A FEAST of poetic offerings from Africa and the world will be showcased at this year’s 20th Poetry Africa International Festival, which runs from October 10 to 15.
Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Humanities, this year’s festival will pay tribute to the 200th anniversary of the conception of the Zulu kingdom.
It will also pay homage to South Africa’s first National Poet Laureate and one of the symbols of isiZulu poetry, the late Professor Mazisi Kunene.
Announcing this year’s line-up, the director of the CCA, David wa Maahlamela said: “Poetry Africa is arguably the largest and longest-running poetry festival in Africa. Over the years it has hosted a wide variety of highly-acclaimed poetic voices from all over the world, with the main focus on Africa. We are proud to announce the line-up for our celebratory edition.”
Poets heading to Durban include veteran, Don Mattera, of the Azanian Love Song fame. Other participants are:
- Bassey Ikpi, a Nigerian-American poet internationally acclaimed for her appearance on the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Def Poetry.
- Bulelwa Basse, a Cape Town-based poet and cultural activist, who is passionate about youth and women’s issues.
- Harry Owen, the inaugural Poet Laureate for Cheshire in the United Kingdom and author of six volumes of poetry.
- JahRose Nthabiseng Jafta, a Bloemfontein-based performance poet widely recognised for her contribution in the development of the arts in Free State.
- Jessica Mbangeni, from Nqamakwe in the Eastern Cape, and one of the foremost iimbongi (‘praise poets’) in South Africa.
- Kabelo Ringane, a spoken word artist commonly known as Kilobyte (KB). He is the 2012 Word’N Sound Poetry Showcase Award winner and the 2012 Spoken Mind Intervasity Champion.
- Kobus Moolman, an acclaimed poet and creative writing teacher, who is currently an Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape. He has won the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, and the South African Literature Award (SALA) for Poetry.
- Koleka Putuma is a performance poet, writer, and a theatre director from Cape Town; and the recipient of the 2016 Pen Student Writing Prize for her poem, Water.
- Leymen Pérez is a multi-award winning Spanish poet and teacher from Matanzas in Cuba.
- Lucky Cafeous Tembo is a Zimbabwean musical maestro and ChiShona wordsmith. He plays mbira, guitar, marimba, djembe and other percussion instruments.
- Malachi Smith is a Jamaican dub poet. The 2009 recipient of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Most Outstanding Writer Prize, he is currently a fellow of the Michener Caribbean Writers’ Institute at the University of Miami.
- Mata-Uiroa Manuel Atan is a Chilean poet from the Island of Pascua. From 1978 to 1996 he coordinated and directed the Tapati Rapa Nui festival. He also co-founded the festival of indigenous poetry, Internacional de Poesía en Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela.
- Maya Wegerif, from Limpopo, is known for her controversial poem, Why You Talk So White. She conducted a workshop on arts and activism at Yale University and judged the annual Poetry Slam at Harvard.
- Max Makasi Marhanele is a legendary Xitsonga poet. In 2007 he was honoured with the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. He has published 33 books.
- Mpho Ramaano is a poet, actor, playwright and a social activist. He is well-known for his 2005 debut poetry volume, Talk with the Sun, especially the poem entitled, Verwoerd is Black.
- Mxolisi Mtshali is the founder of the most flourishing Poets In Suit. He writes consistently in isiZulu. His popular poem, Zulu Love Letter, was featured on DJ Nkoh’s album, and Nonzwakazi on The Soil.
- Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, a poet, writer and a creative writing teacher from Kenya.
- Philip Hammial, who was born in Detroit in Michigan, and has published 29 volumes of poetry. He has won, among others, the Rothman’s Foundation Poetry Prize.
- Phumzile Zondo, a young Durban-based guitarist and singer who has been compared to Brenda Fassie, Busi Mhlongo and Tu Nokwe.
- Rethabile Masilo is a poet from Lesotho. In 2014 his poem Swimming, won the Dalro First Prize. He has published 3 poetry collections, Things That Are Silent, Waslap and Letter to Country.
- Roché Kester’s work has appeared on Badilisha Poetry where she is described as a poet who ‘believes in the transformative power of words and sees her expression as a means to ignite love and growth and unity’.
- Rustum Kozain studied literature at the University of Cape Town, and creative writing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He is the recipient of the 2006 Ingrid Jonker Prize.
- Sizakele Nkosi is a poet, writer and an isiZulu teacher from Dube, Soweto. She was one of the co-founders of Mo Faya Poetry Collective (2005) alongside Abdul Milazi.
- Wilfried N’Sondé was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His poetry debut Le Cœur des enfants leopards scooped both the Prix des Cing Contnents de la francophonie and the prix Senghor de la creation.
The festival’s evening programme will be held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College Campus of UKZN, with the finale at the BAT Centre in Durban’s small craft harbour. UKZN’s School of Arts will also host different seminars during the course of the week.
For more information go to http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za/