Media Release


Participants Announcement

21st Poetry Africa International Festival

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) shall once again transform Durban into a platform to share and celebrate cultural reflections and discourses through the 21st edition of Poetry Africa International Festival. The festival, which commences on the 16th October 2017 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (UKZN, Howard College) and culminates in a finale at BAT Centre, showcases not only poetry but provides workshops and community outreach programmes at different venues around Durban. Audiences will be enthralled by the variety of delivery approaches from four prelude-poets and 18 seasoned dynamos of the spoken word, hailing from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, USA, Spain, Ukraine, Reunion Island and of course South Africa.

This year’s line-up includes the likes of South African male poets such as Kelwyn Sole, a poet with six individual published collections of poetry under his belt. Qwa-qwa native Hlox The Rebel, is a must-see as he will certainly entertain with his bold and brazen verses. Durbanites will be familiar with Durban-born poet, Minenhle Mthembu, winner of the best male poet at the 2013 Original Material Awards. Rounding up the KwaZulu Natal natives is Ukhozi FM resident poet, known as “Imbongi”, for his powerful use of the vernacular language, Siyabonga Mpungose. No line up is complete without stand-up poet, storyteller, essayist, columnist, and spoken word theatre director Kgafela Oa Magogodi, who has graced stages across Southern Africa and abroad.

Influential poetesses, Myesha Jenkins, Natalia Molebatsi and Siphokazi Jonas are also part of this year’s South African line-up. Jenkins is a writer and poet who currently has two poetry collections to her name. Molebatsi, is a writer, performance poet, workshop facilitator and programme director who has presented and performed in shows in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Holland, Italy, Nigeria, Senegal, Azerbaijan and England. Lastly, Jonas is a ‘triple-threat’ who has written, produced, and performed in three one-woman poetry productions: Poetry Under the Stars, Wrestling with Dawn, and Conspiracy Theory.

In an effort to bring audiences a plethora of culture, the festival is flying in the best that other African countries and the Global-North has to offer. From Ukraine, founder and curator of the International Ukrainian-African Literature Project Hannah Yanovska, and Oksana Rozumna professional linguist and author of two books of poetry shall be taking the stage. Zimbabwean-born, Andrew Manyika, known as “the Gentleman of Poetry”, shall bring his debonair charm to the festival. Audiences who prefer a little academia with their humour will look forward to Dike Chukwumerije; Lagos born Spoken Word, Performance Poet and award winning published author with eight books to his name.

Poetry Africa has also pulled in Spanish veteran poet and cultural activist, Eduard Escoffet who has practiced various aspects of poetry including oral and visual poetry, poetry-action, and live recitals. Reunion Island based actress, storyteller, and author Judith “Kaloune” Profil, will be gracing the stage with her faithful instrument “the mbira”. As a special treat, New York born poet, Miles Hodges, featured in the series Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices, will add some Hollywood humour to Poetry Africa; whilst Peabody, The Tony & Emmy Award winning, 6-time HBO and Broadway Def Poet, Black Ice will be blowing the audience away with what has become his signature outstanding live performances. Also from the United States of America, is Bronx-born writer, activist and educator, Crystal Valentine, who is the 9th ranked woman poet in the 2016 Woman of the World Poetry Slam.  And finally, is Durban-born Nazlee Arbee, who is well known for often playing with the imaginary binary between ‘rap’ and ‘poetry’.

Tickets for the evening sessions taking place at 7pm at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre are R60 (students and pensioners pay R40) at Computicket and at box-office an hour before performance. Tickets for the finale at the BAT Centre are R120 purchased at Computicket and at box-office an hour before the performance. For more information go to or call (0)31 260 2506/1816 or email Maju Radebe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Like the Poetry Africa Facebook Page or follow @PoetryAfrica on Twitter for instant updates about the festival.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu Natal), the 21st Poetry Africa is made possible by the continued support of the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture and Alliance Française de Durban, Institut Ramon lull, Ukrainian Association of South Africa. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the School of Arts, College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu Natal.


Media Enquiries:

Ms Ayanda Mabanga

084 690 3958

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