British-Trinidadian dub poet and TS Eliot prize winner Roger Robinson, will be one of the festival highlights.
British-Trinidadian dub poet and TS Eliot prize winner Roger Robinson, will be one of the festival highlights.

Artists speak their truth

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Oct 9, 2021

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DURBAN’S Poetry Africa Festival, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, sets the stage this week for poetry from South Africa, Africa and around the world.

Under the theme “Unmute: Power to the Poet”, the festival, most of which is online and free, aims for us to be inspired by the voices of our poets.

In the line-up that includes more than 80 participants from over 25 countries, leading South African poets include musician and poet Buhlebendalo Mda, spoken word artist Gubhela, and poets Lebo Mashile and Makhafula Vilakazi.

An impressive line-up of international poets includes actress and poet Lakhiyia Hicks from the US, British-Trinidadian dub poet and TS Eliot prize winner Roger Robinson, and Ukrainian poets Yuliya Musakovska and Andriy Lyubka. Poets Lethu Nkwanyana, Siphokazi Jonas, Natalia Molebatsi, Africa Dlamini and Athol Williams also feature.

With the French Institute of South Africa partnering the festival, it will also highlight French-speaking poets from the continent: Roi Bokon from Togo, Aziz Siten’k from Mali, Kissy Abeng and W Charly from Cameroon, and Tarik Ben Larbi from Morocco.

“Our 25th anniversary is a significant milestone. It provides us with a vital opportunity to reflect and celebrate the festival’s legacy but also to critically reflect on our society and the movement for social change. We salute and honour all the poets who have walked this road with us and who over the last 25 years have given us the words to express feelings, share experiences, address issues,” said curator Siphindile Hlongwa.

As part of the celebrations, organisers are launching an anthology, a journal and a documentary during the festival. The anthology is titled #Hashtag Poetry, while Poetics For Transformation is a short documentary from the festival’s video archives, combined with animated illustrations, a call-and-response soundscape and photography.

Poetry Africa is freely accessible and can be watched via www.facebook.com/poetryafrica and www.youtube.com/centreforcreativearts. The full programme is at poetryafrica.ukzn.ac.za

The Independent on Saturday

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