17th Poetry Africa - International Poetry Festival Workshops


The 17th Poetry Africa – International Poetry Festival presented in partnership with the City of Durban and the KZN Department of Arts and Culture announced the festival line up, which promises to be an exhilarating showcase of diverse voices and sounds. Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) to take place from 14-19 October, this festival is a critical platform for self-expression that gives a platform for cultural exchange in the city of Durban.

The Poetry Africa festival, now in its 17th edition, takes place from 14 to 19 October 2013. The event brings together some of the world’s finest poets and musicians to Durban, with artists from India, Benin, Nigeria, Ireland, Italy, Canada and The United States of America.

The Pre-Festival Creative Writing workshops taking place from 7-11 October, at the Centre for Creative Writing (University of KwaZulu-Natal) offers 15 aspiring writers an extensive week-long programme which offers to develop their creative writing tools to hone their craft. The department which is headed by poet and Poetry Africa alumni Poppy Seed, who is a lecturer in English Literature and Media, with 25 years of experience, as well as a songwriter / composer, playwright and is an internationally acclaimed performance poet.

Our extensive workshop programme also includes a pre-festival tour of Durban by the festival finale musical act, Canadian hip-hop and spoken word poet Ian Kamau.  The interactive week-long workshops will take place in various venues across the city, and is a must for all poetry lovers. Kamau is a writer, visual artist, hip hop and spoken word artist from Toronto whose discography lists five collections, including the popular album One Day Soon (2011).

Kamau’s Rhythm, Rhyme & Reasons workshops will take place on the following dates: 

Tuesday 8 October:  Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre, 14:00-15:00.

Wednesday 9 October: BAT Centre, 17:00-18:00.

Thursday 10 October: Lindelani Arts Centre, 13:00-14:00.

 Friday 11 October: Alliance Francaise, 14:00-15:00.

To take part in the workshops presented by Ian Kamau, contact

Along with a diverse line-up of performers, the festival has an extensive workshop programme taking place before and during the festival. Aspiring poets and poetry lovers have the opportunity to engage with Poetry Africa participants, past and present to help hone their craft with creative writing workshops that they will be hosting. The Poetry Writing Workshop at the BAT Centre Saturday 19 October, headed by Raphael D’Abdon (Italy) and Kobus Moolman (South Africa), offers poetry lovers an opportunity to discuss reading, writing and the performance aspects of poetry. D’Abdon is an Italian scholar, writer, editor and translator and a post-doctoral fellow in the English Studies Department at UNISA. As an editor D’Abdon recently published Marikana - A Moment in Time as well as an anthology of poetry about the massacre as well as his own collection Sunnyside Nightwalk. Kobus Moolman is a lecturer of creative writing and languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and author. Moolman has a diverse portfolio of published work and his latest collection Left Over is currently enjoying rave reviews is the press.

This year the festival will also host a workshop in partnership with Poetry Potion on Saturday 29 October at the BAT Centre, to discuss and analyse the work of their third quarterly publication Poetry is not a Luxury. Inspired by Audre Lorde’s work of the same title, this anthology of poems written by respected poets Tereska Muishond, Ayabulela Tutuse, Morula wa Kutukgolo, Mandy Mitchell, Monique Barnard, and Saurell Boyers; contemporary poets using their words to tackle and engage topics of every-day life, while discovering who they are through the art of poetry. Our panel discussion will feature 17th Poetry Africa participants Natalia Molebatsi, Malika Ndlovu, and Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla, creating a dialogue about the work and influence of female poets in the country.

For more details about this year’s Poetry Africa, visit or call (031) 2602506

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University KwaZulu-Natal), the 17th Poetry Africa is funded by the City of Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and The French Institute. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The CCA is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, in the College of Humanities at UKZN.

Caption: Canadian Poet and Hip-Hop Artist Iain Kamau will be in Durban hosting workshops as part of the Poetry Africa International Poetry Festival prior to the opening of the Festival.