Poetry brings people together to learn about each other

2017-06-15 06:01
Poet Khanyiso Mabodla performed at the Naked Word Festival this weekend.

Poet Khanyiso Mabodla performed at the Naked Word Festival this weekend.

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Lovers of the spoken word and performance arts were treated to a weekend long experience by thespians and scribes from five provinces.

The second Naked Word Festival which took place at various venues in Observatory saw performers from places such as Delft, Philippi, Mfuleni and other places in the Mother City share the stage with counterparts from as a far as the United States.

According to organisers, the theme of this cosmopolitan exhibition was around the identity of the individual.

“The key was to get people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and races to one place were the spoken work was enjoyed.

The event was a great success in that these kinds of events are usually attended by people from within the industry, so it was so fulfilling to see people from outside paying to see our poets,” said Lingua Franca Movement managing director Mbongeni Nomkonwana.

Lingua Franca is a movement that was initiated by actors, performers and poets in Delft in the late 2000s.

It was later dissolved but was however rekindled by Nomkonwana and Lwanda Sindaphi and they began hosting poetry sessions at the Baxter Theatre in 2012.

“After hosting these sessions, we decided last year to organise a festival at the Magnet Theatre. This year was our second instalment and we are happy that it was a success,” he said.

Poets from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Free State and Eastern Cape came over to perform and there were even performances from the United States of America via Skype.

“Our focus was on the black performers from the townships as they hardly get this kind of opportunity to perform in events outside their areas.

We need them to also take ownership of spaces outside the township because we can’t have a conversation about land and have people who still shy away from such spaces.

The event was strictly for poetry and performance because we didn’t want to duplicate other poetry festivals,” he said.

Nomkonwana said that they were hoping to do more outreach work as an organisation to grow poetry in the townships.

“We want to work with community based organisations which focus on poetry to develop poets.

We are also working on a curriculum to help individuals with their identity. We find that there are a lot of people who are not who they think they are. We want to assist them to learn about their heritage,” said Nomkonwana.

The movement has already started planning their next event which will focus on women to take place on August.

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