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Spoken Word: All about engagement
April 07, 2011
Once again the
Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) bug is about to
bite the capital starting April 26 up to May 1. This year it is
all about engagement and in keeping with this theme the Hifa 2011
Spoken Word programme aims to provide a platform for engagement,
"to stimulate dialogue through the celebration of African
Curated by poet
Chirikure Chirikure, the Hifa 2011 Spoken Word programme will feature
writers from across Africa, namely Malawi, Botswana, South Africa,
Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe as well as a guest artist from Denmark.
Each day of
the festival, the programme will focus on a different theme, featuring
different languages, styles, rhythms and patterns, poetry, prose,
chants and soulful music. According to the festival organisers each
performer will have the liberty to interpret the themes in their
From Kenya comes
Ngwatilo Mawiyoo a performing artist and writer best known for her
work in poetry and film. Earlier this month, she was on a tour of
Southern Africa for the Poetry Africa Festival. Mawiyoo's
first book of poems, Blue Mothertongue published last year, is a
collection set in Nairobi and the African diaspora. It explores
the themes of home, loss and healing.
In her performance
work, Ngwatilo sometimes experiments with the capacity of music,
dance and video to read and tell, both to complicate and to simplify
poetry, calling these techniques "Puesic".
Zimbabwean Daniel Mandishona studied graphic design and then architecture
at the Bartlett School, University College London. He began writing
in 1982 after reading Dambudzo Marechera's House of Hunger.
His first short
story, A Wasted Land was published in Contemporary African Short
Stories (Heinemann, 1992). His latest short story collection, White
Gods Black Demons is set to be released by Weaver Press.
Livewire Alice "Thanda" Richardson is also set to perform
at Hifa. Known for her passion and energy for dancehall reggae and
raga, she calls her music "a fusion for the youth of the 21st
sculptor, poet, writer and academic Pitika Ntuli combines a vast
store of African mythology and history to improvise in his evocative
poetry. Ntuli is an expert in African indigenous knowledge systems.
He is a regular political and cultural commentator on SABC 2. He
is a well-known poet and speaker who has been a keynote speaker
at numerous high profile events and has read his poetry at many
The shows will
cost US$6. However other Spoken Word shows in the HIVOS Poetry Café
will be free if you have either bought a general admission ticket
to the Hifa site or have a ticket to any other show.
Other artists billed to perform in the programme include Quaye Kojo
from Ghana, Ewok from South Africa, Q Malewezi from Malawi and T
J Dema from Botswana. To cap the foreign entourage will be renowned
Danish poet Morten Søndergaard.
complement will also include Valerie
Tagwira, Nevanji Madanhire, Mgcini
Nyoni, Bhekusa Moyo, Blackheat deShanti, Linda Gabriel, Aura,
Mbizo Chirasha, and as a special guest, Outspoken.
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