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AN EVENING OF POETRY (article first published : 2000-08-9)

An Evening of Poetry, which showcases the works of four women and includes styles ranging from performance art to praise poetry forms part of The South African Women’s Arts Festival presented by the Playhouse Company and Transnet.

Gauteng-based poet Catherine M. Kaseketi presents her poetic drama I am not yet dead, let me take my part which celebrates the strength of the human spirit, despite all obstacles. Catherine says: "Disability has always been associated with pity, sympathy... Though I am not dead yet people with different disabilities stand out and try to question society on “who is disabled".” A Zambian national, Catherine holds a diploma in film-making studies from the Newtown Film and Television School. She has been writing poems since 1980. At the moment, she is working with a group of youth from Mpumalanga, where she is determined to unearth young talent.

This year, journalist and arts manager Gitanjali Pather puts on a different hat from the role she has played in the women’s arts festival in the past. The festival’s founder, she is currently the Playhouse Company’s director of operations and has also presented papers for the festival conference in the past. She describes her compilation of poetry and prose as " a creative seeking of answers and intellectual meandering of a caramel coloured, chinky-eyed, ... post-feminist, post-post modernist would-be artiste/poet/woman person." Her one-woman presentation is delivered in the "traditions" of performance art.

Giselle Turner’s poems, which are short, stark and simple, form the backbone of her presentation entitled My Crazy Heart. Better known for her work in education and educational theatre, Giselle has been writing poetry for the past six years. She describes her highly personal presentation as a "self-portrait of a heart in progress ... The poetry is not angst ridden, it is often wry and funny, but it reveals my emotional immaturity and the complex power games I’ve played to get my own way. Needless to say, part of the pain is that regardless of my desire, fate has dished up exactly what I deserve." My Crazy Heart is directed by long-time friend and colleague Wendy Nell who has worked with Turner on more than 22 productions over the past 12 years.

Praise poet Portia Gumede will present her work Matters of Being a Woman in both isiZulu and English. With a national diploma in drama from Technikon Natal, her previous performance credits include Silent Screams for PERPOR productions in Johannesburg; the delightful Moonbag Lady in S.O.S.S. at KwaSuka Theatre; Double Trouble for Millipede Productions and Mazisi Kunene’s Poem Session for SABC.

The poetry programme takes place in the Grand Foyer on August 11 at 20h00. It will also include a 15-minute impromptu open mike session in which audience members who wish to present their own writings will have a chance to participate. Entrance is free.




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