As part of the annual Maun International Arts Festival, the War of Word (WOW) Slam contest has been taking place for the past four years. The competition features national and international poets who have been invited to take part in the Maun International Arts Festival. The winner of the slam was South African wordsmith Hector Kunene who was de-crowned the following year by Zimbabwean Poet ASA. Poet ASA won two championships (one of them in a tie with AnthXny of Botswana) in a row, only to be defeated in 2019 by Vanessa VanVan Chisakula from Zambia.
Botswana slammer who presented notable performances in the past three contests and came short of winning is AnthXny. In fact, in 2017, AnthXy shared the championship with Poet ASA.
One of the things that made the 2019 contest quite different from the rest is that for the first time, there was a slammer who presented in the traditional Setswana praise poetry. In the past, all the presentations had been in English.
About the 2019 Champion, Vanessa Chisakula
Lusaka born Poetess Vanessa Chisakula Aka VanVan, is an unapologetic page and spoken word artist.
She is a prolific serial poetivist, filmmaker, radio personality and women's rights champion (Milead fellow 2019), in her mission to use poetry as an activism tool at heart are issues of prime concern are all sorts of social injustice and gender discrimination. Leading to her recently being selected to represent Zambia in the Milead fellowship (Under Moremi Initiative). Picked amongst young female African emerging leaders who convened in Ghana July 2019.
VanVan has done invitational performances for Action Aid Zambia (AAZ) , Center for Trade Policy & Development Zambia (CTPD), Hivo's Southern Africa and Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR). She has also scintillated audiences at the Annual Anti Drug Day 2018 for the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC). Van-Van has appeared at the monthly Poet Spring at Alliance Françoise and is also a bona fide performing member at Word Smash Poetry, where she is co-founder and also curator standing at the realm of sparking conversation and Influencing decisions.
VanVan has tantalized audiences at the Intwasa Arts Festival in Zimbabwe for two executive years. Her poetics shocked social media audiences with her recent piece of work which went viral with over 3 million Facebook views and also conquered SADC Twitter and Instagram's Shade room Africa.