World Poetry Day – Interview with Tumelo Khoza ( of Cup O’ Thought)

World Poetry Day comemoration in Durban

World Poetry Day comemoration in Durban

The following is a short electronic interview the administrators of the Lyrical Bacteria (LB) blog had with Tumelo Khoza (TK) of Cup O’ Thought.

LB: Recently one has seen the emergence of Cup O’ Thought slam poetry sessions in Durban. What necessitated the formation of these sessions?

TK: Last year I travelled to some provinces in the country, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Eastern Cape in the pursuit of finding inspiration in places outside of home, out of my comfort zone, and I did. I returned home and my mate Thando Mlambo and had already had a vision of one day creating a platform for poetry to meet and inspire each other. That is how Cup O’ Thought came about. The collaboration between an events co-ordinator and a poet. Cup O’ Thought will run on the 1st Saturday of every Month as from April at Alliance Francaise in Durban. This collaboration with AF began in January this year. Poetry Africa has joined in, we run the monthly slam as a build up to the Slam Jam which will take place in October during the International Poetry Africa Festival.

LB: In the past decade,how has the state of poetry been in Durban/ KZN?

TK: It has progressed in ways that cannot be explained. I started attending sessions at the Bat Centre in Durban when I was 15, looking up to poets such as Mputlane wa Bofelo, Rose Makhosi, Coolfire Hadebe, Zorro, Miracle and so many more. Since, the youth of that time have added branches to the poe_tree, creating opportunities for the generation after us to perform and share their poetry as the generation before us did so in the past.

LB: what role do you think schools and institutions have to play to help make a poetry sphere thrive and be successful?

TK: There are sessions which take place both in high schools and tertiary institutions. It seems poetry is a remedy for the youth. It gives them/us an opportunity to use language, be it English or Nguni to address social issues and express/share probable solutions to the predicaments that society faces.

LB: How do you think poetry collectives and movements in the SADC region can join hands to improve the state of poetry in the region?

TK: I believe they can assist in ensuring that poetry is taken to places where this craft is scarcely given the chance to bloom. They can help take poetry to the people who need to hear it the most.

LB: What are the main challenges of organizing poetry events and thus far how have you tackled some of those issues?

TK: Finances are a predicament at time, we are still seeking stable sponsorship. But things are happening, slowly, and more doors are opening 🙂 that’s a good thing, progression sure is something worth being grateful for.

LB: What do you think is the significance of celebrating World Poetry Day?

TK: We’ll be blessed with local talent from hip hop artist Keynotez Bazooka and his band Ground Zhero, 5 poetry from Durban High School who call themselves The Tribe and singer/poet Phumzile Zondo, along with that awesome lineup we’ll have a guest poet who’ll be featured, from the International Time of the Writer Festival, and we’ll have the monthly slam as the cherry on top. World Poetry Day will be celebrated in full swing today in Durban. We’re looking forward to being the fertile soil in which more inspiration is planted

~The End~

-::Lyrical Bacteria::-.



  1. This is thoroughly exciting stuff!! I am a multi-slam winning poet in Joburg and I too have performed all over the country and I am quite fond of the scene in Durban. We were the 1st to perform at the very 1st Cup O’ Thought in October 2011 where we shared the stage with a pool of talented Durban poets, this is truly an amazing platform which not only achieves its goal to inspire artists but certainly exceeds far beyond. Bravo Tumelo Khoza and Thando Mlambo, much love and God bless.

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