Koleka Putuma wrapped up the third day of Season 4 of Afrolit Sans Frontières from Cape Town, South Africa on July 1, 2020. She was hosted by Zukiswa Wanner.
Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdowns. The festival format is two sessions a day on Instagram Live with an artist moderated by a host who also fields questions from audience members. Season 1, curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner ran from March 23-30 while Season 2 co-curated by the founder and Maaza Mengiste ran from April 20-27, 2020. Season 3, co-curated by Mohale Mashigo and Zukiswa Wanner, ran from May 25 – June 1.
Season 4 has so far seen Ngwatilo Mawiyoo in Nairobi, Kenya, Hannibal Tabu in Los Angeles, USA, Lamelle Shaw in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún in Lagos, Nigeria. Day three started with Irenosen Okojie in London, UK before Koleka Putuma closed out proceedings from Cape Town, South Africa.
Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright, and theatre director. Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia (2017) is in its 9th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. It was recently awarded the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. The collection was also named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It has been translated into Spanish and released in Madrid by Flores Rara. A German translation is forthcoming from Wunderhorn Publishing House later this year, and a Danish translation will be published by Rebel with a Cause in Denmark in 2020.
Her theatre works include UHM (2014), Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8), her theatre for young audiences include Ekhaya (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 month olds. She recently showcased No Easter Sunday for Queers at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa, and directed Lebo Mashile’s Venus Vs Modernity both of which played to sold-out audiences.
The Cape Town resident, with hosting by Zukiswa Wanner, shared poetry from her bestselling poetry collection Collective Amnesia as well as new poetry from a yet unnamed forthcoming anthology. She also shared her poetry journey from the spoken word circuit to the page and its many translations. Also on the table was a rare peek into her work as a theatre maker as the writer of the play No Easter Sunday for Queers and directing Lebo Mashile’s Venus Vs Modernity.
You can watch the discussions between the two South Africans below.