Poetry Africa Festival celebrates 25 years: Unmute: Power to the Poet

Arts and Creative Industries

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa, Total South Africa and the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences, will host the 25th Poetry Africa International Festival from 11 to 16 October 2021.

During these times of a pandemic, we experience a digital highway in which we can get lost in algo rhythms generated for us, somewhere between fake and fact. A world in which we are unsure who or what to believe. The poet’s role is to help us persevere during these times of lockdowns, loneliness, and fear. The poet can appeal to something deep within us that is fostered within our communities. Poets can inspire with us their power to influence societies and possess the ability to show us things through a different lens. During times of fake news and authoritarian tendencies, our society may need poets more than ever to shine a light on certain truths and to unite communities. We need poets to articulate for us, give us another perspective and shift time.  Therefore, the focus during this year’s festival is “Unmute: Power to the Poet”.

For the 25th year in a row, the Poetry Africa festival in Durban sets the stage for poetry with a curatorial focus on quality, variety, renewal, and reflection. Poetry Africa offers a stage to well-established and emerging poets and gives audiences an overview of contemporary poetry’s new developments and current topics.  Due to Covid-19, the majority of the festival programme will be presented online, with two live events taking place in Durban. Over 35 poets from South Africa, Africa and the world will be featured during the six-day programme presented over five slots daily. The programme will feature performances, online engagements, competitions, book launches, seminars and workshops.

“We are eagerly anticipating the 25th edition of Poetry Africa. We have seen, especially during these difficult times, the importance of poets their creativity and their ability to heal, inspire and give us hope. This year’s theme, Unmute: Power to the Poet, is incredibly resonant during a time in our world where freedom of expression is constantly under threat. Our humanity is dependant artists who use their gifts to speak truth to power, ” expressed Sophie Boulé, Cultural Attaché Embassy of France in South Africa.

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

Background information

The festival is made possible with the support of the French Institute of South Africa, Total South Africa and the National Institute for Humanities & Social Sciences.

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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