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report for the Kistrech Poetry Festival
August 26, 2013
Poetry Festival was a unique gathering that brought together more
than 40 African and International poets to read their poems, present
papers and share experiences in creative writing. The poets who
attended the festival were from countries such as Kenya, Nigeria,
South Africa, India, Thailand, Egypt, Cypress, Philippines, Mexico,
Lithuanian and Santiago-Chile. The event was so unique from all
other festivals because it took poetry away from the city concrete
buildings to its context the people. We performed in people's huts,
orphanages, animal precinct, national perks and we have also visited
the local cultural but most selling tourist tribe called the Masai
Mara tribe, which is more or less just as our own Zimbabwean Tonga
tribe from Binga. That was where we have experienced the root and
origin of the Kenyan culture which was now intertwined with the
poetry festival. This tribe shared with us their norms and we enjoyed
their meals such as Matoke, Chapati and Pilawo to mention afew.
Matoke, a mixture of boiled bananas, tomato soup and marton meat,
which is claimed to be the local selling meal was borrowed from
Uganda and then adopted to become the Kenyans staple diet. We went
to the Kisii University where we have facilitated some literature
discussions with students of literature language.
After the festival
I personally embarked on my East African tour which started at the
University of Nairobi where I performed at an audience of more than
1500 people, then I also performed at the Kwani Open Mic session,
where I graced the slam as the guest poet, the podium had more than
150 audience, which was a great turn up to show how much people
appreciate poetry in other countries. I also performed at the Nairobi
Television (NTV). I then left Kenya and performed at the University
of Dar re Salam, University of Zambia, then finally I get home.
But really I was impressed on how other countries appreciate the
has benefited me to the great extend, it managed to establish me
as an international artist. I learnt and experienced new ideas on
how to promote our own poetry, other people's norms and that was
an eye opener which challenged me to start thinking outside the
box and dream huge in the industry. I am now thinking broad and
dreaming of seeing things even beyond the horizon. Above everything
it established some contacts and connected me.
local spoken word industry (Poetry) is still a seed which need to
be irrigated, cultivated and patiently wait for it to beer fruits.
It not like we don't have poets no, we have well talented established
and aspiring (upcoming) poets who have potential but lacks support
and exposure. There is much to be done to put the local poetry industry
on the international market. I am glad I have managed to represent
my country and managed to convince the global audience that we have
the capacity, then they at least appreciated my work. There is need
for maximum efforts for us to reach the expected standards like
other countries for example in Zimbabwe you cannot organize a one
man's poetry show and have more than 50 people, they don't even
appreciate it. But I managed to have a massive audience at the University
of Nairobi. We need a situation whereby one poet can hire the Sheraton
1000 seater conference hall and manage to fill up the podium. We
should first convince the local communities to appreciate us poets.
It looks like we have very few poetry venues and limited platforms
to expose our works. In the same vein of thinking, the baskets that
fund poetry activities are very few, so sometimes ideas can die
at a premature stage because of lack of support. So generally poets
have a race to run and a serious battle that need to be fought until
the wining point.
As an established
poet who takes this a profession, I have much that I owe to fellow
spoken word artist. Poetry is a profession just like any other professions
that need to be taken seriously with respect though sometimes difficult
and dry. It is not easy to fully commit yourself in this industry
because it's not that paying but I have decided to do that and I
am seeing a brighter future in this career. Therefore I have a pivotal
role to play and prove other aspiring poets who are at the cross
roads on whether they should consider this industry as a full time
career or not because of the difficulties involved. I mean challenges
are there to test our capacity, pave a better way to our success,
and above everything the more the challenges the greater the potential
one has. Besides the hidden plans I am running around to look for
funding to launch my poetry recording project called "The African
Drumbeat" which I have collaborated with a South African Poetry
Queen Lungile Lithola.
I was the only
Zimbabwean at this event. I am going to organize something massive
that is going to help expose fellow poets, especially those talented
but who lack exposure and opportunities to be at international platforms.
My organization Awake
Zimbabwe Trust is busy right now organising something that has
never happened in Zimbabwe. So I will not unpack it for now, but
I am confidently promising the nation and the world at large a blast.
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