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2023 Poetry Africa Festival: A Celebration of Verse and Expression



2023 Poetry Africa Festival A Celebration of Verse and Expression

The 27th Poetry Africa Festival is set to captivate audiences across three South African cities: Johannesburg, Durban, and Bloemfontein. Kicking off in Johannesburg on October 5th, the festival will move to Durban from October 9th to 14th before concluding its poetic journey in Bloemfontein on October 17th, 2023. Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, this event promises a rich tapestry of poetic voices as reported by

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Under the theme “VOTE4POETRY: MORE THAN WORDS,” the festival celebrates the profound influence of poets in upholding the values of a constitutional democracy. The program offers a diverse range of established, mid-career, and emerging spoken word poets engaging in performances, workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions, and book launches.

Siphindile Hlongwa, the curator of Poetry Africa, reflects on the festival’s significance, stating, “For over two decades, Poetry Africa has consistently served as a pivotal platform for contemporary spoken word poetry. Expanding to Bloemfontein after our successful events in Durban and Johannesburg last year was a natural progression.”

In Johannesburg, the Poetry Africa Festival will collaborate with the Arts & Culture Centre at the University of Johannesburg. Napo Masheane, an alumnus of the festival, aims to create an inclusive environment in Bloemfontein.


A centrepiece of Poetry Africa’s calendar is the Slam Poetry Competition, one of Africa’s prominent slam events. Past champions like Xabiso Vili, the 2021 Poetry Africa Slam Champion who clinched the World Poetry Slam Championship title in Brussels, have set high standards. The 2022 Poetry Africa Slam Champion, Kwanele Nyembe, is gearing up to compete for the championship title in Brazil later this year.

Siphindile Hlongwa, a passionate advocate for the Poetry Africa brand, expresses confidence in the festival’s legacy, saying, “Poetry Africa set an elevated benchmark at the World Slam Championship in 2022. We firmly believe that Kwanele Nyembe will continue this rich tradition.”

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Photo: Facebook / @ Poetry Africa

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