Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Poetry Africa 2012

Nomfundo Mgabadeli 

Image courtesy of houseonmag.com
The 16th international poetry festival, Poetry Africa, is a festival which features some of the worlds most talented poets brought to Durban by the Centre of Creative Arts to take part in their week long programme which includes book launches, workshops, performances and readings. And at the end of that week the festival’s finale takes place at the Bat Centre.

The finale’s festivities took off with the annual SlamJam which pits poet against poet to see who has the talent to be recognised as SlamJam royalty but this year things were done a little different, instead of the usual poet against poet, it was country against country. On the right side we had South Africa (Dashen Naicker, Ewok and Page) and on the left Sweden (Henry Bowers, Oskar Hanska and Laura Wihlborg). It was a tight match of verbal exchange but South Africa managed to win, with Dashen Naicker once again bagging the best individual poet.

Werewere Liking on the left (Image courtseey of hkw.de)

After a two hour interval the evening programme started with regrets from the hosts, some of the poets (Saul Williams, Tumi Molekane and Oliver Mtukudzi) had to leave early due to other commitments. But despite the absence of those poets the remaining gave a stellar performance with prelude poets Ingonyama, Puseletso Peterson and Celestial Mike.

Madosini (Image courtesy of examiner.com)
There was a sense of sombreness in some of the poems recited which juxtaposed well with the humour and frivolity of other poems, the crowd favourite Henry Bowers’ Ragdoll, Poppy Seed’s Hoity Toity and Nii Ayikwei Parkes West African Mosquito. Werewere Liking and Madosini showed us you are never too old to get down and dance whilst Tumelo Khoza hyponotised with her flute infused piece. Pedro Espi-Sanchis of Kideo took us back to the days when we were young especially with his rendition of Miriam Makeba’s classic with Jessica Mbangeni singing alongside him. Jamaican poet D’bi Young closed the evening off with an electric poem that got everyone on the edge of their seats. 

The evening programme was officially closed with vote of thanks to all staff, poets and supporters as well as news that long time Director, Peter Rorvik will no longer be at the helm as he has chosen another path in life to take. Thereafter the Vavanger(s) rocked the audience with their unique, eclectic, exotic sound that demanded everyone to their feet. The night ended with poets, staff and audience culminating on the stage to dance to a successful Poetry Africa.

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