On behalf of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Centre for Creative Arts, it is my enormous pleasure to offer the welcome note for this year’s annual POETRY AFRICA – our 23rd edition. At a time in South Africa’s history, where we sit within the confluence of decolonising our historical, political and cultural relations with the Euro/America axis, where we are being forced to re-negotiate our place within the African continent, and where continued and escalating gender-based violence consumes us, we embark – through this festival, and all of our CCA festival – on using this cultural and artistic space, as a place of memory and of speaking truth to power.

POETRY AFRICA 2019, offers a rare moment of bringing together dissident and challenging spoken word artists to celebrate a community of like-minded alternate thinkers who remind us all of the power of the pen and the word as weapons for change. We celebrate the sixteen poets who will be joining us and who will spend a busy 7 days in Durban in a series of readings, performances and a full range of workshops and forums, which engage a broad spectrum of community: from our own UKZN students, schools and KZN rural and urban communities. As Durban is also the UNESCO City of Literature, POETRY AFRICA 2019, continues its legacy of opening the doors of learning, culture and artistic expression to all.

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