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Afurakan T Mohare: Poet.

What is the Purpose of art, according to you?

I will answer this by quoting a great poet and friend King Nova “Sometimes art is necessary to show society what else is possible”. I believe art can be the conscious and the muse of a nation. Art allows us to step outside of our boundaries and see things from a different perspective and that is important in an ever-changing society.

What makes the work you do necessary? How does it inform/change normative behavior, society, ideas, beliefs, etc.?

The work that we do does not directly change society, however, it provides a platform and inspiration for young people to contribute to change. Poetry itself can never stop wars or end poverty but it can be a tool that drives society towards the desired changes.

Afurakan (front-centre) and members of the Word N Sound group.

What are the highlights of your career?

There are quite a few – From sharing a stage with Tu Nokwe and Hotstix Mabuse, to opening for Saul Williams, working with young people in the east rand to performing in London, Netherlands and Senegal. I have also been recently crowned the Shoko International Slam Champion. However, I think the greatest highlights happen every month when I see young writers performing amazing poetry at Word N Sound.

Can you share with the Inspired4Writers readers on the challenges and fears you encountered with regards to conveying your work? Any advice for those aspiring to follow in your trail?

In my experience, the greatest challenge has been fear. Fear of starting something and seeing it through. First I had to conquer that bit before I could even imagine contributing anything to the literary scene. Then came self-sacrifice – giving up something for the benefit of the many. Without funding for the Word N Sound project it meant that my partners and I have had to use our own means to ensure that the work goes on. Other challenges have included finding spaces/ venues that believed in what we do and were willing to be patient before they saw any return on their businesses; getting young people to believe that they can change their world and dealing with a society that was never taught to see value in art. My one piece of advice to anyone following in the same line of work – “Patience grasshopper, patience”. Put love in everything you do and have the faith and patience to see it through.

How do you keep yourself informed/inspired?

I am a multimedia junky so I get my information and inspiration through different sources including internet, TV, radio, documentaries, books, articles, newspapers, research papers, poetry, music, theater and general socializing.

Are there people whom you admire in your line of work? Do you have a mentor?

Afurakan, Qhakaza Mthembu & DJ Duce (founders of Word N Sound)

I am what I am because of my mentors. These are various people who have come in and out of my life but have left a lasting impression and imparted some knowledge or abilities. These are people who also inspire me to do so much more. It would take a page to list them all and these names are at the top of mind – Chigo Gondwe (Malawi), Kgomotso Matsunyane, Qhakaza Mthembu, Kojo Baffoe, Lebo Mashile, my mother – Kuki Mohare, Flo Mokale, Myesha Jenkins, Phillippa Yaa DeVilliers, Prof. Kgositsile, Richard Roodt, Nkateko Makhobela (RIP), my grandmother – Morongoe Aphane (RIP), my daughter Morongoe Aphane P, poets, writers, graffiti writers, the real MC’s … I am inspired by what creativity can do and more encouraged by our natural creative genius as Afrikans.

What dreams do you have for yourself?

Primarily I wish to contribute towards building a nation of writers. Everything else is frivolous.

What is the one Truth that you hold onto?

Love and faith are the keys to success in everything we do.