Poetry Africa 2018 was hosted at venues in Durban, South Africa from October 15-20, 2018. Here is a snapshot of events that went down on the South African coastal town.
Poetry Africa, organised by the Centre for Creative Arts, is an international poetry festival held annually in Durban, South Africa. It has hosted some of the biggest names in poetry in Africa and around the world. The festival programme typically includes theatre performances, readings, music, book launches, seminars, workshops, open mic opportunities, and school visits.
The opening evening of Poetry Africa now in its 22nd year was at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on October 15. The highlight of the evening was the Jerry Pooe directed tribute to Albertina Sisulu featuring a cast from the Wushwini Pan African Centre alongside Gcina Mhlophe, and Lebo Mashile. Durban residents also got to meet this year’s festival poets who were BM Mdletshe (SA), Daniel B Summerhill (USA), Emmah Mabye (SA), Gcina Mhlophe (SA), Lebo Mashile (SA), Mak Manaka (SA), Matete Motsoaledi (SA), Miriam Cano (Catalonia), Mphutlane wa Bofelo (SA), Myroslav Laiuk (Ukraine), Nkateko Masinga (SA), Phelelani Makhanya (SA), Philip Meersman (Belgium), Rafeef Ziadah (Palestine), Sandile Ngidi (SA), Severine Daucourt-Fridriksson (France), Tanya Evanson (Canada), Taras Malkovych (Ukraine), TJ Dema (Botswana), Upile Chisala (Malawi), and Vuyelwa Maluleke (SA).
There were many goings-on over the week ably hosted by Khwezi Becker, Nomfundo Xolo, Ewok, Page Ngwenya, Quaz Roodt, Priya Narismulu, and Nolulamo Lulu Maquthu.
Some of the daytime activities were the poetry exchange where poets visited venues like the Mapisa Jazz Lounge, Clermont Auditorium, Alliance Francaise, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Albert Luthuli Museum, and the YMCA.
There were also workshops that were conducted in Slam Poetry by Philip Meersman, in creative writing by Mphutlane wa Bofelo, and in Praise Poetry/Izibongo by Buzetsheni Mkhohliseni Mdletshe.
The schools that were visited were Bechet High School, Hillcrest High School, Durban Girls’ College, Umbelebele High School, Danville Park Girls’ High School, Chesterville Secondary, KweSethu High School, Lamontville High School, and Estcourt High School.
Poetry bonanzas mean launches of poetry collections and there were quite a few at this particular one. They included Oncoming Traffic by Mak Manaka, Metrophobia by Myroslav Laiuk, This Time I Shall Not Cry by Phelelani Makhanya, The Sin in my Blackness, A War within the Blood, While the World Was Burning by Nkateko Masinga, feeling and ugly by Danai Mupotsa, red cotton by Vangile Gantsho, and Bothism & Nouveau-Griot by Tanya Evanson. Also launching was the Poetry Potion, 14th print edition and Anthology edited by Quaz Rood featuring among others Athol Williams, Vangile Gantsho, Charl Landsberg, Sarah Godsell, Mutle Mothibe, Christine Coates and many more talented poets.
The evening programs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and the BAT Centre were some of the best-attended events with the poets spitting their best poetry alongside musicians like Raheem Kemet, Peanut Butter & Jam, Mandisa Cebekhulu, NVS, The Muffinz, and Young Mbazo.