The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities will host the virtual 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 under the theme “poetry as the voice of social change”.

The 2020 Mafika Gwala Annual Lecture – started in 2015 as a collaboration between the College of Humanities and South African History Online – will be presented this year as a livestreamed panel discussion themed: Poets, Artists and the voices of Resistance in the 1970’s. The panel discussion will take a pivotal place in opening Poetry Africa at 17h00 on 12 October.

CCA Director, Dr Ismail Mahomed said it is logical to locate UKZN’s annual lecture prominently at the Poetry Africa festival as “Mafika Gwala’s legacy, while remembered by an older generation, resonates even more loudly with a new generation of poets, writers and intellectuals who are inspired by his message that you cannot divorce language from power”.

Poet, writer and distinguished sociologist, Professor Ari Sitas will moderate the panel discussion featuring cultural and political activist in the Black Consciousness Movement Sam Moodley; award-winning author and journalist, Fred Kumalo; poet, musician and cultural activist, Eugene Skeef; filmmaker and activist, Bridget Thompson; and writer and columnist for The Sunday Times, Ndumiso Ngcobo.

The six-day programme that will be presented over three slots daily will feature performances, online engagements, competitions, book launches, seminars and workshops.

Festival Curator, Ms Siphindile Hlongwa added: ‘New challenges bring 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.’

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

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.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Image: Supplied