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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...

Re-counting the year

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”Be mindful, in all it gives (all the secrets it consistently shares) the world will not remind you how Godless you’ve rendered it. Nor will it be moved to tears at how mercilessly you’ve ruled its people or at how selfishly you’ve served its masters. It will, however, continue sending its rain to both the just and the unjust. And in efforts to unearth your character, it could send yours truly more privilege and less responsibility. In all this, God will continue speaking to those who will listen and they will continue saying, ‘AMEN.’”

This rather pious soundtrack is being played by none other than my own soul, and I, being more than willing to appease this rendition-less baroque, dance.(Albeit with two left feet.) I find myself struggling to align myself to the rhythm of my purer self these days, but being at the end of another year (at least another year for me) I am, once again, at the alpha of a new beginning.

About ten months ago I found myself cornered by my talents. They demanded to know what my intentions for them where, provoking me, bludging obscure questions on me. “Do you want to be remembered as the servant who dug a hole to hide his talent or the two wise ones, with a revelation, who knew to multiply them?” Perhaps by volunteering them to the Consciousness fold, I, in many ways, absolved myself through the imputing penances of service. Having turned 26 on the 4th of this month, I thought this article would bear relevance as a reflection of the “Spoken Minds” journey thus far, highlighting moments shared with people that stood out for me, as individuals, artists and (some) invariably… as friends.

Prior to meeting up with the duo (or is it trio now?), A Huge_Impakt, I had never written an article nor had I dreamt of interviewing (read: spending time) some of the most influential spoken word artists in our beautifully enigmatic country. One artist in particular, a possible humble guy, displayed both inertia and an ego with bus-like potential and as a result I felt the ‘interview’ was the sourest I have ever participated in. He reminded me of one of the forerunners of the TUT Street Poets Society, an extremely talented gentleman I have always viewed as an allegory for the word ego, Percy Mabandu (Writer for The City Press.) A Huge_Impakt is perhaps the most precociously talented hip hop crew I have ever come across, making a name for themselves within the underrated underground circles of (some) profound thinkers. Having seen them perform at shows such as “A Travellist’s Tale prt 1,” “Stones (Hatfield),” “Street Poets Recap City” and “Art Factory”, “State Theatre Stage Nites” and recently the “School of Creative Arts Art Factory”, they have gone on to leave an everlasting impression on me. They were, (un)fortunately, my ‘willing’ guinea pigs who also happen to hold the title of being “The 1st Spoken Minds.” Check out the interview with “A Huge_Impakt” on this link https://consciousness.co.za/interact/spoken-mind/huge-impakt/

Lebo Mashile

I recall being left breathless after seeing Lebo perform for the first time in Pretoria on September 2005; I vividly remember being blessed by her words in Grahamstown ’07. I recall ebulliently and persistently pestering Lebo Mashile on G-mail’s chat, thank God for Facebook, and finally managing to meet up with her at the Sophiatown restaurant in Jo’burg with my friend and colleague, Khaya Sibeko, who effervescently agreed to assist me. I recall no words, just the presence of a woman whose spirit was sufficient to color the conversation with an indescribably perplex beauty. I recall leaving the table that afternoon thinking, “Wow, this sister is delightfully long winded.” That was by far the easiest and most comfortable ‘interview’. That night I wondered if the passion burning inside me would gift me the joy of doing this as a paying and fulfilling ‘career,’ guess we will see in time. Follow this link to check out the interview with Lebo Mashile: https://consciousness.co.za/interact/spoken-mind/the-innerview-of-lebo-mashile/

Perhaps the world of ‘Women in poetry’ is a very small one or these women clearly enjoy each others companionship. The next four interviews saw us enthralled in the estrogen friendly world of some of the greatest poets in South Africa. Ironically enough, these women also shared the same taste in restaurants, because, when we weren’t meeting at Sophiatown, we were meeting around the corner, at Keldis, where they make the most delicious coffee ever. Slow brewed, extra matured”, (Thanx Linda)

In truth, writing for Consciousness has become more than about utilizing talents. It has become about talents utilizing me to better insight, to shape perspective, to sharpen foresight and see exactly how the other two servants multiplied their talents. God is an incredible potter, even with stubborn clay. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is perhaps the more befitting character of the latter statement, except that I neither find her as stubborn nor do I believe her personality to resemble something as dry and humorless as clay. She is by far the least frugal in terms of sharing inspiration and praise. Her support displaying an alacrity only matched by that  of Spanish footballers field antics, but to avoid rendering hapless eulogy’s, check out my article on her on this link:


On this journey, we shared stories, food and thought provoking insights which saw the likes of the forever young spirited, Myesha Jenkins, joining our Consciousness family as a contributor to the Stream of Consciousness. She is as a green, gigantean spirit oozing with the freshness of perspective. Her words perfectly gesticulated her points in the absence of flaring hands and stirring eyes.  We spoke business, laughed, gave in to nerves and sometimes ‘groupie-dom,’ (well at least the editor did.) The interviews under the umbrella of the Spoken Mind are perhaps as far removed from the conventional aesthetics found under ‘how to conduct an interview with royalty 101’ as nuns are from marrying catholic priests, but they have been much appreciated anecdotes to many who have taken time to read them. I got a revelation of what it means to ‘run with a story,’ especially for a young (read: cash strapped) online platform such as this precious one, where all we have are dreams, two feet and ambition. I often wondered whether the masses ever asked themselves, “How did they get her to agree to this?” or whether they were aware of the countless times I have stood in a Pta – Jhb taxi queue, wondering about traffic and whether my boss (from my 9-5) would nurse her fetish by dialing X3355 and furiously wonder where I had disappeared to. Whether anyone knew that at times, we got close to not making it home, that it was only through divinely manifested chance that we got a lift after a show we had to cover that ended at 10pm in another city.  I did however realize something awe inspiring about the artists that braced Consciousness, particularly this blog, they visualize something more rudimentarily precious than wealth. For words are the purest artifacts, the oldest source of deriving wealth and understanding, of inspiring love and, over a cup of coffee, I’ve learnt that words are mediums, both of  attaining salvation and of being delivered to slavery. And it is older people who have learnt well how to utilize and preserve them. How to preserve their history and temporarily document, through speech, a people’s existence to their children and children’s children, but I am afraid the time of inspiring the young through story telling is fast becoming extinct. I do not quite know how we are doing it, but very quickly, we are rendering words obsolete. So I find peace in sharing space with beings like umam’ Khosi Xaba. I find joy from heeding the far reaching words of Natalia Molebatsi and Linda Gabriel. I am cognizant of the intellectual property stored in their minds and the friendships brewed and matured by Word. Whether such friendships are ultimately formed with Deity (God) or unknowing mortals such as Antonio Lyons, for the small mercies and joys, I am thankful.

With all that said, one of my highlights for the year was attending the “A Body of Words” production at the Market Theatre’s Lab which featured Lebo Mashile, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Myesha Jenkins, Khosi Xaba, Natalia Molebatsi, Linda Gabriel and Khanyi Magubane (who was absent on the night.) To see that story, click this link: https://consciousness.co.za/interact/spoken-mind/body-of-words-review/

They say, “Love what you do and do what you love.” No one gives you the directions to finding what it is that you love, but the gift of love in itself is a revelator of sought. So I intend walking, stick in hand, blinded by the light bestowing presence of the love of Word, Gods Word first, followed by the words of enlightened mortals that I believe to be most deserving of legendary status. Individuals, who discern with their souls, lead with their actions and point with the magic fingers of their words. Blessed wizards constantly burdened by the full weight of the dualities of life, i.e. good and evil, light and darkness. This is not the end of my journey, it is in no doubt just the beginning, and I would like to express the simplest gratitude to those who have walked the journey with me, whether by way of comment, spreading word or even downloading and saving my work, your comradely actions are incessantly appreciated by myself and most of all by Consciousness. I still say, for any suggestions, criticism or to contact me, hit me up on matthew@consciousness.co.za.

To check out all of the Spoken Mind articles, click the Spoken Mind link on the right of your screen on the homepage and more importantly, spread the word.

I would like to wish all the students who will be writing their finals within the next 2-3 weeks the best of outcomes. “The more you practice, the luckier you get.” Gary Player



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