Poetry readings and performances have had to move online and find new ways of presenting itself to the masses. The Poetry Relief Fund started by Hear My Voice is both a response and solution to the plight of South African poets dependent on the now locked-down gig economy.
Hear My Voice announced the fund, made a call for donations and pledged an amount of R16 000 to launch the fund. Poetry Potion, The Market Theatre, Windybrow Theatre, That Network, and numerous individuals have made contributions to the fund since. More donations translate into more episodes and more poets benefitting from the fund. Donations are still welcome.
The Poetry Relief Fund Livestream Series features live online readings/performances by poets who have applied to the fund. A list of approved applicants can be seen here. We have seen 3 successful episodes since 16 April. The series continues with Episode 4 going live 28 April at 7 PM.
Featuring: Yamoria, Jonathan Lefenya, Sello Chokoe, Lethokuhle Msimang, and Frans Tauyatsoala. All episodes can be streamed on the Hear My Voice, Poetry Potion, and Market Theatre Facebook pages.
This dynamic line-up promises to entertain enlighten and remind us of the colourful people and poets this country has on offer.
Fumane Ntlhabane is a Johannesburg based South African poet, writer, presenter and radio personality. She is an individual who is inspired by the strength that lies in the human form and often writes about her experiences in the body of a black woman in society. The poet began her journey in the arts with CSP in 2017 where she went on to participate in the Gauteng provincial slam, where she placed in the top 5. The poet has performed on many stages in and around Johannesburg including being invited as a performer for the 2019 Humane Rights Festival. The writer in 2018 was published in the” The Mamba” alongside multiple African authors, and in 2019 she was published in the annual Sol Plaatjie anthology. She is also a co-author of a book Colour me Melanin which is a coloring book accompanied by praise poetry that teaches self love to the young African women.
Mfumo Ntlhabane is a 22year old writer, spoken word artist, presenter and radio personality who currently resides in the West Rand of Johannesburg South Africa. She is a writer who is passionate about redesigning the sculpture of a black woman in society and telling the experiences of a black woman in their purest form. Mfumo began her journey as a spoken word performer with CSP in 2017 where she went on to place 3rd in the CSP Gauteng Provincial Slam. She, in 2018, became one of the two founding members of a collaborative spoken word duo Yamoria which had their first two-woman show in collaboration with Balladry Composition in Febuary2018. Yamoria was invited to the 2019 annual Human Rights Festival at Constitution Hill to share their work. Mfumo is also a co-author of a book titled ‘Colour Me Melanin’ which is a colouring book accompanied by 27 praise poems of cultures from across Africa, which was published in 2019. She is also a radio personality where she hosts a show “The Queens Fortress” with the other half of Yamoria, her twin sister Fumane.
Jonathan Lefenya is a Soweto born performance poet. His writing was influenced by his grandmother’s storytelling, since then he has been on a mission to become the greatest performer of his generation.
South African poet and writer, born in Durban KwaZulu-Natal. Graduated with a B.A. in Literary Studies and Creative Arts at the American University of Paris, and a Master in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. Her poems have appeared in New Coin Poetry, Grocotts Mail, Hanging Loose, The Paris/Atlantic, etc. She is currently developing a South African Oral History Project, presently focused on the documentation of the Delville Wood Memorial and the role of South African Native Labour Corps. Her most recent efforts are towards completing a book of linked short stories Tales of the Orange Time of Day.
Sello Chokoe a published writer, poet, actor, and producer who lives and works between Polokwane and Johannesburg, South Africa. His work explores African culture, history, spirituality, and social aspects of the Sepedi heritage, taking on the form of written, spoken word, video art, and performance art installation. Sello is also the founder of Maropeng Creatives (pty) an experimental artistic company based in Polokwane. As an award-winning writer and poet, he has performed alongside renowned writers/artists such as David Wa Maahlamela, Lebo Mashile, Vonani Bila, and Masai Sepuru. He produced “H.O.M.E Heart Of My Expressions” as a first experimental poetry album, which was created and published independently (2016). In the same year, Sello became the first CSP’s provincial poetry slam champion in Limpopo.
Top 5 finalist in the 3rd season of TSOL
Part of the It’s All The Sane cast by Masai Sepuru
Part of Hear My Voice cast 2018 by K Productions
Recently working with Poecractic justice
And Currently recording a body of work titled Go Ngwetse Mang?!
Now, if you managed to maneuver past the gloomy news, the usual internet noise and growing conspiracy theories (my favourite being “Weaponized 5G bats and Robot DJ’s built by Bill gates”) you probably saw some of South Africa’s brilliant poets on your screen sharing their work. No? Have a look at what you missed on Poetry Potion TV.
Episode 1 featured: Belita Andre, Khadija Heeger, Kwena Peu, Kwazi Ndlangisa, Sana King, hosted by Mo’afrika Wa Mokgathi.
Episode 2 featured: Blaq Pearl, Siphosethu Phikelela, Thando Fuze, Mogale Sedibe Billy Godiragetse.
Episode 3 curated by Poetry Potion featured poets that have contributed to our print and online publications throughout the years. This episode featured: Keitumetse Tlhako ,Sibulelo Manamatela , Mercy Dhliwayo, Mapule Mohulatsi and Toni Stuart:
All episodes can be streamed on the Hear My Voice, Poetry Potion, and Market Theatre Facebook pages.