2024 Slam Jam Announcment

The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal invites South African poets to enter the 2024 edition of the Poetry Africa annual Slam Poetry Competition and to win a chance of winning the grand prize of Twenty Thousand Rand.

  • Who is eligible for the competition?

South African poets between the ages of 18-35 and living in South Africa are eligible for the competition. The winner represents Poetry Africa / South Africa at the World Slam Poetry Competition.


  • How many poems can I submit?

A poet may submit only one entry for the competition. Any additional entries submitted will be automatically disqualified.


  • Is there a theme for the competition?

The festival theme is Poetry: Somehow We survive. The theme is inspired by Denis Brutus’s proem of the same title. Entrants are free to interpret the theme as broadly as possible but the poem must express the poet’s ideas related to matters such as human rights, justice and equality. The poem must demonstrate how the poet’s voice works towards strengthening South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy.


  • Are there any restrictions to the content that I produce?

Poetry Africa advocates for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Creativity as enshrined in Section 16 of the South African Constitution. Poetry Africa will automatically disqualify entries that:

    • Promotes Hate Speech and which is derogatory of any racial, ethnic, religious, language or other demographic group;
    • Uses sexually explicit content;
    • Promotes any kind of violence, destruction of property or lawlessness.


  • In what language must the poem be?

A poem submitted for the competition can be in any of the official South African languages but it must have English subtitles. Poetry Africa is streamed globally and the use of English is for the purposes of being accessible to the festival’s global audiences.


  • Can I use props, costumes and musical instruments to perform the poem?

Props, costumes and/or instruments are permissible in the presentation of poems. We are looking for innovation, creativity and integration with multimedia that is original, engaging and inspiring.


  • In what format must the poem be submitted?

The poem must be submitted in a video format (MP4, AVI). Poem/video must be no more than 100MB. The video poem must not exceed 3 minutes in total. Poets may not do introductions to their poems. Entrants will be allowed a 10 second grace period. Failure to keep to the length prescribed, the poet might be disqualified.


  • Can I perform somebody’s else’s poem?

No, the poem submitted for the competition must be original and it must be the poet’s own work. ). The video must not contain other people’s copyrighted material. In the event that the poet uses any other person’s content in the video (visuals or sound, etc) it is the responsibility of the poet to secure the rights of use for such content. The festival reserves the right to request proof thereof. The festival is also indemnified against any copyright infringements by entrants.


  • Can I feature other people in my video images?

Yes, you can but is is your responsibility to obtain their permission.


  • Can I submit a poem that I have previously submitted or a poem that I have sent to another competition?

No, the poem must new original work. I should not have been submitted anywhere else (other digital slams/projects


  • Who will adjudicate the poems?

The poems submitted will be adjudicated by 3 independent panels of judges. The first panel will select the Top Ten Semi-Finalists from a long-list of submissions. The second panel will select the Top Five Finalists. The third panel will select the Winner of the 2024 Poetry Africa Slam Poetry Competition. The decision of the Jury of each panel will be final. Neither the Jury nor Poetry Africa will enter into correspondence with competitors.


  • What is the criteria for judging:

The following criteria will be used by the Jury to assess entries:

    • Content and interpretation of the theme
    • Originality
    • Creativity
    • Performance
    • Impact


  • How will know that my poem short-listed?

Poems that are shortlisted will be shared on the festival’s social media platforms; and the entrants will be informed by email. 


  • What is the prize for the Top Ten Semi-Finalists:

The Top Ten semi-finalists will be invited to perform at the Poetry Africa festival  semi-final Slam Competition in Johannesburg on Friday 4 October 2024. Where necessary the Top Ten semi-finalists will be provided with flights from a major airport in South Africa to Johannesburg, 2 night’s accommodation in Johannesburg, per diems and a performance fee. The Top Ten semi-finalists will be provided a Masterclass before competition. Attendance and participation in the Masterclass is compulsory. 


  • What is the prize for the Top Five finalists:

The Top Five finalists will be invited to perform at the Poetry Africa festival in Durban on Saturday 12 October 2024. Where necessary the Top Five entrants will be provided with flights from a major airport in South Africa to Durban, 2 night’s accommodation in Durban, per diems and a performance fee.  


  • What is the prize for the Winner of the Poetry Africa Slam competition?

The winner will receive an overall fee of Twenty Thousand Rand. The winner will also represent South Africa at the World Slam Poetry Competition in 2025.


  • Who owns the poem if I submit it to the Poetry Africa for the competition?

You own all the rights to your poem. However, by submitting it to Poetry Africa you give Poetry Africa the right to share your poem on Poetry Africa’s social media platforms?


  • Do I have to complete an entry form when I submit my poem?

Yes, you do have to complete an entry form when you submit your poem. You can find the entry form at here. Because of the large volume of submissions that Poetry Africa receives incomplete forms will be immediately disqualified?


  • What is the closing date for submission of entries?

Entries close on Friday 19th July at midnight