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Monday, October 9, 2023



(Right: Prof Muxe Nkondo by Kane Lucas)

Poetry Africa Festival in Johannesburg draws full houses and rave reviews.

The 27th annual Poetry Africa International Festival, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the UJ Arts & Culture Centre for the second consecutive year, has been met with sold-out shows and rave reviews, and is now beginning its Durban leg from Monday October 9.

The festival in Johannesburg, held in partnership with the University of Johannesburg Arts & Culture, launched on October 5 with the inspiring 2nd Keorapetse Kgositsile Memorial Lecture. During his inspiring speech, keynote speaker Professor Muxe Nkondo stated, “Poetry gives voice to the human spirit and allows us to reflect on our shared humanity.”

On the evening of the 6th, the Slam Jam semi-finals electrified audiences, with judges selecting the top five finalists who will go on to compete in Durban on Saturday October 14. The 2023 Slam Jam finalists are Katlego Mofokeng, Lethu Nkwanyana, Natasha Mubanga, Olive Olusegun and Solly Ramatswi. On the 7th, poetry fans gathered for one last night, to witness the crème-de-la-crème in poetry with performance by international stars Rudy Francisco (USA), Sarah Lubala (Congo/SA), Raphael D’Abdon (Italy/SA) and Amee Slam (Ivory Coast), joined by South African poets Steel the Poet and Indigene “Gene” Corefio.

Festival curator Siphindile Hlongwa remarked: “It is a true honour to provide a platform for young poetic voices to develop and express their craft and share their truth. Audiences should be sure not to miss the opportunity to experience festival in Durban and Bloemfontein, as it celebrates the diverse voices of poetry across South Africa, Africa and the globe.”The festival now continues in Durban from October 9 to 14, featuring an array of poetry performances, discussions, musical collaborations, and the highly-anticipated Slam Jam finals. Throughout the week, stages at Howard College at the University of KwaZulu-Natal will be graced by poets inspiring with their spoken word.

The annual Mafika Gwala lecture, that is broadcast online on Monday October 9 at 15h00, will feature activist and writer Sam Moodley in conversation with Omar Badsha. They will discuss Mafika Pascal Gwala and the role of writing as a weapon of culture in the Black Consciousness Movement. Moodley will focus on Gwala's belief in raising consciousness and empowering the youth.

After Durban, the festival will wrap up in Bloemfontein from October 16-17. The full programme can be viewed at

Tickets for all events are available via Webtickets online or at Pick n Pay stores. Online events are being broadcast daily at 15h00 on and

Poetry Africa is supported by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the National Arts Council of South Africa, the KZN Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, the French Institute of South Africa and Total Energies. The festival is co-presented in Johannesburg with UJ Arts & Culture and in Bloemfontein with PACOFS. The 27-year-old festival in Durban cements the city’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

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