Thoughts Of A Stranger Review

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The voice bellowed from Florida’s forgotten kraal, a lone bull heavily burdened by thoughts of man unspoken, strangers unheard and for far too long too un-artistic to be considered creatively. The resonant bellow became a sharp encoded call too piercing to go unheard by the ears of those trained in deciphering the priceless yet luxuriant syllables of po-e-try. On the 31st of July, we heard this call all the way from the slam at the Alliance Francaise (where I competed for my very 1st time**,) and hastily made our pilgrimage to Florida’s Promusica Theatre’s ‘The Basement’, not because this venue was the mecca of spoken word, by no means so, in fact this venue was so out of our lives GPS’ we became like planes circling the Bermuda’s hungry abyss. (Ironically, the boundaries of the infamous Bermuda Triangle cover the Straits of Florida.) WE CAME HERE TO LEND SPOKEN WORD OUR EARS, MINDS AND HEARTS, where were YOU?

The Promusica Theatre is situated on 100 Christiaan de Wet Rd (okay, maybe not so Bermuda like) and is, despite its out-worldly location, a resplendent venue adorned in matching simplicity. The fact that this young man, Donald “The Neosapien” Mokgale, travelled all the way from Ekhuruleni’s Benoni to acquire the venue was enough to raise my ‘respect bar’ a notch or two up. His pseudonym (Neosapien) is Darwin inspired; however, he believes he became a “New Human” after being spiritually born again, hence “Neo Sapien.” It isn’t always the artists’ fault that shows start an hour or two later then they ought to, in fact on this day, it could be attributed to a combination of two factors, the artists bad directions and the people’s “I know where I’m goin” attitude’s. Exhausted as a result of the competitive slam and dreary drive, I succumb to a beckoning chair at the front and ready myself for an entertaining one man ‘poetry with drama’ show.

THE SHOW

I thought it would be fitting to begin by saying this; Donald is a Poet, a great and intelligent one at that. One who, post the show, went on to secure himself 2nd position at a 22 man Grand Slam competition held at Wits University. One, who had on months leading to the show, won the highly competitive “House of Hunger Poetry Slam,” twice. A great performer, such is the caliber of this young man. A poet many have grown to respect, love and revere. However, Don is not known for drama/acting, and luckily for him, the few people who had responded to his call were lovers of poetry (not drama) and would let slide any dramatic inadequacy’s that would show on his side. Donald’s poetry is dramatic enough in itself and made up for the minor acting flaws. Minor, depending on whether you came as one who thought John Kani was the greatest thing to hit the stage and Kgafela was ‘wack.’ This audience however was very satisfied with Donald’s first poetry play, some seemed disappointed that there weren’t more new poems delivered, but none showed dissatisfaction. None showed irritation even during the many breaks (Character changes) which seemed to last an eternity. Everyone seemed to know each other and continued with their conversations in the dimmed venue which only gained luminosity during Donald’s displays of wizardry. “Uyaloya saan!” (Meaning: you are a witch/wizard in zulu) shouted one gentleman after a poem titled “Poetic Punch.” An awkward compliment and depending on which language you speak, not a compliment at all. Such are linguistic dynamics. Something which further contributed to me not enjoying the lengthy breaks was the repetitive R & B music playing in the background.

At one point I almost got up to say, “Mr DJ you are killing me,” but right then, as if testing my patience, a figure exploded onto the stage to recapture my attention and challenge my intellect. The show lasted close to 2hrs, the character changes being the main culprits for the length. Donald spoke for the many silent voices, told ambitious tales of working hard pursuing corporate dreams with little reward. He sculpted steady figures from the perceptions of a drunkard, his opening poem a moving allegory of heartache. All of these voices were aptly represented in the title, “Thoughts of a Stranger.” How many people do you pass on a daily basis? Do you ever consider the circumstances of the poor, the widowed and the homeless? Do you ever ask yourself what goes on in the head of an unapologetic and unremorseful drunkard? Perhaps you’ve considered the raging thoughts of an adolescent who managed to carry his anger to adulthood without harming himself or anyone else? This play provided more than an insight into the minds of those around us, but was also a question pressing to be answered through action.

Donald has plans of getting this play to more platforms and ultimately more people. The dismal turnout was very disappointing considering this man’s brilliance and the number of people who claim to support him. Even more disappointing, is the fact that so many artists claim they are not being supported whilst they themselves are not there to support each other. We could grow art, especially poetry, if we kept it alive in the family, something like what Indians and Jews do in business. On a lighter note, do not wait for this man to blow up before you start supporting him. The next review will be on the Street Poets Art Factory (which Donald was a part of) which took place at TUT’s Magalies Lapa on the 21st of August 2010

To book Donald “The Neosapien” Mokgale for any performances, including corporate gigs/events and MCing, email him on: donald.mokgale@gmail.com

Dankie…

…droW(**m)att…

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Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
Thoughts Of A Stranger Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
  • Neli

    I’m really bummed I missed it. But this exceptionally descriptive and well written review gives me a vague idea 0f the j0urney that a very s0und mind went 0n when they watched the sh0w…s0 I can trust his senses, Matt, l0l **,

    *p0ints at Mal0se*…I kn0w that guy *jumping up and d0wn*

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Donald The Neosapien

    Hey Matt!! Very articulately crafted sir!! Thank you so much TPP much respect to you as you are one of the best writers of this age brother. Sfiso, I am truly humbled to hear such words, people like you motivate us to keep going, thank you. Puleng and Mashilo, there is always a next time, thank you for having an interest in this art form.
    Yes we will never rid ourselves of the the super-glued “struggling” to our names because of a lack of support. How ironic that we are very quick to give props to one another when one gets off stage but when its time to transform that prop to support we back down…I applaud you guys for leading by example and not verbs like the rest of society’s thinkers. Let us continue to support one another and grow, sooner or later we will be successful and recognised as the tools we are as poets in society.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • TPP

    Thanks Matt, I always enjoy a good story well written and truthful. This is an eye opener for all of us, Donald is by far one of the greatest among us on the street and if his show can have a low turn out then that’s a cry for help, we eed to change things, how about we all vow to at least try not to come alone to sessions, bring a friend and more friends, I have been doing it rescently and I have people fallign in love with this thing, it’s ntoa cult it’s an under apreciated art form. Maybe this whole thing needs to be looked at very well, we as artists need to find the problems and the solutions because as long as we dont act, the phrase, ‘As broke as an artist’ will become a cliche sooner than it becomes a punchline.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • let me say this in agreement also to TPP..”, 1stly, dankie for reading the article,u not only supporting Don but also myself n the work that this space is tryin to “ante up.” It’s a long story that i’d like to share, bt i’ll leave out a bulk of the meat. People r hungry, they jus don’t know wat exactly they’re hungry for. their stomachs tell them it’s meat, but all the satisfactions of this world lack longevity. I knw it’s gonna seem a rather tainted/blemished n unpure comparison, but it was through word that God made His attempts to reach out to man and it is through word that we can do the same. We call it the Spoken Word. 2me it is Life/Love/God. People pay to go where they r lied to, but hardly consider platforms where they can hear the truth… so mayb it is a rather monolithic expectation to fill up our venues… or maybe we just need to become mammoths… so… we jus shouldn’t be allowed to come to shows alone ne, once… ya.. and dat venue was like finding a needle in a dessert storm**, and still, dankie for de support to all of yol, it’s not JUST for Don… it’s for SPOKEN WORD

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
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    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Leng

    hai hai hai am so taken wish i was there to witness it for myself, but like the reviwer said,am not going to wait for you to blow up before i start supporting you!!

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • TPP

    Matt, I got one thing to say to you, ‘uyaloya saan’. The first paragraph had me gassing bro, you make me never want to write again!!! I applaud your professional approach to this piece, it was unbiased and balanced in my opinion. I would like to briefly comment on the low turn out of the show.

    I think the main reason a lot of us could not make it is because of the location, it was a bit too out of reach. The show was well advertised but the location… Besides that most of the street fan base is hardly well off to spend in theatres and the likes, that is why it takes a lot to even fill up a free slam. I also think the low turnout is an indication of how much still has to be achieved in the poetry industry, not only we as individuals have to up the ante and create the demand, but the whole industry of slam needs an overhaul, an approach that will make people take us more seriously in the sense that slam should become a brand, something people feel they should spend on. While the majority of the fan base would not spend on a gig like this nightclubs are packed on Saturday night by people who ‘want to leave at 10’. Why are these people not comin to a poetry show that ends at 10 so they can go home when the show ends? Well, because they are not compelled to spend. We need a revolution, we need to build the brand of slam and make crowds out there as addicted to slam as we are, to feel that passion…yada yada I think I have said too much

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • Mashilo

    i can only wish i was there to witness for self

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Sfiso atomz

    The neosapien remains true 2 what poetry shud b… A movement 4 social change. Was at the show at wits, wil go there again sat. Big ups, new man of God.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • On a real though… This guy is probably the dopest, illest, sickest poet i’ve ever seen… He was ayt the 1st two tyms i saw him… he was not bad at his play… HE WAS BEYOND BRILLIANT AT S.P’s ART FACTORY… The highlight of the day in my opinion… A Spiritual and insightful young man… u just need to hear him to understand

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
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Matthew Mokoena

Be servant to all, master to self, like rain... pouring on both the just n the unjust... Change is here, now... WATCH...

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  • Neli

    I’m really bummed I missed it. But this exceptionally descriptive and well written review gives me a vague idea 0f the j0urney that a very s0und mind went 0n when they watched the sh0w…s0 I can trust his senses, Matt, l0l **,

    *p0ints at Mal0se*…I kn0w that guy *jumping up and d0wn*

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Donald The Neosapien

    Hey Matt!! Very articulately crafted sir!! Thank you so much TPP much respect to you as you are one of the best writers of this age brother. Sfiso, I am truly humbled to hear such words, people like you motivate us to keep going, thank you. Puleng and Mashilo, there is always a next time, thank you for having an interest in this art form.
    Yes we will never rid ourselves of the the super-glued “struggling” to our names because of a lack of support. How ironic that we are very quick to give props to one another when one gets off stage but when its time to transform that prop to support we back down…I applaud you guys for leading by example and not verbs like the rest of society’s thinkers. Let us continue to support one another and grow, sooner or later we will be successful and recognised as the tools we are as poets in society.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • TPP

    Thanks Matt, I always enjoy a good story well written and truthful. This is an eye opener for all of us, Donald is by far one of the greatest among us on the street and if his show can have a low turn out then that’s a cry for help, we eed to change things, how about we all vow to at least try not to come alone to sessions, bring a friend and more friends, I have been doing it rescently and I have people fallign in love with this thing, it’s ntoa cult it’s an under apreciated art form. Maybe this whole thing needs to be looked at very well, we as artists need to find the problems and the solutions because as long as we dont act, the phrase, ‘As broke as an artist’ will become a cliche sooner than it becomes a punchline.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • let me say this in agreement also to TPP..”, 1stly, dankie for reading the article,u not only supporting Don but also myself n the work that this space is tryin to “ante up.” It’s a long story that i’d like to share, bt i’ll leave out a bulk of the meat. People r hungry, they jus don’t know wat exactly they’re hungry for. their stomachs tell them it’s meat, but all the satisfactions of this world lack longevity. I knw it’s gonna seem a rather tainted/blemished n unpure comparison, but it was through word that God made His attempts to reach out to man and it is through word that we can do the same. We call it the Spoken Word. 2me it is Life/Love/God. People pay to go where they r lied to, but hardly consider platforms where they can hear the truth… so mayb it is a rather monolithic expectation to fill up our venues… or maybe we just need to become mammoths… so… we jus shouldn’t be allowed to come to shows alone ne, once… ya.. and dat venue was like finding a needle in a dessert storm**, and still, dankie for de support to all of yol, it’s not JUST for Don… it’s for SPOKEN WORD

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Leng

    hai hai hai am so taken wish i was there to witness it for myself, but like the reviwer said,am not going to wait for you to blow up before i start supporting you!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • TPP

    Matt, I got one thing to say to you, ‘uyaloya saan’. The first paragraph had me gassing bro, you make me never want to write again!!! I applaud your professional approach to this piece, it was unbiased and balanced in my opinion. I would like to briefly comment on the low turn out of the show.

    I think the main reason a lot of us could not make it is because of the location, it was a bit too out of reach. The show was well advertised but the location… Besides that most of the street fan base is hardly well off to spend in theatres and the likes, that is why it takes a lot to even fill up a free slam. I also think the low turnout is an indication of how much still has to be achieved in the poetry industry, not only we as individuals have to up the ante and create the demand, but the whole industry of slam needs an overhaul, an approach that will make people take us more seriously in the sense that slam should become a brand, something people feel they should spend on. While the majority of the fan base would not spend on a gig like this nightclubs are packed on Saturday night by people who ‘want to leave at 10’. Why are these people not comin to a poetry show that ends at 10 so they can go home when the show ends? Well, because they are not compelled to spend. We need a revolution, we need to build the brand of slam and make crowds out there as addicted to slam as we are, to feel that passion…yada yada I think I have said too much

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • Mashilo

    i can only wish i was there to witness for self

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Sfiso atomz

    The neosapien remains true 2 what poetry shud b… A movement 4 social change. Was at the show at wits, wil go there again sat. Big ups, new man of God.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • On a real though… This guy is probably the dopest, illest, sickest poet i’ve ever seen… He was ayt the 1st two tyms i saw him… he was not bad at his play… HE WAS BEYOND BRILLIANT AT S.P’s ART FACTORY… The highlight of the day in my opinion… A Spiritual and insightful young man… u just need to hear him to understand

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
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