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POETRY AFRICA 2000 (article first published : 2000-05-8)

Durban’s literary world will once again be able to feast on words at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre when the fourth annual Poetry Africa Festival hosted by the University’s Centre for Creative Arts opens tonight to run until May 13 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. The festival sees 20 local and international poets gather together in a celebration of poetry each evening from 19h30 where they will present a selection of their work.

From the United Kingdom come legendary, award-winning poet Roger McGough and socially and politically active Rastafarian poet Benjamin Zepaniah, kindly brought to the country by the British Council. There’s also noted award-winning Hungarian poet Péter Kántor, highly-acclaimed Dutch writer from the psychedelic Beat generation; Simon Vinkenoog and Swedish poet Thomas Tidholm who has written plays for stage, television, radio as well as children’s’ books. Susan Kiguli, lecturer in Literature at Makerere University, comes from Uganda and Lagos is represented by prolific and literary-active Nigerian poet, Toyin Adewale.

Olga Sedakova is lecturer in the department of Philosophy at Moscow University; Philip Hammial from Australia also sculpts and paints while Francis Bebey from the Cameroon is dubbed “Africa’s most versatile musician”. Acclaimed Irish poet Desmond Egan has had 14 collections published to date while Rita Dove, American poet laureate and recipient of 15 honorary doctorates and a Pulitzer Prize, is professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

The South African contingent includes award-wining Kelwyn Sole; praise poet Zolani Mkiva; Gus Ferguson who has published over 100 collections of verse since 1990; Otis Finck who works for the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights, and Lisa Combrinck who is based in the Communication Unit of the President’s Office in Pretoria.

Durban is represented by writer and academic Pitika Ntuli who is director of the Sankofa Centre for African Renaissance and well-loved Durban-based musician, poet, reggae DJ and Rastafarian Eric (Coolfire) Hadebe.

Tickets are available from the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre each evening from May 8 to 13. More details about the festival as well as the schools programme and workshops from (031) 260-2506. The poets will also be involved in interactive performances (see separate article).




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