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Monday, September 20, 2021


Poetry Africa Festival celebrates 25 years: Unmute: Power to the Poet

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), in partnership with the National Institute for Humanities, French Institute of South Africa, and Total, will host the 25th Poetry Africa International Festival from October 11 to 16, 2021.

During these times of a pandemic, we experience a digital highway in which we can get lost in algorithms generated for us, somewhere between fake and fact. A world in which we are unsure who or what to believe. The poet's role is to help us persevere during these times of lockdowns, loneliness, and fear. The poet can appeal to something deep within us that is fostered within our communities. Poets can inspire with us their power to influence societies and possess the ability to show us things through a different lens.

During times of fake news and authoritarian tendencies, our society may need poets more than ever to shine a light on certain truths and to unite communities. We need poets to articulate for us, give us another prospect and shift time.  Therefore, the focus during this year’s festival is Unmute: Power to the Poet.

For the 25th year in a row, the Poetry Africa festival in Durban sets the stage for poetry with a curatorial focus on quality, variety, renewal, and reflection. Poetry Africa offers a stage to well-established and beginning poets and gives audiences an overview of modern poetry's new developments and current topics. Due to Covid-19, the majority of the festival programme will be presented online, with two live events taking place in Durban. One can expect over 35 poets from South Africa, Africa, and the world during the six-day programme presented over five slots daily and feature performances, online engagements, competitions, book launches, seminars, and workshops.

The festival is also running three competitions that are currently open for submissions: Open mic competition, schools competition and Slam Jam competition. For details on how to submit, visit

You can catch Poetry Africa for free on Facebook and YouTube, and the entire programme will be announced closer to the festival.

The annual Poetry Africa Festival has been traditionally presented at venues across the city of Durban and in 2020 it presented its first virtual festival, due to the pandemic. The festival has built up a loyal following of poetry lovers and has also introduced new audiences to poetry. Many established poets, such as Lebo Mashile, Lesego Rampolokeng and Dennis Brutus have graced the festival’s stages, but also many upcoming poets have their first festival experience at Poetry Africa. The Festival aims to be a voice of social change and redress.

The 25th Poetry Africa festival is made possible with the support of the National Institute for Humanities, the French Institute of South Africa, and Total.

To stay updated, follow @PoetryAfrica on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at