Ngwatilo Mawiyoo

Ngwatilo Mawiyoo

Bassey Ikpi and Ngwatilo Mawiyoo join some of the best poets on the continent for 20th edition of Poetry Africa festival in Durban, South Africa from 10-15 October 2016.

Poetry Africa is an international poetry festival held annually in Durban, South Africa every year in October first held in 1996. The event being hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within UKZN’s College of Humanities will feature some of the most prominent poetic minds on the continent and further afield.

This year’s festival will pay tribute to the 200th anniversary of the conception of the Zulu Kingdom. It will also pay homage to South Africa’s first National Poet Laureate and one of the symbols of isiZulu poetry, the late Professor Mazisi Kunene.

Announcing this year’s line-up, the Director of the CCA, David wa Maahlamela said, “Poetry Africa is arguably the largest and longest-running poetry festival in Africa. Over the years it has hosted a wide variety of highly-acclaimed poetic voices from all over the world, with the main focus on Africa. We are proud to announce the line-up for our celebratory edition.”

The lineup is a who’s who in the Africa poetry scene and if you follow it you will be familiar with many of these names. Max Makasi Marhanele for instance is a legendary Xitsonga poet who has published 33 books and co-authored a 920-paged Xitsonga monolingual dictionary, Tihlùngù ta Rixaka (2016) with Vonani Bila. He was honoured with the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 South African Literary Awards.

Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi

Then there is Bassey Ikpi Nigerian-American poet internationally acclaimed for her appearance on the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Def Poetry. She was listed as the YNaija’s 100 inspiring and influential women in Nigeria, and Leading Ladies in Africa. Check out her appearance on Def Jam Poetry here.

Also featuring is Kenya’s Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, a poet, writer and a creative writing teacher hailing from Kenya, holds a Master’s degree in creative writing from the University of British Colombia, where she currently teaches. Check out her poem below.

Others on the roster include Bulelwa Basse, Harry Owen, JahRose Nthabiseng Jafta, Jessica Mbangeni, Kabelo Ringane, Kobus Moolman, Koleka Putuma , Leymen Pérez, Lucky Cafeous Tembo, Malachi Smith, Mata-Uiroa Manuel Atan, Maya Wegerif, Max Makasi Marhanele, Mxolisi Mtshali, Philip Hammial, Phumzile Zondo, Rethabile Masilo, Roché Kester, Rustum Kozain, Sizakele Nkosi , Wilfried N’Sondé, and Mpho Ramaano.

So if you happen to be in Durban in October you have a very cool plan to check out.