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Friday, October 9, 2015


(Lebohang 'Nova' Masango)

A select group of poets from South Africa and around the world will gather together for a week showcasing the face of present day spoken word and storytelling at the 19th Poetry Africa Festival. The festival takes place in Durban from October 12 to 17, 2015.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, Poetry Africa provides a space for intercultural exchange and dialogue by hosting an extensive community outreach programme with poetry readings, performances and workshops in community centres, campuses and also participate in a programme of visits to schools across Durban to share ideas about poetry.

Evening poetry readings and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (Howard College) UKZN. The festival finale will take place on October 17 at the Rivertown Beer Hall in Durban’s CBD, with a closing performance by soulful singer Nakhane TourĂ©.

This year’s festival features 24 poets:

UK-based Kat Francois is a comedienne, playwright, actress, performer, host, schools and youth facilitator and a wellknown performance poet both in her country and globally. Lebohang 'Nova' Masango, is a Swedish-born writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker, and UK-based Ghanaian performance poet, writer and sociocultural commentator Nii Parkes.

From South Africa comes the celebrated and prolific poet and actress Lebo Mashile, who was named one of the Top 100 Africans by New African magazine; Lesego Rampolokeng  the renowned hard-hitting South African writer, playwright and performance poet; Aryan Kaganof a filmmaker, novelist, poet and fine artist, who refers to himself as a project of African Noise Foundation; Ntsiki Mazwai the outspoken and incendiary poet, writer and musician and Thabiso ‘Afurakan’ Mohare one of the pioneers of the modern South African spoken word scene.

KZN-based poets include Africa Dlamini, a slam/spoken word poet who lives in Howick, Durban’s Celiswa Majali whose novel entitled Imbali yentombazanana is used by schools at grade 10 level in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces. Also from Durban are Khanyi Shusha a diviner, performance art poet, stylist, designer, facilitator, brown consciousness activist, feminist and writer; Kwazi Ndlangisa a South African award-winning performance poet, vocalist, creative writer and art activist; Matt Vend who is well-known across South Africa for his poetically-driven songwriting, unique rhythmic guitar playing and engaging live performances; Nokulunga Dladla who is a passionate recording poetry artist and a storyteller as well as being an educator in the Pinetown District; Nosipho Magcaba, a former “prelude poet” at the festival, who returns this year to the main programme; Tshebeletso Mohale also a former “prelude poet” at Poetry Africa 2014 who is lives and works in Durban; Thando Fuze has twice been nominated for Best Female Performing Poet at the Original Material Awards and Vus'umuzi Phakathi who is an award winning South African poet, writer, performer, facilitator and producer.

Other featured poets include Icebound Makhele a spoken word performer, writer, cultural activist and events coordinator from Bloemfontein, Makhosazana Xaba the author of two poetry collections and is a feminist activist with experience in women’s health, philanthropy and the anti-apartheid struggle; Mbali Vilakazi the award-winning South African poet, performer, curator and speaker, with a dynamic style and collaborative experimental approach; Mthunzikazi Mbungwana a poet, writer and storyteller from a small village of Upper Indwana in Cala in the former Transkei; Mutle Mothibe has spent the last 15 years honing his skills a writer and performer and is also an accomplished workshop facilitator who regularly engages both learners and educators and Limpopo-born Vonani Bila who is poet and musician, who has written eight story-books for newly literate adult readers in Sepedi, Xitsonga and English.

The evening sessions take place at 19h00 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Tickets R40 (R25 students/ pensioners at the door) can be purchased at Computicket or one hour before the performance begins at the box-office.

Tickets for the festival finale at Rivertown cost R70 (pre-sale or R80 at the door) and can be booked through

For more information go to or like the Facebook page PoetryAfrica or follow on Twitter @PoetryAfrica.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible by support from the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and the Goethe Institute. 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.