By Gavin Gaka
At such a young age, the angelic Sukeina Issofu has managed to find a voice within herself that emotively articulates her journey of transformation through poetry. Curls and Thrills is a collection of spoken-word poetry that expressively details challenging moments in a woman’s life that prove to be the catalyst for growth.
Issofu’s poetry is heavily influenced by hip-hop. The experimentation between poetry and the musical genre is an interesting relationship explored on-stage. Her collection of work is primarily structured in “heat of the moment reflections” that range from love, loss, and the ills rife in society – all expressed through her personal experiences. To watch her speak so strongly on these topics is sobering; it is clear why she creates art. Issofu wishes to empower people to not fear the unlearning and redefinition of the self.
The set is designed with a tender touch through soft lighting, decorated with colorful flowers. Issofu takes the audience through key moments in her life, not shying away from treacherous parts of the human condition.
There is a personal narrative tying the performance together, accentuated by the candid explanations behind her writings. Issofu acknowledges the frequently clichéd attributes present in her romantic poetry, yet embraces their role in fostering a relatable relationship between performer and audience. Although there are a few stutters and stumbles, she remains well-rooted in her stride, making her errors easily forgivable.
The beautiful balance of visual, verbal, and auditory elements do justice in capturing Issofu’s personality. Curls and Thrills is a delicate and moving performance that will have you searching within yourself to kickstart contemplation.
Curls and Thrills is on at The Auditorium, Amazwi Literature Museum, until 26 June.