Words lift off the page to animate the body, as Poetica and #cocreateSA again team up to present a phenomenal programme of readings, performances, discussions and workshops using rap, poetry and the spoken word,at #cocreatePOETICA. The event, now in its third year, runs as part of Open Book Festival, brought to you by the Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre. This year it will run from 5 to 9 September, in Cape Town.
“This year’s #cocreatePOETICA celebrates three years of partnership between the Dutch Consulate General and the Open Book Festival Poetica programme. Through our national campaign, #cocreateSA, we have established a successful collaboration. Even though our countries differ, there are many parallels in the public and cultural debates on identity, integration and transformation. By cocreating cultural interventions, we have and continue to build mutual understanding and trust between the Netherlands and South Africa,” says Bonnie Horbach, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Previous years have seen Dutch and South African artists collaborate to create performance pieces on issues pertaining to history, language and culture. Last year #cocreatePOETICA took this further with a three day series of interactions exploring place, language and identity, culminating in an event where results were shared with the public.
The #cocreatePOETICA line up once again includes a world-class selection of established and emerging artists, and partnerships with groups that are fundamental to the Cape Town poetry scene. #cocreatePOETICA is delighted to work with InZync, Lingua Franca, Grounding Sessions, and Rioters Session in 2018.
Artists not to be missed include Babs Gons, a Dutch writer, performer, theatre director and teacher of creative writing. She is part of spoken word collective De Vurige Harten Club (The Fiery Hearts Club) and Club Spoken, an agency of professional performance artists. Gons is also a juror of the J.M.A. Biesheuvel Prize for short stories and hosts various programs, including the musical-literary show Babs’s Word Salon. For many years she was the artistic director of Poetry Circle Nowhere, and before that she organised a monthly platform for young poets and writers in Paradiso, Amsterdam. She joins #cocreatePOETICA thanks to support from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Swedish poet and playwright Athena Farrokhzad’s debut collection of poetry Vitsvit (White Blight) has been translated into 12 languages and staged several times as a play. It explores the topics of language, body and family within a context of revolution, war, migration and racism. Her second book, Trado, published in 2016, is a collaboration with the Romanian poet Svetalana Cârstean. Farrokhzad joins #cocreatePOETICA thanks the Embassy of Sweden’s support.
Dean Bowen and Sjaan Flikweert at #coecreatePOETICA 2017. Pic supplied.
Ivan Words is a Dutch spoken word artist, musician and songwriter. His work explores what expression as a necessity means. Words is the co-founder of spoken word platform Spoken World and has on several occasions been a house poet for FUNX and a speaker for TEDx. In 2016, he won the House of Poets Poetry Slam in Rotterdam. He also facilitates workshops, is a presenter, and performs in theatre productions.
Canadian poet and anthropologist Roseline Lambert published Clinique, her first collection of poetry, in 2016. The sequel The Uniform was published in the magazine Exit, earning her the Félix-Antoine-Savard Prize for Poetry 2017. Her work has been published in reviews such as Estuaire, Art le Sabord and la Revue de la Compagnie à Numéro. Her approach to writing is built through the integration of ethnographic and theoretical texts in her poems.
Peruvian Jorge Vargas Prado is a poet, narrator, editor and cultural manager. He has published storybooks, poetry anthologies and a novel, and works as a translator. Vargas Prado has been part of the editorial team at Dragostea Publishing House and participated in the musical projects Chintatá and Ishishcha. The most important part of his work is related to Peru’s originary languages, endangered due to Peruvian colonial racism.
Gabeba Baderoon is the recipient of the Daimler Award for South African Poetry and is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund.She co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University and her collections of poetry include The Dream in the Next Body, The Museum of Ordinary Life and A Hundred Silences. Her new collection, The History of Intimacy, is due later this year.
Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese won the 2018 Ingrid Jonker prize for poetry for her debut collection Loud and Yellow Laughter. Books Live called the collection ‘an uncommon balance between emotional tenderness, creative flexibility and analytical and structural integrity’. The collection was also shortlisted for the 2016 University of Johannesburg Prize in the Debut category. Busuku-Mathese has published poems in local and international poetry journals such as New Coin, New Contrast, Prufrock, OnsKlyntji, Aerodrome, Sol Plaatje European Union Anthology and Dryad Press: Unearthed Anthology.
Award-winning writer and performer Phillippa Yaa de Villiers’ poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Everyday Wife won the Poetry Award at the 2011 South African Literary Awards and she was chosen as Commonwealth poet in 2014, reading her poem Courage, written for the occasion, at Westminster Abbey. Original Skin, her autobiographical one-woman show, has toured to great acclaim in South Africa and abroad. Her latest collection, Ice Cream Headache in my Bone was published in 2017.
Roché Kester’s poetry has been published in the UWC Creates anthology titled This is My Land and her prose has been featured in Powa’s Women’s Writing anthology titled Sisterhood. She currently coordinates the weekly poetry event, Grounding Sessions, and was co-curator of #cocreatePOETICA at Open Book Festival 2016.
Puleng Lange-Stewart is a writer, theatre and film maker. Her primary focus is in interdisciplinary performance and multimedia integration. She was one of three shortlisted writers in the national PEN student writing competition in 2016 and her writing has appeared in the 2017 African Literature curriculum at UCT. Her first independent short film Until the Silence Comes was selected for the Cape Town International Film Festival 2017 and was nominated for an audience award at the Shnit International Short Film Festival 2017.
Mbongeni Nomkonwana’s list of talents includes actor, playwright, theatre director, poet and standup comedian. He won the Cape Town DFL LOVER+ ANOTHER poetry slam 2012, and went on to compete in the national finals. Nomkonwana has since performed at OFF THE WALL poetry sessions, at InZync Poetry, 2012 HEAIDS Conference at UCT, Jam That Session, Brand House Marketing Campaign, and Last Poet’s: Rhythm Poetry1. He is co-founder and resident poet at Lingua Franca, and in 2013 he teamed up with Lwanda Sindaphi to coordinate the poetry for the annual Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival.
Poet and Executive Director of InZync Poetry Pieter Odendaal also works with SLiP (the Stellenbosch Literary Project). His PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane centres on performance poetry as a way to promote tolerance in socio-ecological systems. Some of his poems appeared in the collection Nuwe Stemme 5 and his debut collection is out this year.
Recently named as one of Forbes Africa’s ’30 under 30’ Koleka Putuma is an internationally acclaimed poet, theatre maker and spoken word artist who has toured extensively abroad and in South Africa. Her debut collection Collective Amnesia is in its seventh print run, and is a fearless, unwavering exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history. Putuma’s numerous accolades include the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize.
In her debut collection Milk Fever, Megan Ross writes about unexpected motherhood and all its emotional detritus, the angst, joy and self-reckoning that comes with the choices and misadventures of young womanhood. Ross is the 2017 winner of the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction and an Iceland Writers Retreat alumnus. She was a runner-up for the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize and the 2017 National Arts Festival Short Sharp Stories Award.
Lwanda Sindaphi has an extensive career as an actor, playwright, theatre director and poet. He won the 2011 DFL + LOVER Another Poetry Slam and went to compete in the National finals. He was included in Badalisha Poetry’s Top 10 poets in Africa and is the co-founder of Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement. His play Kudu recently enjoyed a successful run at the Baxter Theatre Centre and he won best Director at the 2013 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival for his play Death the Redeemer. Other theatre highlights include touring internationally with The Handspring Puppet Company on Warhorse.
Toni Stuart is a poet, performer and spoken word educator, working between London and Cape Town, across various inter-disciplinary collaborations with a range of artists. She has performed here and in Europe and her work has been published in anthologies, journals and non-fiction books in South Africa and internationally. Stuart was the founding curator of Poetica at Open Book Festival.
Writer and performer Adrian van Wyk became the youngest poet to win the Verses Poetry Slam at the age of 17. He is host and organiser of the InZync Poetry Sessions, events organiser for the Stellenbosch Literary Project, as well as a monthly facilitator for the InZync Poetry workshops which are focused on helping school children between the ages of 16 and 18 to become poets and tell their story.
The eighth Open Book Festival will take place from 5 to 9 September at the Fugard Theatre, D6 Homecoming Centre, The A4 Arts Foundation and The Book Lounge from 10:00 to 21:00 each day. For further information and the full programme, which will be available in early August, visit www.openbookfestival.co.za.
Open Book Festival is organised in partnership with the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum, The A4 Arts Foundation, The Townhouse Hotel, Novus Holdings, The French Institute, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Embassy of Sweden, The Embassy of Argentina, The Dutch Foundation for Literature, UCT Creative Writing Department, University of Stellenbosch English Department, and Central Library, and is sponsored by Leopards Leap, Open Society Foundation, Pan Macmillan, NB Publishers, Jonathan Ball, and Penguin Random House.
An award and anthology on the topics of gender, human rights and sexuality, for writers and photographers across Africa.
Gerald Kraak (1956–2014) was a passionate champion of social justice, an anti-apartheid activist and the head of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Reconciliation and Human Rights Programme in South Africa. He authored the European Union Literary Award-winning Ice in the Lungs (Jacana, 2005), which explores South African politics, and directed a documentary on gay conscripts in the apartheid army. He is remembered for being kind and generous, delightfully irreverent and deeply committed to realising an equal and just society for all.
Created in honour of his extraordinary legacy, this new annual award is made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation, and will advance Gerald’s contribution to building a society that is safe and welcoming to all. The unique and vital anthology will feature English language writing and photography from and about Africa. Exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights will be longlisted and published in a Granta-like anthology. The overall winner is awarded a cash prize.
Rather than general discussions of these subjects, the judging panel will select pieces which engage with gender and sexuality in ways that promote new insights into human rights matters on our continent.
Only the very best work submitted will be shortlisted and published in an anthology, with the winners to be announced at a 2018 award ceremony, hosted by The Other Foundation and attended by the authors of the top three submissions. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of R25 000.
Our aim is to ensure that the anthology and information about the award will be disseminated as widely as possible throughout the African continent. To this end, Africa World Press (Ethiopia), Amalion (Senegal), FEMRITE (Uganda), Kwani (Kenya), Weaver Press (Zimbabwe) and Wordweaver (Namibia) will be associated with the project.
About The Other Foundation: The Other Foundation is an African Trust that gathers support for those who are working to protect and advance the rights, wellbeing and social inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities –and gives support in a smart way that helps groups to work better for lasting change. To learn more, please visit www.theotherfoundation.org
About The Jacana Literary Foundation: The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote and foster writing excellence from Africa through a number of initiatives. By securing funding for key projects, the JLF aims to publish literature that might not otherwise see publication for purely commercial reasons. This allows the JLF’s publishing partner, Jacana Media, to produce literature which supports the concept of bibliodiversity. We believe that it is through the reading and writing of local creative works that the truths of our lives are best told.
· journalism / magazine reporting
· scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
· social media / blog writings and contributions (Which deal with the topics of gender, sexuality and/or human rights.)
Submissions must be in English and from Africa.
The winner is awarded R 25,000 and publication by Jacana Media and its publishing partners.
The project is funded by The Other Foundation, and administered by the Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF).
Submissions will be open from 24 May 2018 to 25 June 2018.
The subject matter of the work must relate to gender, human rights and/or sexuality in Africa.
Works which fall within one of the following categories are accepted:
• photography / photographic essays
• journalism / magazine reporting
• scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
• social media / blog writings and contributions
Entries must have been created by a citizen of an African country. Written submissions must be in English.
Up to three entries are permitted per author, across categories. Each entry must be submitted on a separate electronic entry form.
Please number your pages, use a font size of 12, Times New Roman and 1.5 spacing (avoid unnecessary formatting, such as borders).
Materials must not exceed 15 000 words or 8 images.
Images must be 300 dpi high resolution.
Images will be published in an image section on matte art paper and not in the body of the text.
We are looking for work which tells a story or illustrates an idea. If one photograph achieves this, then we welcome the submission of that single image. It is, however, more likely to be accomplished through a collection of photographs or a photographic essay.
We accept unpublished as well as previously published works.
No handwritten or hard copy entries can be considered. Submissions must be made via the online portal.
Entrants’ name should not be included on the manuscript being submitted, as the award is judged blind and the author remains anonymous until the shortlist has been selected.
There is an opportunity to use a pseudonym should one be required.
Intertextuality and references must be appropriately attributed and permissions from copyright holders obtained. This includes poems; song lyrics; quotes and excerpts from books, newspapers, magazines, journals; and reproductions of artwork, photographs or other forms.
Submissions are considered to implicitly indicate the entrant’s permission for their work to be published in the anthology, if shortlisted, for no payment or royalty.
When planning the 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize, ID, the abbreviation for “identity” and the psychoanalytic construct of the “Id” – that deep structure that houses our unconscious desires – we called for “innovative short fiction that explores identity, especially (but not limited to) the themes of gender identity and sexuality.”
We were impressed as never before by the multiple ways in which writers from all over the continent responded, the depth, variety and innovation of their interpretations. From Benin to Ethiopia, from Morocco to South Africa, the stories on the long list reveal uncomfortable and fascinating truths about who we are.
Once editing was completed, the twenty-one stories were sent to the judges. The decision to edit the stories and to engage with the authors before judging has proven to be invaluable in enabling young writers and raw talent to compete on an equal footing with their more established and experienced peers. The final stories and indeed the shortlisted stories are more evenly balanced between those already making their mark in terms of publication and awards, and extremely talented writers who are new to the adventure of publishing or only just venturing into the terrain of short fiction.
This year, for the first time, we opted for a broad spread of volunteer judges, ably assisted by The Johannesburg Review of Books, rendering the evaluation process flatter, more consultative and democratic. The combination of the new scoring system and the extremely high standard of the stories meant that for the first time, we’ve produced a short list of nine stories, instead of the usual six.
The shortlist is as follows (in alphabetical order):
1. The Piano Player by Agazit Abate (Ethiopia)
2. Ibinabo by Michael Agugom (Nigeria)
3. The Geography of Sunflowers by Michelle Angwenyi (Kenya)
4. Limbo by Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Nigeria)
5. Sew My Mouth by Cherrie Kandie (Kenya)
6. South of Samora by Farai Mudzingwa (Zimbabwe)
7. All Our Lives by Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor (Nigeria)
8. The House on the Corner by Lester Walbrugh (South Africa)
9. God Skin by Michael Yee (South Africa)
Seen here are a variety of explorations of queer sexuality – an extremely important and necessary creative intervention, given the grim march of homophobia, including in legislative forms, across the African continent. Michael Agugom charts the challenges of negotiating biracial and sexually complex identities in a small and watchful Nigerian island community in “Ibinabo”; and Cherrie Kandie provides a powerful and painful account of the silencing (literally) of lesbian love in urban Nairobi in “Sew My Mouth”. In “The House on the Corner”, Lester Walbrugh provides a moving interpretation of the perhaps ubiquitous “gay life in Cape Town” narrative; Innocent Chizaram Ilo provides a delightfully unusual and fantastical account of heartbreak as experienced by a lesbian scarecrow in “Limbo”.
Michelle Angwenyi’s lyrical and hallucinatory “The Geography of Sunflowers” presents heteronormative love and loss as experiences that both heighten and blur identity.
Identity is also formed through friendships and family bonds, and in Farai Mudzingwa’s delicate and moving “South of Samora”, a young man whose social standing is dependent on where he lives, forms a friendship with an ailing child that forces him to define himself; while Tochukwu Emmanuel Okafor’s “All Our Lives” is a wry, clear-eyed, humorous and characteristically compassionate account of the identity (multiple identities, in fact) of a much-maligned community – young and disaffected men who drift into Nigerian cities in pursuit of a “better life”.
“The Piano Player” by Agazit Abate is a brilliant inversion of the “African abroad” narrative as it presents snapshots of life in Addis Abada through the eyes and ears of a pianist in a luxury hotel bar, and “God Skin” by Michael Yee weaves together alienation, forbidden love and intimate violence against a subtle backdrop of the scars of Liberia’s civil war.
Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors.
The winners will be announced on 21 June 2018, the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. The grand prize winner is set to win $800. A full list of project sponsors is available on our sponsors page.
The resulting anthology from the longlisted prize entries, ID: New Short Fiction From Africa, is edited by Nebila Abdulmelik, Otieno Owino and Helen Moffett as part of the SSDA/Worldreader Editing Mentorship. ID is due for release on 21 June 2018, the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere, in partnership with New Internationalist.
All of SSDA’s previous anthologies have received critical acclaim, with two stories from Feast, Famine & Potluck shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing – with one, “My Father’s Head” by Okwiri Oduor, going on to win the prize. Terra Incognita and Water likewise received wide critical praise, including reviews from the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Sunday Times and the Financial Mail. Stacy Hardy’s story “Involution”, published in Migrations is shortlisted for the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Toby Newsome, a renowned Cape Town based artist has won the internationally coveted Children’s Africana Book Award (CABA) for his illustrations in the children’s book, Grandma’s List. The book was written by Ghanaian author, Portia Dery, who who jointly won the CABA with Toby Newsome.
Toby Newsome, the acclaimed illustrator of Grandma’s List.
The Children’s Africana Book Award is an annual prize presented to authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S.A. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) and its sponsors includes the African Studies departments of universities Harvard, Howard and Yale among others. Past winning illustrators of CABA include South Africa’s Niki Daly.
One of Newsome’s stunning illustrations.
Grandma’s List is a brilliant and colorful story about an 8-year old girl, Fatima, who wants to save the day by helping her grandmother complete her list of errands. The problem is, Fatima loses the list and she has to recall from memory what was written on it. The rest of story then takes the reader on a funny and heartwarming adventure with Fatima and her family.
Grandma’s List, published by African Bureau Stories, won the 2018 CABA Young Children’s category along with two other books from international publishers, Candlewick Press and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. This is the second international children’s book award that Grandma’s List has won. It previously won the prestigious Golden Baobab Prize for The Best Picture Book manuscript in Africa in 2014.
The new children’s publishing house, African Bureau Stories, has made an impressive move in publishing a truly Pan-African book like Grandma’s List, which is a powerful literary partnership between Ghana and South Africa. The publishing house’s aim is to produce world class and contemporary African stories for children. In addition to Grandma’s List, African Bureau Stories has produced three other children’s books which according to the publisher, Deborah Ahenkorah, are “super cool books that will delight children all over the world.”
Anastasia Shown, a CABA Reviewer from the University of Pennsylvania says:
“Grandma’s List is an excellent read aloud book for school or storytime. The illustrations show a neighborhood in Ghana that is very typical of many African towns with shops, gardens, small livestock, and many people outside working and playing…One of the best features of the book is the characters of many ages. There are kids playing, vendors selling, teens on their phones, grownups working, and elders relaxing. They wear African prints and western styled clothes…The book can generate lots of great open ended questions.”
With illustrations like these it’s no wonder Newsome was the recipient of this coveted award!
Accounts of Black Consciousness have tended to place the discourse in a continuum of resistance to white minority rule and to assess its significance in bringing about the downfall of apartheid.
While these are valid historical narratives, they have occluded some of the wider resonances and significance of both the movement and the body of ideas.
This book takes its cue from Steve Biko’s own injunction to see the evolution of Black Consciousness alongside other political doctrines and movements of resistance in South Africa. It identifies progressive thought and movements, such as radical Christianity and ecumenism, student radicalism, feminism and trade unionism, as valuable interlocutors that nonetheless also competed for the mantle of liberation, espousing different visions of freedom.
These progressive movements were open to what Ian Macqueen characterises as the ‘shockwaves’ that Black Consciousness created. It is only with such a focus that we can fully appreciate the significance of Black Consciousness, both as a movement and as an ideology emanating from South Africa in the late 1960s and 1970s. Black Consciousness and Progressive Movements under Apartheid thus presents an intellectual history of Black Consciousness in South Africa in the comparative perspective that Biko originally called for.
Ian M. Macqueen is a lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. He is also a research associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand.