion of the Word and Sound 2015 Poetry league competition. She describes herself explicitly as a storyteller, archiving, through her writing a personal experience of her blackness and womanness whilst navigating present day South Africa. Her writing serves as evidence that the black female body in South Africa is consistently being broken into in various spaces, that it can love and affirm itself is evidence of its ability to survive and want to survive.

Siphokazi Jonas

Siphokazi Jonas holds a Masters degree in English Literature as well as an undergraduate degree in Drama and English. As a writer, performer, and poet, she has written, produced, and performed in three one-woman poetry shows: “Poetry Under the Stars,” “Conspiracy Theory,” and “Wrestling with Dawn.” The latter was recorded live on DVD. In 2016, she produced and performed in a multi-genre theatre production, “Around the Fire,” which was staged at the Artscape Spiritual Festival. The production was written and composed with the music collective, 12 Years A Band, and Siphokazi was nominated for a 2016 South African Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the production. “Around the Fire” returns to the Artscape in August 2018.

Jonas has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg including, Inzync Poetry Sessions, Expression Session Kuilsriver, Grounding Sessions, Open Book Slam, and CSP Open Sessions. Her experience with spoken word has led to multiple invitations to judge poetry slam competitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has also performed with renowned musicians including, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Freshlyground, Pops Mohamed, Dizu Plaatjies, Dave Reynolds. Jonas made history in 2016 as the first African poet ever to perform at Rhetoric in Los Angeles, California, the biggest Christian spoken word event in the world.

In 2015, she was crowned as the first Cape Town Ultimate Slam Champion. She has been a featured performer at the Open Book Festival, Naked Word Festival, Word and Sound International Youth Festival, the 21st Poetry Africa Festival, and Abantu Book Festival. In her capacity as a speaker, she has been a contributor to two national conferences, namely, Music Exchange and The Justice Conference South Africa, presenting on issues ranging from writing, arts business, art and activism, and social justice.

Jonas was the runner-up in the prestigious 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, coming second out of 600 poems submitted nationally. Her work was longlisted again in 2017.

Siphokazi’s engagement with writing and performance extends to the academic field. Until 2017, she worked as a tutor and Teaching Assistant at the University of Cape Town. Here she taught on the history of isiXhosa praise poetry, performance poetry, and South African literature. Further, she runs short-term poetry workshops with schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She also guest teaches a spoken word and class at an elementary school in Gainesville, Florida. She recently launched a workshop series, Page to Podium, which focuses on writing and performance which is open to aspiring poets.