Internationally celebrated poet to be featured at Poetry Africa festival

South African poet, percussionist, composer, educationalist and animateur Eugene Skeef. Picture: Supplied

South African poet, percussionist, composer, educationalist and animateur Eugene Skeef. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 11, 2023


Durban — This year’s Poetry Africa festival will feature renowned South African poet Eugene Skeef, who has lived in London for more than 40 years and is internationally celebrated for his exceptional work as an artist and his active role in conflict resolution.

Skeef is not only a poet, but also a percussionist, composer, educationalist and animateur.

The 27th edition of the Poetry Africa festival take place from October 5 to 17 in Johannesburg, Durban and Bloemfontein.

Siphindile Hlongwa, the curator of the Poetry Africa festival, said: “We are particularly interested in his life as a young activist who worked alongside anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko to become one of the most dynamic cultural leaders on the global stage.”

She said Skeef’s passion for young people, the arts and education is deeply rooted, hence as a young activist, he co-led a nationwide literacy campaign providing education in schools, colleges, and communities across South Africa.

“We believe that Eugene Skeef’s presence at the festival will greatly motivate emerging poets, who are trying to discover and affirm how their voices can advance a culture of human rights, democracy and social justice,” added Hlongwa.

During the Poetry Africa festival, Skeef will perform his poetry onstage, alongside other acclaimed poets, such as Rudi Francisco (US), Sarah Lubala (DRC/SA) and Amina Bamba (Ivory Coast).

The event will be compèred by South African poet Masai Sepuru.

Skeef will also conduct workshops at schools, community arts centres and a masterclass at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for students in the African Music & Dance programme.

Some of Skeef’s notable milestones in the arts include his performance in March 2005, when he performed with his Abantu Ensemble at Buckingham Palace and was presented to Queen Elizabeth as part of the historic Music Day to celebrate the diversity of culture in Britain.

The full Poetry Africa programme will be released on September 16 on Tickets will be available on Webtickets (Durban) and TicketPro (Johannesburg).

Poetry Africa is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at UKZN and hosted in collaboration with the Arts and Culture Centre at the University of Johannesburg and PACOFS.

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