Update: Festival Attracts 60 Poets

The Herald of Zimbabwe has given the following report about the Zimbabwe Poetry Festival:

THE African Drums Poetry Book Tour – a poetry gala attracting some regional artists – was on Monday inaugurated at Alliance Francaise in Harare ending this evening.

More than 60 poets are taking part in the festival that is running under the theme: Celebrating the Energy and Culture of Words.

A brainchild of poet Mbizo Chirasha, the festival which seeks to promote collaborative efforts among Sadc artists, has also attracted some big names in Zimbabwean literature as guest speakers.

“This programme is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe by young poets who want to see the culture of appreciation and growth of poetry in Africa.

“This is the time for poets and writers to be innovative, progressive, idealistic, creative, ” said Chirasha.

Susan Haimbala, a performance poet from Namibia, said the festival was instrumental in integrating regional poets.

“I am very excited to be taking part in this festival that helps in building relationships among regional artists. I have learnt at this festival many things that I did not know,” said Haimbala who doubles as a musician.

Haimbala, who performs in Oshiwambo, said she hoped to persuade some Namibian artists to come to Zimbabwe using her own initiatives in order to collaborate with some locals when she returns home.

Simon Longwe, a University of Zambia student, who hailed performance poetry as an expressive genre of art, echoed similar sentiments.

“Performance poetry is one genre of art that helps in educating and informing people about what is happening in their societies,” he said.

He praised the state of poetry in Zimbabwe saying in Zambia, it was beginning to take shape.

Longwe also described Zimbabwe as peaceful despite negative media reports meant to tarnish the image of the country.

Some of the guest speakers who deliberated at the festival since Monday include Musaemura Zimunya who spoke about the response Zimbabwean literature and his poetry has garnered abroad.

Dub-poet Albert Nyathi tackled the issue of originality in relation to performance poetry and how it has developed in Zimbabwe.

He also handled the issue of choreography as a necessity in performance poetry.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and social commentator Dr Vimbai Chivaura deliberated on a broad spectrum of issues that include the relevance of culture in poetry.

Tonight, more than 35 artists will perform under one roof at Alliance Francaise as the curtain comes down at 10pm.


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