Friday 9 July 2021, 8 pm – 9.30 pm
Free Streaming Platforms:
Facebook Pages: African Women Writers Network, Joburg Theatre, Current State of Poetry
Websites: afroarts.co.za, joburglive.tv
Recorded @Lesedi – Joburg Theatre
Long Night of the Poets is an exciting international poetry and music event streaming on Friday 9 July 2021. The virtual event will feature 30 artists from all parts of South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Algeria, and reaching to Palestine, India, and the USA. The programme is part of the extended Africa Month colloquia with a focus on the youth, featuring several renowned and emerging voices including the likes of Makhafula Vilakazi from Soweto, Diana Ferrus, Michael Weeder – the Dean of St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, Vangile Gantsho, Sibulelo Manamatela, Siya Shezi from Kwazulu Natal, Tade Ipadeola from Nigeria, Rafeef Ziadah from Palestine, Mutabaruka from Jamaica, Meena Kandasamy from India to Tony Award-winning poet and actor Beau Sia from the USA.
Long Night of the Poets will also feature collaborations with musicians, including Kamva – the string quartet, Pops Mohammed on the kora with friends, Siya Mthembu from The Brother Moves On, soulful singer Hope Masike from Zimbabwe on the mbira, Kanyi Mavi, and Eavesdrop – young women making their mark on the Cape Flats local hip hop scene. Afrikaans poet Piet Odendaal will also feature among the many other poets and musicians.
Below we present a brief synopsis of all the poets and musicians performing at the Long Night of the Poets streaming on Friday 9 July, from 8 pm to 9.30 pm. There is no charge for this event.
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Poets and Musicians Performing for the Long Night of the Poets Virtual Celebration
on Friday 9 July 2021, 8pm – 9.30pm
Meena Kandasamy (India)
Meena Kandasamy (b. 1984) is an anti-caste activist, poet, novelist and translator. She has always been interested in deconstructing violence, understanding the trauma caused by caste, gender, and ethnic oppressions, and spotlighting the militant resistance against these powerful systems. She explores these topics in her poetry and prose, most notably in her books of poems such as Touch (2006) and Ms. Militancy (2010), as well as her three novels, The Gypsy Goddess (2014), When I Hit You (2017), and Exquisite Cadavers (2019). Activism is at the heart of her literary work; she has translated several political texts from Tamil to English, and previously held an editorial role atThe Dalit, an alternative magazine documenting caste-related brutality and the anti-caste resistance in India. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Hindu Lit Prize. She holds a PhD in sociolinguistics, and was recently Gallatin Global Faculty in Residence at New York University (NYU) where she co-taught a course on feminist writers from the neo-colonial world. Her op-eds and essays have appeared in The White Review, Guernica, The Guardian and The New York Times.
Sibulelo Manamatela (SA)
Sibulelo Manamatela is a multidisciplinary artist who specialises in strategising, writing and executing digital content; and a poet. She has worked with various brands including LEGO®️, Woolworths, The Foschini Group, Lindt SA and many others. Her poetry has appeared in 20.35 Africa Vol II, Sol Plaatjie European Union Poetry Anthology Vol VIII, Type/Cast Issue 5, Poetry Potion 013 & many more.
Makhafula Vilakazi (SA)
Going by stage name of “Makhafula Vilakazi” (the title of one of his poems), Matodzi Gift Ramashia grew up in Chiawelo, Soweto. He is also a practicing attorney of law. His poetry is a fusion of Tsotsitaal, English, Zulu and Sotho interspersed into an uncompromising depiction of township life, exploring issues which affect his community such as, unemployment and crime. He has published some of his poems in an anthology “Sections of Six” which was published by Botsotso Publishers. In 2013 Makhafula Vilakazi released his first album titled “I Am Not Going Back To the township”. The album features Samthing Soweto, Impande Core and Poet radio presenter Khanyi Magubane. In 2018 he performed Concerning Blacks at Joburg Theatre to a sell-out venue. In 2019 he performed in the show Mandela Is Dead. In 2020 he gave a sold out State Theatre performance for the preview of his sophomore album, Concerning Blacks.
Mutabaruka is the worlds leading Jamaican Rastafari dub poet, musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host, who developed two of Jamaica’s most popular radio programmes, The Cutting Edge and Steppin’ Razor. His name comes from the Rwandan language and translates as “one who is always victorious”. His themes include politics, culture, Black liberation, social oppression, discrimination, poverty, racism, sexism, and religion.
Beau Sia (USA)
Beau Sia is a Tony Award winning poet and world-renowned performer, featured on all 6 seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and the winner of two National Poetry Slam championships. He is the author of the poetry books Well Played (2020), The Undisputed Greatest Writer of All Time (2010), and A Night Without Armor II: The Revenge (1998), a satiric response to Jewel’s poetry collection A Night Without Armor (1999). As an educator, he has been mentoring youth for organizations such as Youthspeaks, Urban Word, and GetLit. Beau Sia is also a musician and film actor and starred in 2008 with Anne Hathaway in ‘Rachel Getting Married’.
Sharif Zakout (Palestine)
Sharif Zakout is a Palestinian American artist. His family comes from the al-Majdal region in Palestine. He works as an organizer for the Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) in San Francisco, CA and on the side creates art and music that uplifts international solidarity with Palestine, linking different struggles, and highlighting our collective resistance.
Rafeef Ziadah (Palestine)
Rafeef is a Palestinian spoken word artist and human rights activist based in London, UK. Her live readings offer a moving blend of poetry and music. Since releasing her first album, Rafeef has headlined prestigious performance venues across several countries with powerful readings on war, exile, gender and racism.
Ali Mawassi (Palestine)
Ali Mawassi is a Palestinian poet, writer, editor, proofreader, journalist, researcher, teacher, instructor and photographer. Ali is Chief Editor at Fusha – Palestinian Culture Magazine since 2015.
Samira Negrouche (Algeria)
Samira Negrouche is the author of six poetry collections, including Quai 2I1, partition à trois axes, (Éditions Mazette, 2019), Six arbres de fortune autour de ma baignoire (Éditions Mazette, 2017), Le Jazz des oliviers (Éditions du Tell, 2010), and A l’ombre de Grenade (A.P. l’étoile, 2003). Her poetry has been translated in over twenty languages, and she is the founder of Quai 2I1, alongside the violinist Marianne Piketty and the theorist Bruno Helstroffer. She is a translator from Arabic and English to French. Samira is also a qualified medical doctor but prefers pursuing her literary work.
Tade Ipadeola (Nigeria)
Tade Ipadeola is a poet and lawyer, and author of three published volumes of poetry – A Time of Signs (2000), The Rain Fardel (2005) and The Sahara Testaments (2013). He also has other notable works such as translations of W.H Auden into Yoruba and Daniel Fagunwa into English. He has published many short stories and essays. In 2009, he won the Delphic Laurel in poetry with his poem ‘Songbird’, in Jeju, South Korea. His third volume of poetry, The Sahara Testaments – a sequence of 1000 quatrains on the Sahara – is his latest work which won the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2013. In 2014, Tade Ipadeola endowed the Kofi Awoonor Memorial Library with a portion of his Nigeria Prize winnings. The Library is dedicated to African and World Literature, especially poetry. His works explore geographies, history, prehistory, flora, fauna, language and identities.
Ajoke Bodunde (Nigeria)
Ajoke Bodunde is a young Nigerian feminist, aspiring barrister and poet. Her work focuses on the experiences of women, their complex and multi-generational relationships with one another and the patriarchy. In addition to being published in Ake Review and The Kalahari Review, she was shortlisted for the Merky New Writer’s Prize in 2019.
Diana Ferrus (SA)
Diana Ferrus is a writer, poet and storyteller. Ferrus is best known for her poem about Sarah Bartmann a South African woman taken to Europe under false pretenses and paraded as a curiosity and suffered great abuse and exploitation. She wrote the poem in 1998 while studying at Utrecht University. The popularity of this poem is widely believed to be responsible for the return of Bartmann’s remains to South Africa.
Pieter Odendaal (SA)
Pieter Odendaal is a poet, translator and editor. His debut collection, asof geen berge ooit hier gewoon het nie (“like no mountains ever lived here” – Tafelberg Publishers), was awarded the 2019 Ingrid Jonker Prize. His poems have appeared in various local and international journals. He was the director of InZync Poetry from 2015-2019, a poetry organisation based in the English Studies Department at Stellenbosch University. Along with Annel Pieterse and Mbongeni Nomkonwana, he is the co-editor of the translation anthologies Many Tongues (2013) and ConVerse (2018). Odendaal holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. He recently moved to Makhanda and is currently a Mellon Writer-in-Residence in the Creative Writing department at UCKAR.
Busisiwe Mahlangu (SA)
Busisiwe Mahlangu is a poet, performer and a dreamer from Mamelodi, Pretoria. She is the author of “Surviving Loss”, a poetry collection which was later adapted for theatre at the South African State Theatre Incubator Program. Mahlangu was awarded the SA National Poetry Prize (2020) and won the Tshwane Speak Out Loud youth Poetry Competition (2016/2017). She has toured and shared her work internationally including USA, Sweden, Lesotho, Mozambique and Nigeria. Busisiwe currently runs her business, ‘Busi Creates’ where she makes jewellery and beadwork.
Vangile Gantsho (SA)
Vangile Gantsho is a poet, healer and co-founder of Impepho press. Unapologetically a black woman, she has travelled the continent and the globe participating in literary events and festivals. Gantsho is the author of two poetry collections: Undressing in front of the window (2015) and red cotton (2018). She holds an MA from Rhodes (2016) and was named as one of Mail& Guardian’s Top Young 200 South Africans of 2018. Her latest collection, red cotton, an exploration of what it means to be black, queer, and woman in modern-day South Africa, was named City Press Top Poetry Read of 2018, and long-listed for the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences 2020 Award.
Michael Weeder (SA)
Michael Weeder is the Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town and has been an Anglican priest since 1985. He is a social activist, community worker and has recently published two poetry collections, ‘Lockdown love and lament,’ and ‘The Promise of Memory.’ These reflect on the Covid-19 lockdown, the personal, public and political, and identity and home.
Hope Masike (Zimbabwe)
Hope Masike is a vocalist, mbira player, percussionist, songwriter, fashion designer, painter and dancer. Hope started performing professionally in 2008 while she was still studying music in Zimbabwe. In the same year she founded her band. She fused Zimbabwean traditional instruments (mbira, marimba, ngoma nehosho) with bass, drums, recorder and guitar. Hope is known as “The Princess of Mbira” and her music has its roots both in traditional and modern African culture. She is also the lead singer for transnational band Monoswezi.
Sabelo Soko (SA)
Sabelo Soko is a writer, performer and social entrepreneur from eMkhondo, Mpumalanga. With over 16 years multimedia experience, his catalog boasts projects in film form, advertising, studio records as well as stage productions. Soko is passionate about original stories and their preservation.
Hope Netshivhambe (SA)
Hope Netshivhambe is an international storyteller and Voiceover Artist born in Venda, Limpopo. She attended Vaal university of technology. She has shared her work in 8/9 South African provinces. Hope has been featured widely on radio and television. She is the Co-writer and performer of the short film #WeAreDyingHere, nominated for best short narrative at this year’s Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles(LA) the film is also the 2021 official selection for the 11th Charlotte Black film festival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Netshivhambe is an Alumni of the “Black Girl Live fellows” under the mentorship of Koleka Putuma. She believes strongly in the power of words and is convinced that the world as we know it revolves around words. Hope lives by her self coined mantra “do what you came for,” which speaks of purpose.
Pops Mohammed (SA)
Pops Mohamed is at the helm of the current world music movement. He experiments with global sounds and digital electronica to create a fusion of tradition and modern technology. Pops successfully combines a deep-rooted African sound with contemporary instruments and electronics. His accessible sound is blend of indigenous music with a dance base. Pops Mohamed Meets The London Sound Collective was released in August 2000 and is a collaboration with the underground drum ‘n bass outfit LSC. It is a fusion of East London urban sounds with indigenous instrumentals, which brings traditional music into the sphere of modern dance music. Pops was involved in recording the raw sounds of the San Bushmen on The Bushmen of the Kalahari CD, released in August 2000 as the result of his visit to the Kalahari in 1995. Some of the recordings provided the backbone of Pops’ acclaimed album How Far Have We Come? The albums Kalamazoo, 1992 and Sophiatown, 1993 were both nominated Best Jazz Album in South Africa’s OKTV Awards. Pops produced the late maestro Moses Molelekwa’s award winning album Finding Ones Self, in 1996. He has toured all over the world both as a producer of indigenous music and as a performer.
Bobo Jay Nzima (SA)
Bobo has quickly become one of the young influential unique voices in the industry. Nzima has acquired his status through vocal coaching, being a professional backing vocalist, and a solo performing artist. His music career began in the church. He recorded his first EP in 2017, which featured Just Hlo, Sne Hlengethwa, Mnqobi Nxumalo, and Unathi Mzekeli. Nzima released “The Journey I” in 2018 digitally. His latest EP titled “The Journey II” features artists such as Nick Soul, Slick Nate, & Siya Shezi, and is available on digital platforms. He has worked with various artists such as Brenda Mtambo, Ami Faku, Mahalia Buchanan, Jabu Hlongwane, Vashawn Mitchell, Donny McClurkin, Khaya Mthethwa, and GGC (Gospel Goes Classical). Bobo is currently working on releasing another EP that will be released soon, featuring Thando Makhaphela and Mbali Zethu.
Kanyi Mavi (SA)
Kanyi Mavi is a fire spitting emcee hailing from the township Gugulethu, Cape Town who raps in her native tongue, isiXhosa. The feisty rapper entered the scene in 2002 rapping in local open mic sets. In 2013, Kanyi Mavi was nominated for Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer and Best Female Awards (which she won) at the South African Hip Hop Awards. Kanyi, along with a number of South African and Swedish artists recorded, released and toured Sweden with a collaboration project called Kwaai- which won 2014 Manifesto Award for Best Rhythm. She also started a movement that supports and showcases the talent of African Women in Hip Hop called, NKAZANIA.
Eavesdrop is a social activist, hip hop emcee, playwright and performer from Parkwood, a Cape Flats township located in Cape Town, South Africa. She has been recording and performing her work, as a solo artist, since 2002. Her approach to her art has allowed her to enter into extended disciplines such as theatre performance, script writing/workshopping, and social activism. She uses Hip Hop to highlight the daily struggles of her community who face injustice, inequality, political and cultural apathy, amongst many other issues. Her inspiration comes from the trials and tribulations of the people amongst whom she lives and from her spiritual perspective on life in general. Rhyming is her process of awakening to take action for the freedom and upliftment of her soul’s purpose.
Siya Shezi (SA)
Siya Shezi is a recording artist/emcee from Soweto and an active member of the Deep Soweto Hip-Hop Family based in Soweto/South Africa. Siya began his rhyming back in the year 2000. He rose to his pinnacle in the year 2005 through the inception of the deep Soweto crew which ruled the streets of Soweto for a long time in hip hop seminars around Soweto. In 2007, Siya Shezi recorded the deep Soweto mix tape which saw him perform on many stages. His hip hop journey characterized by his original Kasi Rap style saw Siya Shezi winning the crown at Slughuis in 2010 for the king of street competition. Siya proclaimed his street credibility when he released his anticipated mix tape, called Siyaphanda Mixtape. In that project, Siya collaborated with some of SA’s talented artists: Zola, Samthing Soweto and many more.
Frank Meintjies (SA)
Based in Johannesburg, Frank Meintjies has worked in the field of social development. He has also been active as a commentator on culture in South Africa. Frank’s creative writing has been included in several South African anthologies. He also frequently contributes to the world of poetry through participation in readings. Frank’s poetry collections are Unfettered Days (2015), Connexions (2012) and My Rainbow (2009). He also has written several children’s stories and short stories.
Afeefa Omar (SA)
Afeefa is a poet, a student of life and adhering to the Islamic faith.She grew up in Cape Town and began writing poetry and short stories at a young age to make sense of the world around her. She often writes to navigate the physical and metaphysical borders between people. In 2016 she joined the C.Y.P.H.E.R youth hub under Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement and shared her work with people for the first time. Since then, she has featured on various poetry and literature platforms including Rioters in Session, the Open Book Festival, Poetry Potion Magazine, UCT’s Dreaming Feminist Futures Symposium (2018) and Woordfees (2020). Afeefa is passionate about using poetry to challenge the boundaries imposed on narrative and to reclaim the lost voice.
Siya Mthembu (SA)
Siya Mthembu is a singer, writer of song and poems and a member of The Brother Moves on group. The band now comprises of seven individuals from different parts of Johannesburg whose music pays homage to South African Jazz/Rock /Funk, in its love for the esoteric and eccentric in what it is to be rhythmically South African. The Brother Moves On has released three EP’s and one full debut album independently and have recently been signed to UK boutique labels Matsuli Records and Native Rebels Recordings for two new releases in 2022.
Pule Welch (SA)
Pule Welch is a phenomena within the cultural social landscape. Pule is a scholar of linguistics and a cultural historian of speech practices of Azania/Naremâb, indigenous Southern African language systems. His work is through verbal and performing arts as a speaker, writer, and stage and screen performer. His main scholarly research describes South African ‘Tsotsitaal’.
KAMVA is a versatile music collective committed to an energetic, organic style of music creation and performance. Since their formation, the collective’s passion for music has taken them around the country and the world; they were privileged to perform in Large concert halls such as (The Royal Concertgebouw) Amsterdam, (Berlin Philharmonia) Germany, (BOZAR) Belgium. The members of KAMVA are also part of South Africa’s Best Orchestras such as The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and MIAGI Orchestra; they also served as principals in their section for MIAGI Orchestra.
Victor Khulile Nxumalo (SA)
Khulile Nxumalo is a poet and film maker based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His debut collection of poems “ten flapping elbows, mama” was published by Deep South (2004). His poetry continues to be published in journals in South Africa, the UK, the USA and Canada. His second book “fhedzi” was published in 2013. His documentary films have mainly been seen on SABC channels. He directed and produced House of Credo Mutwa as part of a series to mark 30 Years after the 1976 Uprising on SABC 1 of the man, in conversation with the history of the world since 1900. Victor Nxumalo has been a commissioning editor for several years at the SABC.