Angela Thandizwe Mthembu on the page and Angelyric on stage. A South African-born expressionist, painting her truth, to awaken feelings that convey emotional meaning. It is through evocative poetry that she creates protest art that offers an alternative to traditional forms and conformity. Her words are directed at social and political transformation. After being awarded the bronze prize in the Caxton writing competition for her creative essay titled ‘city of happy folk’, she was inspired to create the art collective PG13.
With youthful rhythms accompanied by ancient grooves and harmonies of tomorrow, PG_13’s sound is not jazz or Rock’n’roll- it is where those rivers meet, balancing on a tight rope of Maskandi. Angela Thandizwe Mthembu, has performed at the Joburg, Rockwood and Soweto theatre, Port Elizabeth Opera house, Soda studios, Alliance Francaise of Johannesburg, African beer emporium, Rumours Rock city, Botaki Ba Afrika, 27 Boxes, Scary Canary, Bassline, AGOG Gallery, Carfax, the SABC, Grahamstown Art Festival, Fete De La Musique and Smoking Dragon Festival. Together with her band, she produced an EP called Hekaya which is available on Bandcamp. (Hekaya | PG_13sa (bandcamp.com)
She has contributed to virtual performances for the African Union, Germany’s Wicked festival poetry booth, Radioactive Blog, Pick-me-up Poetry, Poetic Thursday, and a heritage celebration by Nike South Africa. In 2020 she was selected as one of the top 50 artists under the banner of poetry by the Imbewu Art festival endorsed by the Department of Sport, Art and Culture. She formed part of the Music X Words project’s top ten, an initiative by music in Africa, that aimed to bring spoken word and music to a global audience. In 2021 as an attempt to combat her fear of slamming, She entered the WordNSound digital slam, forming part of its current top five. In May 2022 she entered the Poetry Africa Louder than a vote competition placing in the top ten. Angela Thandizwe Mthembu has been featured on Vancouver Co-op Radio (Canada), KayaFM, Power FM, Impulse radio, Cliff central and Amanda Eke’s the poet speaks (Japan). In 2022 she formed a third of the Ekurhuleni South African Library week slam poetry Judging panel.
As a published author, she is part of the French Institute of South Africa and Impepho press’s ‘Yesterdays and imaging realities: An Anthology of South African poetry, as well as Letting in the light by chasing dreams publishing. She is currently working on her collection called Amazwi we Sizwe. Her thoughts can also be found in the research project, Building together – Towards a Roadmap for African Language Technologies. Her mantra which she embraced during the editing process of Hekaya is ‘everyone has a story, those who don’t have one, have not found themselves and everyone is becoming legendary, those who aren’t don’t see themselves.