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Poetry Africa 2020!

Today marks the first day of the 2020 Poetry Africa Festival, a highlight on the Durban cultural calendar, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of Kwazulu-Natal). The 24th edition of the festival will take place over the next six days until 17th October 2020. A selection of South African and international poets will gather together for the feature-packed programme that includes performances, engagements with the poets, book launches, open mic sessions, and the ever-popular slam jam.

The festival – online for the first time this year due to Covid-19 – promises to fill our homes with the sound of poets performing live, highlighting the beauty and power of the spoken word.


Poetry Africa offers a range of local and international poets and performances. From beyond our borders it welcomes acclaimed novelist and poet, Chris Abani, Nikki Giovanni from America, Nigerian, Tolu Agbelusi and South African, Eugene Skeef, both based in the UK, Catalonian poet, Maria Sevilla, and award-winning poet, Safia Elhillo, from Sudan, amongst others.

Closer to home, some of the headlining South African poets include award-winning playwright, poet and theatre director, Koleka Putuma, the 2019 Poetry Africa Slam Jam winner, Tory Saint, Nongoma-based Menzi Sibiya, the internationally-renowned poet, writer and singer, Natalia Molebatsi. Other South African poets in the line-up are Moses Seletisha, Maneo Mohale, Diana Ferrus, Masai Sepuru, Sarah Godsell, Sindiswa Zulu, Thando Fuze and Sibongile Fisher.

Partners and collaborators

Curated by Siphindile Hlongwa, the festival has many partners and collaborators such as South African History Online, IFAS, Drama For Life, Concerts SA, Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, iSupport Creative Business, Hear My Voice and the World Poetry Slam Centre.

Poetry Africa’s Open Mic, Slam Jam and Schools Competitions are open to all poets residing in South Africa and aim to encourage creative expression in young people while functioning as a springboard for the future poets of South Africa. With the festival’s long-standing commitment to nurturing a culture of performing poetry, this competition has broad appeal that continues to grow with each edition of the festival. 

Stay tuned

To stay updated, please follow @PoetryAfrica on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook. See the full festival programme here.