Poet and academic Lesego Rampolokeng once quipped that, “if you don’t understand it, then it must be poetry”, to make a point about the different essences of the literary medium. The 22nd annual Poetry Africa festival curated by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts in Durban will have a special focus on praise poetry, the indigenous depth of which may not be as readily accessible as its intent. Naturally spontaneous, praise poetry tends to find the rhythm of its emotion, thought and words in the moment. As one of the surviving oral traditions evolving to find its place in a contemporary milieu, it will be tackled and deconstructed in a week-long workshop led by Zulu history custodian and praise poet for King Goodwill Zwelithini, BM Mdletshe.

Among the extraordinary range of poets to be featured at Poetry Africa 2018, are Malawian storyteller Upile Chisala and SA writer Mak Manaka, who have taken on  traditions and rituals to exorcise personal and societal...

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