The Poetry Africa roadshow hits Cape Town for a one-night-only show at CTICC on Saturday 13th of October. This forms part of the regional tour to Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana before culminating at the main Poetry Africa event in Durban (15-20 October). Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible through principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, 2012 marks the 16th edition of this landmark festival and the touring programme enables other cities and centres to catch a piece of the action.

Heading up the Cape Town showcase is Saul Williams, whose innovative work as an actor, poet and musician continues to break new ground on arts stages around the world. The proficiency and originality across different artforms which have established Williams at the cutting-edge of creativity provide a riveting fusion of voice and music artistry on matters of heart, mind and social conscience.  Well-known for his breakout role in Slam, Williams has appeared in over ten films and starred in the Senegalese-shot film Tey, which showed at the recent Durban International Film Festival.

One of the signature characteristics of Poetry Africa is the showcasing of poets from the African continent, which this year includes Nii Ayikwei Parkes from Ghana and Philo Ikonya of Kenya. Parkes is a sought-after socio-cultural commentator whose poetry embraces themes of power, cultural conflicts, love, and the friction between capitalism and humanism. Poet and novelist Philo Ikonya was President of the Kenyan chapter of PEN when she suffered brutal arrest for speaking out against corruption and the clampdowns on freedom of expression in Kenya, and is now based in Norway.  Completing the lineup for Cape Town are Lebo Mashile, Ewok, Madosini and Pedro-Espi-Sanchis. Popular television presenter Lebo Mashile is an iconic part of contemporary South African culture and a dynamic pinnacle of the poetry scene, while the razorsharp wordsmith Ewok is active as MC, playwright, actor, teacher, and is part of hip-hop outfit Illuminating Shadows. Madosini is the foremost exponent of the various bow instruments that form part of Xhosa culture and a crucial custodian of these traditions. A regular collaborator with Madosini is Pedro Espi-Sanchis; originally from Spain, Pedro has become a local and international legend for his African story-telling and expertise on indigenous music instruments, especially the Lekgodilo pipe-flute.

Tickets for the Cape Town showcase cost R80 and are available through Computicket. Visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za for the full programme of activities, biographies, and photos of participants.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the Poetry Africa tour is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder) and Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS).

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