1. Take us back to where it all began; how did you guys meet?
In 2011 I (Kabelo ‘KB Kilobyte’ Ringane) was performing at the University of Pretoria poetry sessions held at the Student Centre, I was just 21 years of age. The sessions were hosted by Vangile Gantsho, one of SA’s Female Poets and writers today. I was then approached by Maanda Nengome who asked me if it was possible to channel my poetry into Christian poetry. I agreed and started writing, soon to join us was Emmah Mabye and the three of us went on this spiritual journey to use poetry as a medium of God’s word and really evangelise through poetry.
2. How was the conversation like and what was the atmosphere in that room like?
Well, Maanda was a very persuasive person who saw the potential in people and was never wrong when judging a character. He spoke to me as if we are already in agreement, that I would do Christian poetry and that was it. “I want to use poetry to exalt the Kingdom of God and magnify His greatness, we are taking this poetry to churches, to the people and to even those who will not welcome us, KB I see you in this vision……”. Maanda was/is not a poet, he has never written not even a single line in his life, it was most probably his first time seeing poetry being done at the university, but his vision and the way he spoke was inspirational and gave me a sense of purpose and self discovery of myself as a poet as well.
3. Introduce us to your whole team.
We have two categories of the poetry team, ‘The Originals’, and ‘The Born Frees’. But in addition to this we had a lot of assistance from non poets who just wanted to get involved and be part of the movement and vision on Penseed Poets. They were our Financial managers, Admin, Advertising, Communications, Stage Managers, Sound Techs, and of cause the Brains behind everything Maanda. we were truly grateful as poets that our only worry was getting good material to present to the audience.
- KB Kabelo Kilobyte
- Emmah Mabye
- Given Masilela
- Dineo ‘Dee’ Rasedile
- Syd Mofokeng
- Donald ‘The Neosapien’ Mokgale
- Tumi ‘The Woed Shifter’ Makgoale
- Flex Sekamotho
- Vanessa Bashonga
The Born Frees:
- Leo Matthews
- Thabiso Ngwenya
- Mwamba Chileshe
- Meagan Lombard
- Mantombi Mbangata
4. What/who was the main influences that you had?
As a team we have were held together by God and our common beliefs. We also looked up to the work done by other Organisations like P4CM in the US.
5. We see a lot of Christian Creative movements being birthed and soon after die after just a few events, what would you attribute that to and what have you done differently to ensure that you survive this long?
Organisations/Movements that started at tertiary institutions have always found it difficult to progress once the members graduate and relocate to different parts of the world. Failure to recruit and pass the Baton, lack of commitment, adoption of other commitments, professional pursuits and advancements, those are some of the factors that are undeniably the cause of many Christian organisations to fade.
As Penseed, we have made sure that each poet develops themselves as a brand beyond the Umbrella of Penseed Poets, live by the principles we have tried to uphold as an organisation and continue to teach the word of God through poetry. Throughout the years we have hurdled together many a time when needed to perform at events. We have regrouped and understand each other’s commitments as professionals and artists. What I am getting at is that sometimes an organisation requires time for the individuals to mature, get swallowed up by the world, discover themselves and should they emerge to revive what was presumed no more, that organisation will thrive.
6. The first time I saw you performing was in Polokwane by invite from JC Reigns, Please share with us the stages and people you have had the pleasure of performing with?
There is just too many to mention, the most memorable ones was Penseed hosting a show with Ian Kamau (Canada), performing with Jennet Ikz and Ezekiel from P4CM (USA), Performing in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia, our very own Emmah and Given performing at the SALGA conference in Sandton that included the Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Thabiso Ngwenya and Flex’s trips to the US, Given’s one man show 2017, Emmah’s Clocking in Show at the state Theatre 2017, Penseed does not take credit for these achievements but recognise the hard work of the names that stem from the organisation.
7. Beyond South Africa what aspirations do you have?
There is communication with the Legendary Black Ice to have events in Amsterdam, we are in pursuit of Sweden and revisiting Namibia.
8. What drives you? What is the vision and conviction that keeps you going?
The love for poetry and it’s impact, trusting and having faith in God and each other.
9. What lessons would you share with young movements like yours starting up?
- Start a movement beyond the borders of Tertiary institutions.
- Commitment is key, the organisation over egos and personal issues.
- Be prepared to work at own cost for a while.
- Let passion push you.
10. The creative arts space is a very challenging one in South Africa, being a Christian creative arts movement must be much more challenging. What challenges have you had to overcome?
Firstly, being a Christian artist does not necessarily mean one only has to do Christian work. It is about the principles we uphold, how one carries themselves and the work put in. Same as Gospel singers or any other successful Christian. However there are some stages we have not appealed to because of our spirituality, some corporate events that do not accommodate religion. I believe Christians artist are still able to teach in these arenas without forcing Christianity on people.
11. Your ministry relies hugely on the knowledge and time spent in the word, how do you resist solely relying on the talent and slacking in the word?
Church is a great way of spiritual fulfilment, fellowshipping and learning undiscovered thought processing.
12. How can our readership get hold of your products or you for booking?
And official booking platform will be posted soon. People can contact KB Kilobyte on FB or mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Emmah has a book relseased “Clocking In” the same contact details may be used. The rest of the team can be viewed on Youtube for some of their work.