LOCAL poet Siphokazi Zele believes words have the power to change circumstances and that with her initiative Poetry and Jazz she can change the performance poetry scene in Port Elizabeth.
Now in its third year the event provides a platform for struggling artists to perform at a quality event.
"The event's main aim is to provide a platform to up and coming artists within the Eastern Cape, not only exposing their talent but also exposing them to the highest standard of performance and quality," Zele said.
"This is done by them sharing the stage with experienced and successful artists in the industry.
"Poetry and Jazz is a poet's oyster where they can do what they have always wanted to do.
"The poet can discover their own identity as an artist."
In 2010 Zele decided she wanted to create a platform for herself. "I wanted to show people what I could do," she said.
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University graduate said she has been writing and performing her poetry since 2004 and came from a home filled with the sounds of jazz.
"I have always experienced jazz and poetry in conflict with each other and wanted to combine the two. When these two art forms work together it is amazing," Zele said.
Zele and fellow poet Siviwe Mhlana will perform poetry alongside Lubabalo Luzipo and his jazz band.
"There are moments when Siviwe and I will perform solo and times the band will back us up. The band has produced fresh sounds for the poetry.
"There are a few favourite jazz numbers which will be performed but 90% of the material is specifically written for the show," she said.
Zele will perform Words have Journeyed which highlights the power of words.
"Words are seeds. They are carriers of power – catalysts of change that can awaken power."
"We all have heart and soul and this connects us. With poetry I can ignite a spirit that was dead or comfort someone who is crying."
Mhlana is a Grade 12 pupil at Pearson High School, Zele explained.
"This is her first public event and she is entering the big leagues of poetry where she can make her mark in the performance industry."
The third Annual Poetry and Jazz Evening is tonight at 5.30pm at the Ekupholeni Leisure Centre at 72 Ferguson Road in New Brighton. Tickets are R100 at the door.