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?UESTIONS: Kingombe Onyangunga

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

King by name, King by nature. Kingombe Onyangunga is a poet who uses the power of word to express his understanding and reflection of life. A social commentator for the many injustices, questioning how power, wealth and occupation is unfairly dealt.

Where did your journey begin as a spoken word artist?

My journey began when I came across the poetry of Grey Gowrie in Luton hospital library. Being in that environment his writing was a small discovery that opened me to writing.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Writers are inspired by life, personally depending on whether I am writing to express or vent or as a challenge to myself what inspires me can vary. When I need to vent frustration, life’s bumps or events of the world can inspire me to write. Other times it’s the simple things, things in which we find beauty or joy can inspire me to write. We’re a reflection of our world and I feel we express this reflection through our choice of words and how we use those words.

Do you ever have a creative block? How do you overcome it?

I find the term creative block interesting. As writers we are a reflection of our world, in particular as poets. There are times when we are frustrated, happy or even angered and the words flow without you having to think. When we find a block in our creativity, sometimes it’s down to how we are living/treating ourselves at that time. I’d add further, at times what we’re trying to do/write at the time might not be a true reflection of what we feel, yet there isn’t a block. Personally, if I experience a creative block, it’s because I don’t actually know what it is I am trying to say or even want to say. If I have a specific topic and I am challenging myself or being commissioned for a project/collaboration – I research the topic and look at other examples of work to fuel my creativity. If that doesn’t work, I live life, I enjoy the small moments, I take on board the frustration and when I am compelled to write and know what I want to say, I write – sometimes you just can’t force it.

What do you feel are the most common misconceptions of spoken word?

That it is supposed to rhyme and be theatrical or dramatic. Expression comes in many forms, spoken word is the expression of varied types of people, and there is no set way of doing it. I’d like to add amongst spoken word artists I feel there is a common misconception that you have to sound like everyone else or follow a pattern. There are overlaps and commonalities, we’re human, influenced often by the same things and exposed often to the same things, so at times, there will be similarities however, the way we process and experience things is individual – so should your writing. It doesn’t need to follow a pattern, it should just be you.

Do you get nervous before performing?

When performing definitely, whenever I feel like I’m not performing I’m not nervous, that’s when it feels best.

How important is expression in terms of an outlet?

Without expression, life is stale and we as people not only box ourselves - we do ourselves harm. Without expression how do we understand the world around us or make sense of those around us. Expression doesn’t always need to be some grand political statement or show; it can be a few words.

If spoken word was introduced into schools, how do you feel it would impact society?

People would be more comfortable expressing themselves. I feel people’s command of language would vastly improve and we would take more time to listen, to understand each other.

How important is it to have a dream?

Dreams are amongst the most personal and individual things a person can have. When you close your eyes at night only you can see what you see. Even when you tell some else your dream, break down the colours, the surroundings the scene, the person you tell will never see your dream how you saw it. I believe this applies to dreams we have as individuals: our ambitions for the world and ourselves. If you are not empowered or inspired by your own mind, how do you expect to manoeuvre through life?


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