6 Seychellois poets to participate in South Africa poetry festival
Last year, Bling Bling poetry organised a poetry festival to coincide with World Poetry Day. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Six Seychellois are for the first time participating in a regional poetry festival to be held in South Africa next week. Their participation is possible through an exchange programme which the National Arts Council of the island nation has with their South African counterpart.
“Last year a group of poets from South Africa came to Seychelles during the Creole festival. We had some workshops to see how together we can develop poetry further,” Carole Belle, chairperson of LARDWAZ - the association which regroups poets, told SNA on Monday.
It was in November last year that a delegation from the South African National Arts Council came to Seychelles on a working mission. Following this visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Seychelles National Arts Council.
Belle said that the group who will attend the festival are some of the most active poets in the island nation. “The festival will run from September 24 to September 29. During that time we will have exchanges through workshops with South African poets as well as with others from neighbouring countries,” said Belle.
The Seychelles National Arts Council and its South African counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding in the arts last year. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
The Ndzavuko International performance Poetry Festival is organised by Johannesburg based Moses Molelekwa Art Centre. As part of the festival, the Art Centre has also planned activities with schools as the Seychellois delegation will have to make presentations to school children.
Belle said that the programme with the schools is important. “This is crucial as working with schools and assisting them to have poetry clubs is one of our priorities.”
A group of six poets including the chairperson will travel to Johannesburg for the festival.
Reuben Lespoir -- a teacher and poet who will go to South Africa with the group -- said the art of poetry is not getting the important attention it deserves and that the younger generation needs more exposure.
“It is a great opportunity to expose children to our style and rhythm,” added Lespoir. When asked what are his expectations from the experience, Lespoir said “I want to bring the essence of our culture to South Africa. That is our poetry which tells our past, present and future.”
Belle, the chairperson of LARDWAZ, said, “We hope to learn from them. How do they deal with poetry? How do they recite same and see how they differ from us as well. And we also want to know how we can learn from the South Africans who are so much more advanced in the arts.”
Belle, who was elected as head of the association this year, said the exchange is a big achievement for LARDWAZ. “This is the first time we participate at an event at this level which will allow us to measure Seychellois poets to others from the region.”
Poetry as compared with other forms of art is still not that popular in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, but Belle said such exposure will boost Seychellois poets’ efforts to make poems more popular.
There have been significant efforts to build interest in poetry locally. Since March last year another local association Bling Bling poetry has been organising a poetry festival to coincide with World Poetry Day.