Stirring week of ideas and poetry in KZN

SOUTH African literary giant, poet and novelist Mongane Wally Serote is attending the 13th Poetry Africa festival that takes place at venues in and around Durban.

There have been performances every evening at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal this week. The festival finale is on Saturday at the Bat Centre.

The event has been a stirring week of words, rhymes, performance and ideas with poetry from around South Africa, Africa and the world.

The festival is hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal's centre for creative arts.

Serote will present his works tomorrow at the Sneddon Theatre. He was involved in workshops and visits to schools during the week. He has described his participation in this year's event as an adventure.

"I have been away from the stage for so long and it is always nice to interact with colleagues and especially young poets," Serote said. "As a poet one is never isolated but influenced by the voices of others.

"We explore what others are saying and bring those thoughts to the surface.

"We are also greatly influenced by what others write."

He said creative platforms such as the festival challenge artists to "speak one's mind".

"We are now a democracy and, having achieved what we have, it is time for us to take off like an eagle and fly."

He said the festival was a great opportunity for the country and continent and that he was in "two minds as to whether to recite some of my old poems or visit new things I have worked on".

Jennifer Ferguson, one of South Africa's national treasures and a multi-award-winning performer, composer, poet, and classically trained pianist will also feature.

Apart from hosting workshops, some of the selected poets will also battle it out for the Durban SlamJam crown.