Poetry Africa Johannesburg Tour

Poetry Africa Johannesburg Tour

Oct. 6, 2022 to Oct. 8, 2022
UJ Arts & Culture
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The Centre for Creative Arts and the University of Johannesburg’s Arts &Culture Department have, for the past decade, informally collaborated to bring down a small cohort of poetry students from Jo’burg to participate in the Poetry Africa Festival. This year we have made our relationship official, and amplified it!

Poetry Africa On Tour is a 3-day Live Programme (supported by UJ Arts & Culture) that breaks Poetry Africa out of its geographical shell and extends its footprint and imprint to Johannesburg and other local cities and provinces. This staging has created a space for the poetry community outside of Durban to shift into the role of engaged makers of the festival and expanded the repertoire of what can be experienced through it. It also marries mobility to accessibility, by delivering some of the live offerings of the festival to the doorstep of an audience in Johannesburg, who may not have the capacity to attend the main event.

Our hope is that this instalment of the festival will afford poets, who are doing the unsung labour of nurturing poetic practices and reach in their respective locales, the opportunity to plug into the thriving and enabling ecosystem that has formed around this unprecedented platform for poetry on the continent. 

6 0ctober: What’s A Woman’s Worth

Prior to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and, in South Africa, the Bill of Rights in 1996, women were considered to be less than (hu)man, having only partial or no access to (hu)man rights. In this sub-human terrain, what attributes were used to calculate a woman’s value? How has the enshrinement of human and women’s rights, and the discourse of equality that underpins these impacted on those value rationales? What persists, what limits and what enables women to define and own their value? This first-of-its-kind focus on women by women performance is a cross-generational probing and response to this; the vast spectrum of degradation to celebration that determines the worth of a woman.

8 October: Tilting The Scales

Poetry is both a tool for transformative activism and a creative practice. However, flourishing in one can, at times, compromise the fulfilment of the other. Is it possible to simultaneously tilt the scales of societal (in)justice and tilt the scales of poetic forms toward abstracted and experimental dimensions? The featured poets have, through their unrivalled production levels and work, begun to respond, in the positive, to this provocation. They have shown that one can translate the refusal to conform to societal constructs into a mode of performance that is equally disruptive of the forms that poetry making is traditionally relegated to. Brace yourself for an evening of poetry that is defiant, in both its content and presentation.