Abondance Matanda 18 London
Categories: Poet, Publisher, Writer

Posted: 12th August 2017

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.

Tell us about yourself and what you do:Just a young black girl growing up in the hood. I write poetry and articles about arts and culture and curate exhibitions and stuff, bare things. I like chilling on the balcony and drinking strawberry Mirinda and gallivanting.How did you initially get into writing poetry?Can’t remember very clearly but I think I just found it cool and therapeutic, wanted to try it out so I did. I wrote diary entries and lickle stories first, then preferred the more concise format of poetry so I ran widdit and initially mimicked my idols, like Alice Walker and Grace Nichols.You often self-publish your poetry, what drew you to the DIY way of working?My interest in the punk movement of the 1970s. More than anything though, I neither come from money nor can I wait for no handouts lol, you hustle cos you have to.There is a strengthening movement of DIY platforms and makers, why do you think this is?People are vex and dissatisfied and disillusioned with the mainstream, popular shit. We clocked the only people who can fully understand and cater to your interests are you and people like you.What does the typical writing process involve for you?It involves honesty and deep thinking and laughter and pride and vulnerability and curiosity and all the emotions people try suppress or subdue in me.Who/what influences your work the most?My hood, my hood, my hood, my hooood.How would your friends describe you in a sentence?“This girl is so shy but so full of herself.”What's the first thing you do when you get up?Go back to sleepWhen are you happiest?When I’m laughing or with my sistrenWho do you admire?Myself manWhat's your current obsession?Harlem SpartansWhat's your best advice?Speakkk and breathe and wish and think what you need into existenceWhat could you not live without?Congolese music unaBook club recommendation?My Love by Toni Cade BambaraBest party you've ever been to?BBZSong to be playing as you enter the club?Anything by Stefflon DonnnnWhat's your signature dish?Chicken flavour Indomie noodles dunknoOne item of clothing that best sums you up?A Kitenge, some African fabric you wrap round yaselfWhat words or phrases do you most overuse?Oh my days/Big man ting/Swear down/Madting/Nah/No way/I can imagineWhat's next?Writing another poetry book thingy called Tallawah and bare things from me and bredrin Jasmine Kahlia’s lickle collective ting Road Gals LDN it’s all mad AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Name's Ms Banks, real name Thyra
Why: She’s my hero b. A wicked, wise, wonderful, talented, funny, intelligent, sensitive, amazing, strong arse woman. I want more people to appreciate how multidimensional she is and how important she is and will be to hood girls all over the world, and everyone else.
Contact Abondance Matanda