South African poet Masai Dabula snatched Shoko Festival’s Breaking Barrier Poetry Slam from highly competitive local and international poets.
The slam which was held at Book Café last night saw 13 poets in the name of the Orator, Souza, Protest Poet, Ewok, Moreblessing ‘Ms Bluez’ Size, Dimitri, Bravoman, Christopher ‘D’Vokal’ Chiwanza, Afurakan, Tinashe, The Answer and the winner Masai Dabula. They performed to an excited and rowdy crowd who all had strong opinions on each performance.
Canadian wordsmith Ian Kamau opened the first round as the sacrificial poet warming up the audience.
He set a high bar for competitors who came neck to neck tackling various subjects among them service delivery, hygiene, corruption, poverty, abuse, human rights and religion.
Though all participants gave out their best, the main highlights of this round were the ZBC TV’s Starbrite finalist Bravoman and South African poets Ewok.
However, despite being the crowd’s favorite Bravoman failed to make it to the second round as the judges awarded him 22 points.
The audience and the slam master Madzitatiguru protested for a better score but all was in vain.
Only half the participants made it to the second round namely Tinashe, Ms Bluez, Ewok, Afurakan, Masai, Orator and The Answer.
In this round bad time management cost the defending champion Afurakan his title and the right to participate in the finals while fellow South Africans Ewok and Masai continued their dominance.
They however faced a stiff competition from Botswana’s The Answer who like Ewok came out with the maximum points.
Only one lady, Tinashe who jammed religious pieces made it to the last round competing with Ewok, The Answer and Orator.
They all delivered great pieces but in the end Masai who jammed a conscious piece on peace emerged the victor, again with 30 points.
He walked away with NoViolet Bulawayo’s novel We Need New Names and a Shoko Festival t-shirt while Ewok who was on second place got the book Branching Streams Flow In The Dark by Charles Mungoshi and also a t-shirt.
Orator who was on third place was awarded with Julius Chingono’s book Together.
Shoko Festival continues today with The Hub Unconference which will unpack the power and role of alternative media and technology in our evolving society. Tonight will see the Chiwoniso Maraire main stage lit up by a host of performers headlined by Tony Rebel who arrived from Jamaica on Wednesday. Shoko runs over the weekend with most functions taking place at Waterwhirld. In its third year now, this is a calendar highlight not to be missed.