Mo Malele is an entrepreneur and poet who is passionate about storytelling. She is closely involved in promoting the use of technology in marginalised communities. PDBY conducted an online interview with her to discuss her poetry.
She describes herself as a “spoken word artist and a slam poet” and went on to explain exactly what spoken word meant to her. For her, poetry is about authentic and organic storytelling which by necessity, must not only speak truth to power, but also peel through your own layers. Malele’s work is very personal as it has a startling focus on self-awareness and self-love, and the ways in which this “self” can be conveyed to an audience.
Malele stumbled into poetry about ten years ago when, coming from a more hip-hop background, she shared her music with her friends who pointed out that her work was very poetic. She then started to look into poetry and never looked back. She started writing lyrics and performed them as poetry instead of music, and got her first gig in October
“ The main message that she tries to convey is “the power of the self”.“
Malele points out four different categories that her poetry fits into. Firstly, she performs poetry that is very politically influenced, work that focus on current affairs, democracy, and the struggle. Secondly, she often writes on self-love and self-discovery, and also looks at love and the sorrow of heartbreak. She speaks about depression and mental illness, and overcoming those challenges. The final part – the bulk of her work – is dedicated to motivation of the self and of others. The main message that she tries to convey is “the power of the self”. She takes a very Socratic approach and states that “you have to be aware of the life that you are living”. She believes in the power of ordinary people to make it through oppressive circumstances, and one’s own power to effect change. This all feeds into her guiding principle which is simply passion .
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected her work drastically and she had to clear her calendar and move everything that she does online. She released an album that had been in the works for some time, in the first week of April. Though not ideal, she approaches the situation with a “let’s just go with it” attitude and continues to be active online. The album is titled My Country Needs Me. It is available on all streaming platforms, and is a response to all the challenges present in the country, and how one can contribute to the good of the country even in the smallest ways.
The message that she wants to tell the world is “don’t focus on the macro change that you can impact, because that’s often overwhelming […] focus on the micro, the little things that you can do every single day that can change the life of one person […] it’s really the micro things that build up to a macro impact.”