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Poetry Slam Tuesday 6th June 2006  
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Pattni Poem
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by Web bandit
This past Tuesday, I went to Club Soundd to check out what they call the Kwani Poetry Slam. Here several poets battle out for a prize. The prize on offer today was to be the headline act at a subsequent Kwani event. It's oddly reminiscent of Battle of the Bands (does Capital FM still do that?) only with poets. A major difference between the poetry slam and battle of the bands is that where the best band is selected by the crowd/audience, the poets in the slam are chosen by a group of judges selected from the crowd. A great way of whiling away a Tuesday evening instead of watching Joey badly missing Phoebe, Chandler and Monica Bing, Ross and Rachel on KTN.

The poster had said that the cost for entry was 100/= and I came with my cash in hand. The only thing was that no one at the door was asking me for cash. Hmmm... Either they were bowled over by my rugged good looks (not likely) or they decided to make it free. Not a problem for me. I went to get me a seat and found myself in the-people-I-know section that included Tony M, Carol M, Ben M, Melissa, June, Mwaniki (the MC) et al. Gitura was also one of the faces I saw by evenings end. There was also a strong contingent from Kenyan media with CampusVybe, Motomedia, Nation media and other media houses being represented.

The first thing you notice about the contestants, especially the babes, was that they were… well... babes. There were no ugly stepsisters on that stage. It was all I could do not to drool my whole 80% to the floor. The poets were pretty good mostly.

Imani some odiero poetess made a pitch to the judges with a poem on smoke no doubt inspired by that stillborn smoking ban.

Sonacha's poem was on a person waiting for the results of a HIV test.

Jemima the cute poetess with the dimple had a poem on... I confess I only remember the dimple, she was apart from being extremely hot extremely incoherent.

3rd eye came and involved us in some chorus singing (padoompoom says he and we clap). Padoompoom ! Clap! Padoompoom ! Clap! Padoompoom ! Clap!

Powers, an American odiero came and gave an impassioned plea to use our mind o ye Americans - his inspiration was how the American public voted in that moron George W as Prezzo. He should hook up with the redykyulas guys and try and form Vijana Tujutuke USA perhaps?

Eudiah came in a butt hugging blue track suit type bottom and it was all I could do to listen to her poem and not concentrate on her extremely well formed body. Either the poem was really bad or she was extremely hot as I cannot recall one line coming out of her mouth.

Ndanu accompanied Aime on the guitar and gave a performance that was easier forgotten than remembered.

Then came this dude who just made me smile. I am not sure whether he was competing. All I remember was that his poem was in the old style of reciting poems that was standard in the 8-4-4 system. How to describe it? The dude would project his voice extremely loudly as he would gesticulate wildly with his hands, legs, everything he could lay his hands on (pun intended). His poem was on peace. The question was why we chose war and refused to go for the greater prize Peace. As far as I could tell, he could as well have been reciting "mgeni kumpokea, kumbe nikujitongea!" The crowd responded well to his efforts as we came to an end of first round.


As a treat Tony a professional poet came and gave a poem on the world cup as we waited for round two. It was a great poem about how the underdogs would this year cause pain and kick the main contenders, the big dogs out of the running, woof woof! While the poem was excellent, it must be said that this fellow seems to have lost the anger that made him such a force of nature. The hunger seems to be gone... or maybe he was more worried about flight arrangements to Chelski loving parts of the world.


With the second round about to begin, I was asked to stand in as a judge as one of the judges had was bout to pass his bedtime and didn't want to miss his milk and cookies – and risk a spanking. The second round was for the six finalists from round one's twenty entrants and they only had 2 minutes to show their class. The first dude that came in was excellent. Oneko the dreadlocked poet came in next with some sort of wind instrument and badly passed the two minute mark. Muki Garang came in next and I had missed his first round presentation with all the lateness and all. The dude can rhyme yawa. He has some extremely great delivery and his piece was greatly received.

Next came Imani whose piece immediately caught my attention. It was about a woman who was waiting for her jamaa to give up them goodies. It was an extremely sensual piece as she weaved an image of a woman who is prepped for the great union of bodies that she anticipates. A union that disappoints her greatly and she regrets “giving all of me” and she should have given him none. Wow.


The last two poetesses' were as different as they can be. Sonasha tall, slim, light skinned, American accent. Marion petit, dark, dark, Miro accent for life. But their pieces and delivery were equally powerful and compelling. As an audience member, I could not for the life of me tell who was better. Sonasha was more polished more influenced by media around - book, TV, movies - and she gave a command performance. Her references made me smile as they reminded me of current life as we know it. Marion on the other hand was rawer with her inspiration coming more from everyday sights and sounds from around the life and times she (and we the audience) went through. She was the consummate storyteller and she seemed to tug at places that I never knew I had.

As we waited for scores to be tabulated, the people's poet, Githuku, was introduced to keep the masses occupied. The dreadlocked fellow immediately asked for Mr. DJ kuweka reggae and went on to give a poetry performance of some note. Sonasha won the slam, but watch out for that Marion people. She is going places. If she keeps at it.

Photos Courtesy of Campus Vybe