Natalia Molebatsi started off day 4 at Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 4 from Johannesburg, South Africa on July 3, 2020. She was hosted by Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda.
Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, was founded by author and publisher Zukiswa Wanner 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 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, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún in Lagos, Nigeria, Irenosen Okojie in London, UK, and Koleka Putuma in Cape Town, South Africa.
The end of the week at Afrolit Sans Frontières has been dubbed “Girl Friday” and kicking off this edition was Pan-African feminist poet, writer, MC and recording artist Natalia Molebatsi. Her CDs Natalia Molebatsi & the Soul Making (2015) and Come as you are: poems for four strings (2013), are both available on itunes. Her books are We are: a poetry anthology, as editor (Penguin books), Sardo Dance (Ge’ko) and Elephant Woman Song (Forum). Her academic writing is included in, among other journals, Scrutiny2, Rhodes Journalism Review, Agenda and Muziki. She has performed poetry and presented creative writing workshops in over 15 countries globally. She can be found at www.nataliamolebatsi.com
It was an illuminating hour conducted by Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda as we listened to Natalia Molebatsi speak truths both in her poetry and in her non poetry words. She spoke about how artists were coping with these trying times of Covid-19 and how we needed as African societies to rethink the role of this important profession. She also spoke about her work in academia and why she thought that it was important for practitioners of the arts to take part in chronicling today’s archive for the future. Many in the comments were “nodding so much, their heads their heads were going to snap.”
You can watch the session between the two in the video below.