Partnerships are at the heart of the 25th edition of the Poetry Africa festival that will be presented between 11 – 16 October 2021 by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwazulu-Natal.
This years’ Poetry Africa festival is presented with support from the French Institute of South Africa, Total Energies and the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences. The French Institute of South Africa also partnered with the Centre’s Poetry Africa festival during 2020. As part of this partnership, the festival is proud to host the following French-speaking poets from the African continent: Roi Bokon from Togo, Aziz Siten’k from Mali, Kissy Abeng from Cameroon, W. Charly from Cameroon, and Tarik Ben Larbi from Morocco.
“The Centre for Creative values the partnership relationships with the French Institute of South Africa. This year it has enabled us to advance further co-operation with artists from the African continent”, said Ismail Mahomed, Director of the Centre for Creative Arts.
The Poetry Archive is a charity based in the UK, that is wholly dedicated to the production, acquisition and preservation of a unique digital collection of recordings of poetry read by the poets who created it. In collaboration with The Poetry Archive, the festival presents a session to speak about the importance of protecting legacy and being aware of poetic lineages. The session is facilitated by Adrian B Earle who is joined by T S Eliot Prize-winning poet Roger Robinson, poet Rachel Long, and poet Nick Makoha, who zoom into the recent developments in poetry by black writers, their challenges and successes, as they look forward to the future.
Other international partnerships are with Quay Words in the UK, supported by The British Council, the Lviv International Book Forum from Ukraine, The Embassy of Ukraine to the Republic of South Africa and the Brussels Poetry Fest.
Poetry Africa Festival also recognises the importance of entrepreneurship in the industry and will present “Let’s Publish NOW” in collaboration with imphepo press. The sessions facilitated by vangile gantsho, Sarah Godsell and Tanya Pretorius focus on getting the team, editing and printing. Publisher imphepo press will also present an evening with their friends, with performances by Busisiwe Mahlangu, danai mupotsa, Sarah Godsell, Khanyi Shusha, Buhlebendalo Mda and Lakhiyia Hicks.
“It is a major milestone for the festival as well as all the poets who have blessed the Poetry Africa stage over the past 24 years. We pride ourselves on being an uncensored space for poets to engage, question and inspire. We are gracious for the support we have received from many partners over the years who continuously support the voices of our poets”, said Siphindile Hlongwa.
The Imbiza Journal for African Writing will publish a special edition during Poetry Africa. Other exciting initiatives include a documentary about Slam Poetry and an anthology that will be launched with support from the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, which has committed itself to develop and nurture talent in the province, they are behind the strong voices from KwaZulu-Natal, such as Gubhela, Africa S. Dlamini, Sindiswa Zulu, Pota Yamela, Thando Fuze and Khanyi Shusha.
The Poetry Africa Festival will be presented by the Centre for Creative Arts with the support of the National Institute for Humanities, The French Institute of South Africa, and Total. Unmute: Power to the Poet will be the theme for the 25th edition of the virtual festival, which is freely accessible and can be watched via www.facebook.com/poetryafrica and www.youtube.com/centreforcreativearts.