In Conversation with: Bafana Nyandeni

Bafana Nyandeni

Bafana Nyandeni is a writer, poet and most recently, a motion director, producing and directing poetry videos. My motto is “Love word and love people”.

Where did your passion for writing come from?

My passion came from being scolded in primary school for failing to write a poetry homework. After that day I learned how to use words to not only escape my reality but also as a voice for those who were too scared to speak out.

Why did you choose poetry in particular?

I was drawn to poetry because of its inability to conform to normal language barriers that a lot of writing has to live by. Poetry allows you to voice your emotions as bare as you would want while using every resource that life gives you, as a metaphor for all your emotions. And for me, this looked like an escape into a world that my reality had not yet tainted.

Which poets inspire you the most?

My love for poetry started when I was introduced to the works of Tumi Molekane and Lebo Mashile, their spoken word gave me the confidence to want to share my heart with the world. I am also inspired by the likes of Joseph Solomon who can share their faith through poetry without any fear. One thing I am trying to learn is how to be as artistically vulnerable as Modise Sekgothe and Nomonde Sky are in their poetry.

What do you hope people will get from reading your poetry?

My heart, more than anything. A lot of my poetry comes from a place of reality in that I aim to tell stories which are not always my own, but which resonate with me on a spiritual level. It is my hope that people feel the earnestness in my works.

Of all your poems which one is your favourite?

Earlier this year I released a free electronic book that had a range of different poems one of which was “Untitled” wherein I tell a story of a girl who is trying to forgive her father after he had spent most of her childhood raping her. This poem might not necessarily be my favourite, but it has a very special place in my heart.

What inspired you to publish your poetry book? 

Bafana Nyandeni - poet

The title of my published book is Mama: A Collection of Her Poems and it is a collection of poems that tell the story of my late mother’s love as I experienced it growing up. The way my mother loved inspired me to want to shine a light on the countless sacrifices that black mothers do for their families all in the name of love.

Where can people get a copy of your book? 

The book is currently on sale at Bridgebooks in Johannesburg, or alternatively you can order directly from me.

How did your podcast come to be? 

I wanted to create a space wherein poets allow their audience to engage deeper with their poetry and in a way invade their sacred writing space. It’s a space where a poet walks you through the meaning and inspiration behind some of the words used in a certain poem.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given? 

If you feel called to do something, just do it. Take the first step without worrying too much about where the rest of the steps are going to come from, because opportunity will always be useful to those who are already moving.

What are you most proud of about being South African? 

I love the diversity in language. It gives you many avenues that you can use for expression.

How would you like to be remembered? 

As someone who lived in the fullness of life without letting fear cripple me or my dreams.

Social media

Twitter: @NyandeniBafana

Instagram: Bafana Nyandeni

Facebook Page: Kwane Writes

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