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Monday, September 14, 2020


Hear My Voice is excited to have launched a Mobility Fund, which encourages international literary festivals and events to book South African poets by covering up to 50% of the fees incurred when booking South African talent.

The Mobility Fund was put together to encourage the export of local poets to the world by incentivising international literary platforms, such as book fairs and festivals, to book and feature SA poets as part of their literature activities. The Fund would ordinarily contribute towards the travelling costs for local poets to get to their destination but due to the current COVID19 outbreak, the initiative will take place in a digital realm for the remainder of 2020.

Poet Zizipho Bam (24) from East London, who’s poetry themes are spoken word, mental-illness, love, loss and physical trauma, says that being a beneficiary of the Hear My Voice Mobility Fund means the world to her.

“Hear My Voice has given me the opportunity to control a narrative. The Mobility Fund allows us [South African poets] to expose ourselves to a broader and wider audience - and to be able to reach out to international organisations for poetry and collaborate,” says Bam.

Who can apply for funding?

Either the international organisation that would like to book a South African poet or a local poet who has been booked by an international festival or event can apply for the grant which will cover up to 50% of the poets’ honorarium or booking fee – with a ceiling limit of R5000 per poet or event.

“The mobility fund is an extension of our core activity, which is international exchange programmes. We want the international market to grow their appetite for local literature and this fund allows us to take South Africans further and wider into the world.” – says MoAfrika Mokgathi-Mvubu, Director at Hear My Voice.

Hear My Voice has been instigating international exchange programmes for poets since 2016, with the first edition of their annual “Azania to DC” programme in collaboration with Jonathan B Tucker which brings U.S based poets to South Africa, and similarly sends South African based poets to Washington DC. As with the Mobility Fund, Azania to DC will continue to take place this year through digital solutions and innovation.

“We want the world to hear local stories, and we want local poets to be able to survive off their art and to get paid their worth,” says Mokgathi-Mvubu.

With more international literary festivals going online, and budgets being cut across the board, the HMV team hope that the Mobility Fund will continue to ensure that South African poets get booked and that they receive their worth in terms of remuneration.

The Mobility Fund is made possible through partial funding from the National Arts Council.

The closing date for Mobility Fund grants is September 30, 2020, and there are various requirements that guarantee the integrity of the programme. Beneficiaries are being selected throughout the month of September too, before the closing date.

For more details on how to apply for the Mobility Fund or if you’d like to donate and contribute to the meaningful work that this non-profit organisation does within the literature and poetry space, visit for more information.