13th Poetry Africa

poster5 - 10 October 2009
Poetry Festival 

More than twenty poets, predominantly from South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent, will participate in the 13th Poetry Africa international poetry festival. The festival week encompasses introductory performances by the full line-up of participating poets on Opening Night, 5 October, including a Keynote Address by legendary Malawian writer and poet David Rubadiri.

The programme includes performances, readings, music and book-launches Monday to Friday at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.  Day activities include seminars, workshops, open mic opportunities, and school visits and a schools poetry competition will also take place.  The festival's trademark eclectic mix of poetic voices, styles, forms, and cultures includes comedian-slammer Nina Kibuanda (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Kibuanda, who is also an actor, makes the connections between theatre, musicality and poetry explicit in his electrifying performances.

The lineup from Africa also includes Poetry Africa returnee Susan Kiguli (Uganda), who last performed in Durban in 2000. Kiguli, an academic and widely recognized as one of the most important poets in East Africa, combines startling lyrical ability with an utterly compelling performing voice. Odia Ofeimun from Nigeria has published numerous celebrated collections of hard-hitting and astute poetry with political bite. Tania Tomé (Mozambique) is a provocative performer, singer and poet who instills a sense of theatre into her poetry. Malawian singer and poet Chigo Gondwe is an “ethno-urban-hiphop-soul-poetess” who revels in promoting the positive aspects of the Africa continent. Leading Zimbabwean protest-poet Outspoken, together with his band the Essence, will be rhyming truth to power as the Festival's closing night act on Saturday, 10 October at the BAT Centre.

The strong South African lineup this year includes poet and novelist Mogane Wally Serote, one of the true giants of South African literature. Serote, the winner of numerous local and international awards including the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize, the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa and Pablo Neruda Award from the Chilean government, was a key Black Consciousness poet who in 1969 was arrested by the apartheid government under the Terrorism Act. Poet, writer, and playwright Lesego Rampolokeng is perhaps one of the most influential contemporary poets in South Africa. His bitter-sweet and complex writing and performing forms a radically incisive alternative soundtrack to post-apartheid South Africa. 

Jennifer Ferguson, one of South Africa 's national treasures, is a multi-award winning performer, composer, poet, and classically trained pianist. She also served as an ANC MP in South Africa 's first democratic National Parliament. Ferguson, who now divides her time between South Africa and Sweden, worked during apartheid as both a protest singer-songwriter and as a Cultural Activist serving on the South African Musician's Alliance (SAMA)'s Cultural Desk. It was during this time that her songs were banned, concerts tear gassed, and she faced intimidation from the South African Security Branch.   For further information visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za.