Thuto-Gaasenwe is a passionate spoken word poet who studies Civil Engineering and has a love for the art way of life.

First year Civil Engineering student Thuto_Lesedi Gaasenwe is a spoken word poet, actress, singer and firm believer in God. She was introduced to the art way of life when she was 11. The Mahikeng native is a lover of life, strong coffee and a good poetry session.

How wthuto 2ould your friends describe you in three words?

Weird, opinionated, unapologetic.

When did you start doing poetry?

My love for writing/performing started about 4 years ago when my Drama teacher asked me to prepare a piece for a local festival we were having back home. The response was just amazing and that’s when I decided to actually continue with it. And I must say, the poet I was back then is very far from who I am today.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything and everything I can relate to. I am quite an opinionated person so burning issues like politics, current affairs and race excite me. Also, experience drives me. That is why I love being around “weird/different” beings, because nothing “normal” can come out of that. Besides, who likes “normal” poetry anyway.

What type of poetry do you write?

I don’t really like being put in a box so succumbing to a genre or type is not something I do. However, most of my poetry is more spoken word/slam. I write about anything and everything that I can relate to. Be it current affairs, race, politics and even spirituality.

What has been your favourite poem that you have written?

Martyr, I wrote it 2years ago and it is about an overly personal experience I had when I was 15. I have never performed it and I plan never to. I read it every once in a while when things aren’t going good, as though to remind myself that I have survived worse.

Do you have poets that have influenced you? Tell me about 2

Lebo Mashile and Warsan Shire amongst many others. Their writing is just sacred and godly. I will forever have the utmost respect for them.

Your poem Dr. Mr President went viral and received 80k+ views; how did this make you feel and what did you take away from it?

It was an exciting yet scary. I had never received so many views in my life. And of course, the more people see your work, the more criticism you are likely to get. Along with the good stuff, I had a lot of backlash. People focused more on the relevancy of the topic rather than the poetry itself. Which can sometimes work as an advantage or disadvantage. However, I would like to move past Dear Mr President! This is an old poem and I have grown since then.

What would you like to tell your fans/followers?

I want to thank them honestly. Had it not been for them, my work would not get so much recognition. Also, I want them to continue supporting young artists like myself because it is through them that our voices can actually be heard.

What plans do you have for the future?

I want to travel abroad with my poetry. I would love to go to the Afro Vibes fest in the UK one day but before that, I would love to have a one-woman show written by me consisting of both poetry and acting at least by the end of next year. Also, I want to perform in all provinces through the next 2 years, at poetry sessions and slams.