Ground-breaking project to feature at Poetry Africa festival next week

2013-10-07 00:00

THE 17th Poetry Africa International Poetry Festival will run at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College campus in Durban, from October 14 to October 18.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at UKZN, the festival is a showcase of written and performance poetry.

Performances are at 7 pm at the theatre from October 14 to October 18, and at the Bat Centre in Durban’s small-craft harbour on October 19.

This year, the line-up features a ground-breaking poetry project: a 12-track recorded album titled Insurrections featuring poets and ethnomusicologists from India and South Africa. The blend of the rich Indian music tradition with African instruments accompanies poetry from both continents.

The Insurrections ensemble consists of musicians Sumangala Damodaran (India), Jürgen Brauninger (South Africa), Neo Muyanga (South Africa), Pritam Ghoshal (India), Brydon Bolton (South Africa), Bettina Schouw (South Africa), Sazi Dlamini (South Africa) and Paki Peloeole (South Africa).

The poetry contingent will be Ari Sitas (South Africa), Malika Ndlovu (South Africa), Sabita T.P. (India) and Vivek Narayanan (India). The ensemble will perform on October 17.

Keeping with the musical theme, the festival will feature five poets who also work as recording musicians: Kabomo Vilakazi; Kalawi Jazmee artist Busiswa Gqulu; Natalia Molebatsi; Durban-born poet, performer and emcee Ashleigh la Foy; and Pura Lavisa from the Eastern Cape, who will be presenting a collection of poems mostly in Xhosa.

Other festival participants include Soweto-born dub poet and writer Lesego Rampolokeng; Khulile Nxumalo, whose latest collection, Fhedzi, was reviewed in The Witness on September 27; Nigerian-born poet Kole Odutola; Pietermaritzburg poet and teacher of creative writing Kobus Moolman; performance and slam poet Mandi Poefficient Vundla; Sanelisiwe Ntuli from Hammersdale and Professor Langalibalele F. Mathenjwa.

Four poets from the Irish poetry collective O’Bheal — Paul Casey, Afric McGinchey, Billy Ramsel and American-born Raven — will also present their work at the festival.

Completing the international line-up will be Ian Kamau (Canada), Barnabe Laye (Benin) and Raphael d’Abdon (Italy/South Africa).

The festival’s community outreach programme will see poets visit over 20 community centres, campuses and tertiary education departments across Durban and beyond.

In addition, participating poets will visit schools to discuss reading, writing and the performance aspects of poetry.

For more information and the full programme, visit or phone 031 260 2506/1816 or e-mail

— Books Editor

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