Chanting the Bridges: A look at the 2020 Nozincwadi Storytelling Festival

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Nozincwadi Storytelling Festival was established by lauded activist, poet, playwright and director Dr Gcina Mhlope. (Supplied)
Nozincwadi Storytelling Festival was established by lauded activist, poet, playwright and director Dr Gcina Mhlope. (Supplied)

Established by lauded activist, poet, playwright and director Dr Gcina Mhlope, Nozincwadi Storytelling Festival is a platform to celebrate various forms of storytelling. 

Hosted by Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust, the festival takes place in two cities every year. For its twelve iteration, it will take place in Pietermaritzburg and Durban under the theme Chanting the Bridges. 

Describing the festival, Mhlope says: 

“Music and dance have always found themselves at home at the Nozincwadi Storytelling Festival. It continues to be like a central fireplace for seasoned storytellers and also those just beginning to find their voice.”

22 October 2020 

In Pietermaritzburg, the festival will feature performances and appearances from Philippa Namutebi Kabali Kagwa, Nompucuko Zakaza, Zanele Ndlovu and Bongiswa Kotta Ramushwana. 

Supported by the Msunduzi Municipal Libraries, the Pietermartizburg leg of the festival will take place at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. 

23 October 2020 

In Durban the festival will feature Art in the Park under the Storytelling Tree at the Bluff Showgrounds.

Dr Gcina Mhlope stands in front of the Storytellin
Dr Gcina Mhlope stands in front of the Storytelling Tree. (Supplied)

In addition to the opportunity to indulge in arts, crafts and food from stalls in the park, those in attendance will see performances from MaBhengu, Balungile Myeza, Zanele Ndlovu, Mpume Mthombeni, Nompucuko Zakaza, Gomolemo Moagi, Philippa Namutebi Kabali Kagwa, Bongiswa Kotta Ramushwana as well as Dr Gcina Mhlophe.

23 October 2020 

To conclude the festival, the second ever state-inaugurated National Storytelling Day will see readings continuing from the day before, with performances from schools, art groups and library organisations from across the country.

Although storytellers from abroad are not able to make it to the physical festival, their content will still form part of the festival.

Their films will either be streamed at the Durban Art Gallery or they will join in the festivities through virtual conferencing tools. International storytellers include  Amina Blackwood (Jamaica), Valerie Tutson (USA), Zenith Naverrete (Chile), Len Cabral (USA), KK Chee (Malaysia), Seema Wahi Mukherjee (India), Bevin Magama (Zimbabwe/ UK) and Itah Sadu (Canada).

For those who are unable to attend in person, the festival will be livestreamed on Gcinamasiko’s Facebook page and Youtube channel. For more information, visit theGcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trustsocial media pages. 


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