UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) has announced an impressive main line up for the 18th Poetry Africa Festival which opens at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on 13 October.

Twenty-four poets and spoken word artists from 12 countries will meet in Durban to celebrate a diverse mix of traditions in oration and storytelling.

The 18th Poetry Africa festival will feature the following poets:

South Africans Mak Manaka, Makhafula Vilakazi, Kyle Steven, Allan Page, Ngwenya Quaz, Roodt Thuli Zuma Croc E Moses Nakanjani Sibiya Sithembiso Khwela Napo Masheane,  Vangile Gantsho  Raya Wambui (Kenya), Q.Malewezi  (Malawi), Black Pearl  (Zimbabwe), Lydol (Cameroon), Stone Karim Mohamed (Cameroon), Aziz Siten’k  (Mali), Dagga Tolar (Nigeria), Ombr Blanche (Burkina Faso), Féling Capela (Mozambique), Bee Joe (Ivory Coast), Seleshe Demessae (Ethiopia), Akeem Lasisi (Nigeria) and Buddy Wakefield (USA).

According to CCA festival manager Ms Tiny Mungwe, Poetry Africa will have an extensive community outreach programme with poetry readings, performances and workshops in community centres, campuses and schools across Durban and surrounding areas.

‘A highlight of the festival’s daytime programme will be a closed conference of spoken word organisers from across the continent hosted by the Goethe Institut in South Africa.’

‘This conference is a culmination of a project that began in 2013, that saw the Goethe Institut documenting spoken word communities across the continent on the website www.goethe.de/spokenword  The conference will explore ways to promote spoken word as an art form throughout the continent,’ said Mungwe.

Poetry Africa will also collaborate with Harare-based arts festival Shoko Festival and Johannesburg-based spoken word festival WordNSound to host American spoken word artist Buddy Wakefield’s first Southern African tour.

Cape Town audiences will get a first look at the second instalment of Insurrections, an Indian-South African poetry and musical ensemble that wowed audiences at last year’s festival in Durban. Together these three performances will form part of Poetry Africa Tour events organised by the Centre.

The CCA is also excited to be part of the inner city’s urban regeneration initiative in the Rivertown Precinct where this year’s festival finale will be hosted.

The programme for Saturday 18 October will kick off with workshops and the Open Mic event, which are free to the public. In the afternoon the doors open for the Poetry Africa Slam Jam, followed by a presentation from all the festival participants who will give a short presentation of their work, thereafter the finale will conclude with a performance by HHP and his band.

* The 18th Poetry Africa festival is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) with support from eThekwini Municipality; the Goethe Institut, South Africa; the French Institute of South Africa and the KZN Department of Arts and Culture. The Centre for Creative Arts is a special project of the office of Professor Cheryl Potgieter, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the College of Humanities.