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Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) is excited to announce a move to a new venue for the 18th Poetry Africa festival finale.

This year, the Rivertown Beerhall Gallery, a satellite of the Durban Art Gallery will play host to a festival programme consisting of workshops, open mic performances, book launches; as well as musical and poetry performances, including the finale performance from South African music veteran Hip Hop Pantsula.

Located in 102 Florence Nzama Street (formerly named Prince Alfred Street) , the Beer Hall was established in the first part of the 20th century as a means of the Municipality of Durban to monopolize the brewing and selling of beer. This came as a result of the enactment of the Native Beer Act (No 23) of 1908 which allowed the town councils of Natal to be the sole brewers and sellers of sorghum beer. Beer sales and profits were used to finance the establishment of the municipal Affairs Department in 1916 and the system of African control, which became known as the Durban System. The Rivertown Beer Hall served this function until 1968, after which it was rented out to various commercial firms.

The Rivertown Beer Hall Gallery is a key part of the eThekwini Municipality’s on-going inner city regeneration programme. The site was recently activated as a social hub 100 years after its initial opening, as part of XXV International Union of Architects World Congress which took place in August 2014.

The 18th Poetry Africa is proud to make use of this historical Durban landmark as it evolves into a new and exciting cultural precinct, a development that forms part of the City’s urban renewal project.

“The eThekwini Municipality supports the growth of cultural precincts in the city as these give not only space for creative expression in the city but move us closer to seeing a city that boasts a creative economy for its Citizens. We are very excited that Poetry Africa will be closing the festival in this neighbourhood.” said Thembinkosi Ngcobo, Head of Parks, Recreation & Culture at eThekwini Municipality.

The Poetry Africa festival finale programme will begin with the free Creative Writing workshop featuring festival poets Vangi Ganthso and Croc E Moses. This will be followed by open mic and musical performances as well as the launch of three poetry publications – the Uhlanga and Poetry Potion anthologies and the isiZulu poetry book, Izithunzi zemizwa by Musa Nhlumayo. The evening programme will kick off with the annual Slam Jam event where Durban slam poets will compete for the title of Poetry Africa Slam champion. There will then be final performances from Poetry Africa participants before the programme concludes with a performance from award winning South African artist Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), backed by a full band.

Tickets R80 available at the door and through Computicket at a discounted R70. For more information go to or call 031 260 2506.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the 18th Poetry Africa is funded by the eThekwini Municipality, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, Goethe Institute and the French Institute of South Africa. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.