Abondance Matanda has a way with words. With a love of black British culture and a strong interest in both the 1970’s DIY punk movement and the city of London that surrounds her, Abondance is the influential voice on London’s poetry circuit that’s actively spearheading the resurgence of underground activism and DIY publishing through her work. With a sharp wit and precision to match, Abondance’s refreshing and irreverent poetry is just what we need now. Her work is as much an observation of London’s discriminations and realities, as it is an exploration of wider social issues, power dynamics and youth politics. Inter-woven with influences that range from the words of Ms Dynamite and the writings of Toni Cade Bambara, to 90’s Congolese music videos, Abondance’s poems are a deeply personal affair.
A regular on the zine fair circuit, it was at DIY cultures last year that we first had the pleasure of reading Abondance's words. Since 2015, she’s self-published three poetry books: Destructive Disruptive (as she completed her GCSE’S), Da Poetry of My Existence and Bare Fucker1es, that launched on the 5th anniversary of Mark Duggan’s shooting last year and featured 22 of her poems, accompanied by an 11-minute mix on Mixcloud. DIY might have become a trendy word as of late but Abondance’s hand-bound books are the real deal.
Abondance isn’t sitting around waiting for the right publisher, instead she’s going at it alone. As she puts it, “you hustle cos you have to”. It’s the can-do attitude of producing her own publication that allows for her true autonomy to shine through.
The result? A seamlessly executed Abondance Matanda original to keep on your bookshelf for years to come. Vulnerability, honesty, humour. Reading her words is to come home. It’s poetry to muse on. Take your time, digest it slowly and carefully. Then place it securely in pride of place next to your favourite novel, before passing it around your friendship group.
Poetry aside, Abondance also pens articles about art and culture for platforms such as the illustrious gal-dem, LAW and Sula Collective. And, she’s also co-founder of Road Gals LDN, along with Jasmine Kahlia, a female collective documenting girls in grime and hip hop. They also put on events and workshops in London, featuring live female artists, DJ’s and MCs and exhibitions. Abondance is a key figure in the next generation’s growing movement of young black women who are defiantly re-shaping the culture they were lumped with. Tired of a lack of representation, these women are fighting back by taking matters into their own hands with flare. And rightly so.