Celebrating its 23rd edition, the festival features a host of local and international poets at various venues and schools around Durban, with Opening Night and evening sessions at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus.
The six-day programme will feature interactions and engagements with the 16 poets through performances, readings and book launches with a number of poets featured each evening. It includes the popular Durban Slam Jam Competition and the festival finale, which showcases all the poets in the festival. The daytime programme includes workshops, talks, discussions, competitions, open mic opportunities, and visits to schools.
‘Celebrating diversity, the festival includes local South African and international poets from Egypt, the USA, Spain, the Ukraine, Mauritius and Nigeria,’ said curator Ms Siphindile Hlongwa of the CCA. ‘This year we continue to celebrate women poets and cast our focus on fiery female poetic voices that use their art to mitigate the gender-based abuse and violence that continues to plague the country.’
‘The CCA and Poetry Africa 2019 have also begun a long-term exchange programme with Nigeria that looks to further the literary and poetic connections between West and South Africa. Given South Arica’s shameful xenophobic history, this programme is both healing and a celebration of our collective African identity. We celebrate the power of the spoken and written word to unite,’ said Hlongwa.
This year the festival hosts five Nigerian poets, Efe Paul Azino, Titilope Sounga, Tobi Abiodun, Bash’ Amuneni and Yomi Sode as part of the exchange programme with the Lagos Poetry Festival.
From South Africa come Luleka Mhlanzi, Jolyn Phillips, Busiswe Mahlangu, Shashi Simelane and Muriel Mokgathi-Mvubu.
‘We are truly honoured to host legendary award-winning poet, South African poet, SA poet laureate and activist Mongane Wally Serote, whose work has blazed a trail for many generations of poets, demonstrating the true power of the word to effect change,’ says Hlongwa.
The full programme for Poetry Africa can be viewed on the website http://poetryafrica.ukzn.ac.za/. Tickets are R60 for adults and R40 for pensioners and students and can be purchased through Computicket.