Body of Words theatrical poetry performance

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Johannesburg will be treated to a three-day cultural experience rich and satisfying in the flavours and sounds of South Africa’s leading women poets.

Long overdue, the three-day performances of moving and original poetry will take place at the Lab Theatre bringing together award-winning and published poets: Linda Gabriel, Myesha Jenkins, Khanyi Magubane, Lebo Mashile, Natalia Molebatsi, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Khosi Xaba.

Body of Words weaves an extraordinary range of poetic expression into a powerful stage performance in dialogue, monologue and song. Audiences can expect an entertaining show promising stimulating, sexy, thought-provoking, funny, and engaging poetry delivered with skill, style and humour.

The performances take place as follows:

For further information, interviews and media queries, kindly contact:

Palesa Mazamisa

M: 072.486.7507



Short biographies of the poets are as follows:

Linda Gabriel

Linda Gabriel is one of the crop of exciting female performance poets to emerge out of Zimbabwe. She has participated in major literary events in Zimbabwe and other southern African countries. She gives credit to Zimbabwe’s well renowned poets Victor Mavedzenge and Albert Nyathi and Charlie Dark a British poet for mentoring her.

Gabriel participated in the British Council initiative, Power in the Voice in Zambia, and has additionally performed at Harare International Festival of Arts, Arts Alive, Jozi Spoken Word Festival, among others. In January 2009, Gabriel added a musical dimension to her performance and formed a performance band aptly named Open4mo that includes Themba Mawoko on mbira, Stanley on acoustic guitar, and Gabriel herself slamming her poetry to the rhythms.

Myesha Jenkins

Activist, writer, tour guide and performer, Myesha Jenkins integrates life experience into concise, witty poetry that provokes and inspires. Her work featured in We are… (ed. Natalia Molebatsi, Penguin 2009), Canopic Jar (2009), Isis X (Botsotso Publishing 2005), and Baobab Journal. Her collection Breaking the Surface (Timbila 2005) has sold over 1200 units.

She co-founded the spoken word collective Feela Sistah and Jozi House of Poetry monthly sessions. In 2009, Jenkins created and performed in a showcase for young poets for PACOFS at the National Arts Festival, and Babel: a poetry intervention for the International Summit on Arts and Culture.

Khanyi Magubane

Experienced journalist, writer and poet, Khanyi Magubane has worked at various radio stations as presenter, producer, reporter and news anchor, and is also a film features writer.

Magubane has published in a number of anthologies including, Sections of six (2008), Basadzi Voices (2006), Words gone too soon. Khanyi can be heard every Sunday on SAfm’s Living Sounds between 18h00 and 19h00.

Lebo Mashile

The poet, performer, actress, presenter and producer Lebogang Mashile began to achieve recognition as one of South Africa’s most popular young artists in 2002. In 2003 she co-founded the “Feel a Sistah!” Spoken Word Collective alongside Myesha Jenkins, Ntsiki Mazwai and Napo Masheane.

She was the presenter and producer of the television programme “L’Atitude”. She has published a book of poetry “A Ribbon of Rhythm” (2005), self-produced album “Lebo Mashile Live!”, and in June of 2008, Mashile published her second anthology entitled “Flying Above the Sky”. Mashile has also performed in the stage adaptation of K. Sello Duiker’s ‘The Quiet Violence of Dreams’, while in October of 2008, Mashile wrote and performed in a cross-media and cross-generational collaboration with renowned choreographer Sylvia Glasser entitled ‘Threads’. In 2006 she was awarded the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, the premier prize for African literature.

Natalia Molebatsi

Natalia Molebatsi writes and performs poetry and song at corporate and cultural events. She is also a freelance writer and does regular reviews and articles on books and artists.
Besides, until now Natalia has performed at, among others, the First Encounter between South African and Philippine Poets (hosted by the University of South Africa – UNISA) and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam.

In Italy she participated at the Udine Solidale and Sunsplash Music Festivals in Udine the Anam Cara, The Goddess Awakened international conferences hosted by the University of Udine and the ISOLA international conference in Lecce, the International Poetry festivals of Florence and Genoa.She has also lectured at the Universities of Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers wrote for television for ten years before publishing her first collection, Taller than Buildings (2006). Her poetry and prose are published in local and international journals and anthologies, and she has performed on a number of local and overseas platforms.

Her one-woman show, Original Skin, has toured in South Africa and abroad. Her new book is called The everyday wife is published by Modjadji Books and will be launched at the London Book Fair and the Harare International Festival of the Arts in April 2010.

Khosi Xaba

Poet, writer and activist, Makhkosazana “Khosi” Xaba published her first collection of poetry These Hands (Timbila) in 2005. She was the 2005 winner of the Deon Hofmeyr Award for Creative Writing for her short story, Running. Her poems have appeared in many publications in South Africa and were part of the 2005 women-only anthology, ISIS X (Botsotso).

Before turning to writing, she worked in international and local women’s health NGOs in many roles: director, manager, researcher, training and education materials developer, gender trainer, facilitator, policy developer and feminist activist. She published extensively locally and abroad on various topics on women’s health. Her life before that was spent in political activism. She has been writing a biography of Helen Nontando (Noni) Jabavu a South African.

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