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19th Poetry Africa Festival – Participants Announced

19th Poetry Africa - Participants Announced
Piggy Boy's BluesTail of the Blue BirdIn a Ribbon of RhythmA Half Century ThingAdults OnlyWenaRunning

A select group of poets from South Africa and around the world will gather together in Durban from 12 – 17 October, showcasing the face of spoken word and storytelling at the 19th Poetry Africa Festival.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, Poetry Africa provides a space for intercultural exchange and dialogue by hosting an extensive community outreach programme with poetry readings, performances and workshops in community centres, campuses and also participate in a programme of visits to schools across Durban to share ideas about poetry.

Evening poetry readings and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (Howard College) UKZN. The festival finale will take place on October 17 at the Rivertown Beer Hall in Durban’s CBD, with a closing performance by soulful singer Nakhane Touré, whose debut novel Piggy Boy’s Blues has just been released.

This year’s festival features 24 poets:

UK-based Kat Francois, is a comedienne, playwright, actress, performer, host, schools and youth facilitator and a well‐known performance poet both in her country and globally. Lebohang “Nova” Masango, is a Swedish-born writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker, and UK-based Ghanaian performance poet, writer and sociocultural commentator Nii Parkes.

From South Africa comes the celebrated and prolific poet and actress Lebo Mashile, who, was named one of the Top 100 Africans by New African magazine; Lesego Rampolokeng, the renowned hard-hitting South African writer, playwright and performance poet who has a new collection out now; Aryan Kaganof, a filmmaker, novelist, poet and fine artist, who refers to himself as a project of African Noise Foundation and who had a short story recently featured in Adults Only; Ntsiki Mazwai, the outspoken and incendiary poet, writer and musician; and Thabiso ‘Afurakan’ Mohare, one of the pioneers of the modern South African spoken word scene.

KZN-based poets include Africa Dlamini, a slam/spoken word poet who lives in Howick; Durban’s Celiswa Majali, whose novel Imbali yentombazanana is used by schools at grade 10 level in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces. Also from Durban are Khanyi Shusha, a diviner, performance art poet, stylist, designer, facilitator, brown consciousness activist, feminist and writer; Kwazi Ndlangisa, a South African award-winning performance poet, vocalist, creative writer and art activist; Matt Vend, who is well-known across South Africa for his poetically-driven songwriting, unique rhythmic guitar playing and engaging live performances; Nokulunga Dladla, a passionate recording poetry artist and a storyteller as well as an educator in the Pinetown District; Nosipho Magcaba, a former “prelude poet” at the festival, who returns this year to the main programme; Tshebeletso Mohale also a former “prelude poet” at Poetry Africa 2014 who lives and works in Durban; Thando Fuze, who has twice been nominated for Best Female Performing Poet at the Original Material Awards; and Vus’umuzi Phakathi, an award winning South African poet, writer, performer, facilitator and producer.

Other featured poets include Icebound Makhele, a spoken word performer, writer, cultural activist and events coordinator from Bloemfontein; Makhosazana Xaba, the author of two poetry collections and a feminist activist with experience in women’s health, philanthropy and the anti-apartheid struggle; Mbali Vilakazi, the award-winning South African poet, performer, curator and speaker, who has a dynamic style and collaborative experimental approach; Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, a poet, writer and storyteller from a small village of Upper Indwana in Cala in the former Transkei; Mutle Mothibe, who has spent the last 15 years honing his skills a writer and performer and is also an accomplished workshop facilitator who regularly engages both learners and educators; and Limpopo-born Vonani Bila, a poet and musician who has written eight storybooks for newly literate adult readers in Sepedi, Xitsonga and English, and who recently launched a new collection, Bilakhulu!

Tickets for the evening sessions, which take place at 7 PM at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, are R40 (students/pensioners: R25 at the door) and can be purchased at Computicket or one hour before the performance begins at the box office. Tickets for the festival finale at Rivertown cost R70 (pre-sale or R80 at the door) and can be purchased from Computicket.

For more information go to, like the Facebook page PoetryAfrica or follow on Twitter @PoetryAfrica.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible by support from the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and the Goethe Institut. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

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