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Poetry Africa presents Poetry for social change in virtual festival

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in partnership with the US Embassy South Africa, French Institute of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts at Culture, Windybrow Arts Centre and Institut Ramon Llull will host the 24th Poetry Africa International Festival from 12 to 17 October 2020. 

For the 24th year in a row, the Poetry Africa festival in Durban sets the stage for poetry from South Africa and around the world. It promises to be an enriching experience with the sound of poets performing live, their passionate, inspirational perspective on life and current events and the power and beauty of the spoken word. An innovation this year is that due to the Covid-19 the entire festival programme will be presented online.

The six-day programme that will be presented over three slots daily will feature performances, online engagements, competitions, book launches, seminars and workshops. Spoken word poetry has a deep history in the civil rights movement. It has been used to shed light on injustices, and it has also been used to bring people together to create change. When engaging through poetry, a person is often more receptive to having difficult conversations. This year Poetry Africa presents poetry that isn’t just about form and style, language and craft, but that is also relevant and tackles all sorts of urgent issues. Therefore, the focus during this year’s festival is “poetry as the voice of social change”.  

Like many other festivals, Poetry Africa has also adapted and embraced the challenges and newer opportunities of going virtual this year, and this has inspired new excitement of the organisers.

“New challenges brings about new opportunities. With this year’s festival we are exploring all opportunities presented to us by COVID 19. We will once again feature poets from the continent and the rest of the world, presented in a digital format with an aim to reach wider audiences and break barriers. Through carefully curated poets for this year’s festival we wish to provide the society with a mirror to reflect and give solutions for all societal ills” says curator Siphindile Hlongwa.

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

Background information

The festival is made possible by the support from US Embassy South Africa, French Institute of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts at Culture, Windybrow Theatre and Institut Ramon Llull.

To stay updated, please follow @Poetry Africa on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at www.facebook.com/poetryafrica.

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