The 14th Poetry Africa festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus created a wonderful buzz. This annual event ran from October 4-8 at UKZN and closed at Durban’s Bat Centre on October 9.


This year’s festival featured 22 participants from 12 different countries. Apart from thoroughly entertaining nights at the Sneddon Theatre, the activities included seminars, workshops, poetry competitions, open mic opportunities and school visits.


The Director for the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) Peter Rorvik said it is evident that music and poetry spring from the same well of creativity. The festival opened with a spectacular performance by internationally acclaimed artists, Ernie Smith and Concord Nkabinde, followed by a poetry marathon which featured the various poets that presented their work throughout the week.


Speaking in harmony with one of South Africa’s most celebrated poets, Lebo Mashile who hosted the opening night of the event, Rorvik said that poetry is a language of enrichment. With the stage being an iconic platform for freedom of expression, both Mashile and Rorvik seized the opportunity to speak out against South Africa’s Protection of Information Bill and Media Tribunal which threaten freedom of speech, freedom of expression and basic human rights.


Rorvik thanked all funders who have supported Poetry Africa, while Mashile said that through the Poetry Africa festival, the CCA provides a haven for all South African poets. She added that both established and aspirant poets expressed delight and gratitude for the countless opportunities Poetry Africa availed to them as artists.


Apart from mainstream performances and recitals by established poets, some of the highlights of this year’s festival were performances by Durban Spotlight Poets and the interplay between music, poetry and its educational features.


Those attending were able to buy T-shirts and a wide range of books and CDs by the poets.

author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za