Cape Town

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09 Oct 2011

POETRY AFRICA 2011 Cape Town

POETRY AFRICA 2011 Cape Town
Saturday, 15 October 2011, 19:30
Cape Town International Convention Center(CTICC)
R70, Book at Computicket(tel: 083 915 8000)

A high-quality mix of poets and musicians come together for the Poetry Africa tour, which this year travels to Blantyre, Malawi (8th October), Johannesburg (11th), Harare , Zimbabwe (13th), and Cape Town (15th) before culminating at the main Poetry Africa festival in Durban from17 to 22 October.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), and supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), Mimeta, and Hivos, Poetry Africa on Tour is an effort to celebrate the beauty and power of poetry with ever-wider constituencies, cultures and countries.

The touring line-up to Cape Town includes critically-acclaimed writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and plays Kwame Dawes, who was born in Ghana but spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. He is also an actor, playwright, producer, an accomplished storyteller, broadcaster, and was the lead singer in Ujamaa, a reggae band. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, Dawes has produced a prolific sixteen collections of poetry.

Shailja Patel's US publishing debut, Migritude (2010) - a striking portrait of women's lives and migrant journeys - went to number one on Amazon's bestsellers in Asian Poetry. This Kenyan poet, playwright, political economist and activist has received numerous awards and fellowships and her work has been translated into 15 languages. Named in 2011 as one of Fifty Inspirational African Feminists by the African Women's Development Fund, she is a founding member of Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice, which helped pull Kenya back from the brink of war during the 2008 elections.

Always a popular performer is iconic South African poet, MC, actress, television presenter and producer Lebo Mashile. She was in 2006 awarded the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa for her first poetry collection, and has been involved in innovative cross-media collaborations such as that with choreographer Sylvia Glasser and Moving Into Dance Moiphotong.

From neighbouring Botswana comes poet, writer and voice-over artist Tjawangwa TJ Dema. Chairperson of The Writers Association of Botswana, she is the founding member of the Exoduslivepoetry! collective, who have coordinated Botswana's sole annual poetry festival since 2004.

Musical dimensions enrich the tightly packaged Poetry Africa programme. Winner of a string of major awards, Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi is the most visible figure of Francophone West African hip-hop, and previously toured in Southern Africa with his legendary outfit Positive Black Soul. Awadi's hard-hitting lyrics and consciousness-raising protest songs voice the hopes and fears of Africa's young generation today. Awadi is accompanied by guitarist Tibass Kangu from the DRC.

Defying the tradition that women in Zimbabwe do not play the mbira, Chiwoniso has emerged as one of the defining experts in the art, accompanied by her incredible singing. Chiwoniso was a core member of the multi-country all-women band Womens' Voice, and has her own acoustic group Chiwoniso and Vibe Culture.

Then there is the brilliant Chris Abani. Abani's first novel, Masters of the Board (1985), about a Neo-Nazi takeover of Nigeria, got him arrested, and his play Song of a Broken Flute (1990), resulted in a sentence as a political prisoner. Currently a Professor at the University of California, and the recipient of major PEN awards, Abani's most recent book of poetry, Sanctificum (2010), is a sequence of linked poems, combining religious ritual, the Igbo language of his Nigerian homeland and reggae rhythms.

Special guest from the Netherlands is poet, performer and composer Jaap Blonk, world-renowned for his highly original sound poetry - a whole new language that evokes a new way of listening, and thinking! Blonk was the founder and leader of innovative bands Splinks (modern jazz) and Braaxtaal (avant-rock).

Gabeba Baderoon is author of three well-received collections of poetry, and recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Poetry Award amongst others, while the charismatic Sandile Dikeni, also with three poetry collections to his credit, makes a welcome return to the scene following a car accident a few years ago.

One of the tour objectives is the development of partnerships and exchange with cultural organisations in the respective centres, and the principal partner organisation for this project is Cape Town is the African Arts Institute.

Contact details:
Centre for Creative Arts +27 31 2602506 or cca{@}
African Arts Institute +27 21 4659027/8 or info{@}
(remove the curlies{} when using email)


"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk
"Jazz and freedom go hand in hand. That explains it. There isn't any more to add to it. If I do add to it, it gets complicated. That's something for you to think about. You think about it and dig it. You dig it..." Thelonious Monk

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