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Poetry Africa: African poets get on stage!

Boasting a line-up of 20 selected poets from 12 different counties, the 15th edition of the leading African poetry festival “Poetry Africa” has just started. For the first time, this year's event will begin from the 8th of October with a tour of various cities in South Africa but also in Zimbabwe and Malawi – see complete calendar of the tour. It will then settle in Durban, its habitual location, for another week of poetry where the impressive diversity of the programmes should appeal to every sensibility. Among the numerous workshops, lectures, performances or reading sessions, audiences can expect sharp social and political commentary but also innovative and personal approach to poetry. And with the pivotal COP 17 International Climate Conference taking place in Durban in November, a special attention will be paid to the theme of climate change.

 

How it all happens

An event organized by the Centre for Creative Arts of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, this year's edition of Poetry Africa will be held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from the 17th to the 21st of October – with the finale at the BAT Centre on the 22th of October. Except for the first night, which will be dedicated to the environmental and planetary challenges, the general format is for five poets to perform a night. Performances can vary greatly – from slam and rap to more conventional poetry readings – but always revolve around the works of the on-stage poet. Poetry Africa has become a landmark for the African poetry, and some famous names are expected to hold the microphone this year again. Intofrench has decided to present you the 2 francophone poets selected for this new edition of Poetry Africa.

Who to expect (in French)?

A big name first: Didier Awadi. Born in Dakar (Senegal) some 40 years ago, Awadi is a prominent name of the African rap scene. Deeply influenced by the American hip-hop, the artist's texts bear nevertheless influence of his African roots and identity. After three solo albums where he showed a great sense of Pan-Africanism, tackling global African problems such as debt and dilapidated heritage, Awadi has recently turned to cinema with the release of his first feature film, “Le Point de Vue du Lion”, that has been presented at the Cannes Festival's last edition. He will be accompanied on stage by Tibass Kangu, a renowned guitarist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The other Francophone artist will be Patrice Treuthardt from Reunion Island. Treuthardt writes both in French and Creole, a language he defends fervently. Campaigning among poor communities of his island to promote cultural and linguistic heritage, Treuthardt has developed the concept of the “Kabar Poem” where the speech, poetic but always politically committed, is sustained and punctuated by musicians.

 

Hadrien Diez

 

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