South Africa, July 2020: The final season of the Poetry Relief Fund Web-Series is upon us. From Thursday, 30 July to 20 August, Hear My Voice will begin its journey to closing off their relief fund web-series by hosting seven episodes of jam-packed local live-streaming spoken-word content.
Since the beginning of April the non-profit organisation, that focuses on developing and supporting spoken word artists, has already paid out nearly R70 000 in micro-grants to46 artists who took part in season one and two. It will now bring a further 35 poets on board for its final season, bringing the total number of individuals who have been supported by this programme to 81.
Since the final open-call for applications went out to poets across the country on June 22, 113 applications were received and 35 poets were eventually selected. This was no easy task and various factors were taken into consideration. Including, giving preference to poets from outside of Gauteng and those who recited their art in languages other than English.
“We pride ourselves on being a highly representative organisation, and so it was important to us that we showcased those who were underrepresented in previous episodes. In this final round of applications, we connected with so many incredibly talented individuals who we otherwise wouldn’t have known” says Phomolo Sekamotho, Director at Hear My Voice.
The Relief Fund is unique in many ways, above all else is the fact that this is the only Fund in the country which has been put together specifically to support poets. It’s also been done in a manner that considers the poetry community at large. A series of poets are paid R1500 each to showcase their work as part of a Facebook Live Streaming show. This has come at a time when the creative sector is battling to find ways to survive the harsh realities imposed by the nation-wide lockdown.
Apart from performers and poetry aficionados, a range of organisations came together to make this initiative possible. Poetry Africa, The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, The Market Theatre, The Windybrow Arts Center, Poetry Potion, THAT Network, and a host of individual private donors all came together to contribute to the programme in various ways. Some by donating funds to paying poets, others by donating their time and expertise and of course, the show would be nothing without the thousands of people who tuned in to watch and be inspired by the words of the performing artists.
For the next few weeks, poetry lovers are once again invited to be entertained in the comfort of their own homes, by tuning in to the Hear My Voice Facebook page at 7pm every Tuesday and Thursday until 20 August.
While the poetry relief programme may be over, Hear My Voice is committed to building this sector and growing the poetry community in South Africa in many forms. Should anyone wish to donate to the work of this organisation, they can do so by using PayFast, PayPal or donating directly to the Hear My Voice bank account.
Further details on the Relief fund can be accessed here: http://tiny.cc/poetry-relief-fund.
The scheduled dates for upcoming episodesare as follows:
Episode 1: 30th July Thurs
Episode 2: 4 August Tues
Episode 3: 6 August Thurs
Episode 4: 11 August Tues
Episode 5 :13 August Thurs
Episode 6 : 18 August Tues
Episode 7: 20 August Thurs