The Word N Sound Poetry Series was founded in 2010 by poet and spoken word performer, Thabiso “Afurakan” Mohare when the open mic scene was dwindling in Newtown, Johannesburg. Newtown has a long history as the home of poetry and underground hip hop scenes in Johannesburg.
The company and its events have become widely recognised in poetry circles across the country and the globe. It brought london-based, Kenyan-born Somali writer and poet, Warsan Shire, to South Africa long before she gained mainstream popularity as the poet behind Beyonce’s Lemonade and Black Is King albums.
Its foremost mission is to make a positive impact on youth in the city. Word N Sound gives a platform to young aspiring poets and performers. It also engages them on building sustainable careers out of poetry and live literature, thus challenging perceptions that it may be impossible to do so.
It has become synonymous with its annual slam event which has helped launch the careers of poets like Koleka Putuma: whose prolific debut anthology, Collective Amnesia, is breaking records. The Word N Sound poetry festival takes place annually in October.