Yamoria – Victim’s Apology | #PoemOfTheMonth : November
Nature has always been the backdrop of everything that happens on Earth. When it’s not giving the gift of life, it’s conveying beauty in it’s simplest form. Johannesburg based spoken word duo Yamoria have used natures’ elegance to put out a collection of their poems through a series called “Yamoria Sunsets”. One standout poem from the series that stuck with us was ‘Victim’s Apology’, an ode to the victims that this country continuously creates. It’s an outcry against the abuse that continues to wound the queens who we were meant to protect and cherish.
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Despite being a duo now, the twins started off their writing and performance journey individually as just Mfumo Ntlhabane and Fumane Ntlhabane. Mfumo, being a performer who is adamant about redesigning the sculpture of black women in society and her sister Fumi, who draws her inspiration from the strength that lies within the human form. Once they decided to collaborate for a showcase by writing love letters to each other, they never looked back. They soon adapted the stage name ‘Yamoria’, which is derived from a character that is from the Dene tribe which originates from Native America. Breaking down their inspiration for the name, they say “The Dene tribe is quite popular for its folk tales and beautiful storytelling and we believe that is what initially attracted us to this tribe because at our core we too are storytellers. In getting to know the character, we discovered that he is a lawmaker who used words to change the state of reality, and what a majestic way that is to describe what we do.”
On Yamoria Sunsets Series…
The two stumbled across the idea for the series when they were driving around with some friends and happened to see a very beautiful sunset on the hill and thought why not perform poetry there. The aim was to allow the viewer to hear the poem in its purest form without lights and mics or theatrics to rely on. Their poem Victim’s Apology is the 4th installment to the series and navigates the mind of a victim of abuse. A topic that has echoed throughout our country for years. We’re reminded of the mental maze of apologies women have to wander around to please an abusive man so they can live to see another day.
On The Inspiration…
The twins describe the poem as a reflection of their negative experiences in their most raw state. “The piece was written at a time where every other minute a new woman was trending as a hashtag on social media, one is burnt and another is stabbed or raped or suffocated. The final line in the poem reads ‘I’m sorry I haven’t learnt to breathe in a body bag” this speaks to the constant state of suffocation we live in on a daily basis but reminds our perpetrators that we will not take it lying down.”
The two creatives are a dynamic duo who have a way of making each poem unique with their delivery style and writing. Whether they’re echoing each others words or reciting lines at the same time, their writing process is quite open and ever changing with every piece. Once an idea is sparked by one of them, over the course of a week or so the pair of them will continue to develop it by adding words and images to the poem until it has a skeletal structure. Another approach of creating for them has also been free verse writing with some of their most treasured pieces coming from a simple session of pen, paper and a whole lot of heart.
Their work has been well received by many of their followers and those who’ve stumbled onto it by chance. Their poetry is refreshing and touches on topics we can all relate to. True penmanship is hard to come by and deserves to be celebrated and this particular stellar piece comes out on top as #PoemOfTheMonth.