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This year’s annual Izimbongi Poetry Festival will take place on all four of the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Campuses in Auckland Park, Doornfontein and Soweto; from 25 to 29 September 2018.
The Izimbongi Poetry Festival, presented by UJ Arts & Culture (a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture), offers students and members of the public an opportunity to engage (some students will even share a stage) with world-renowned poets, and to interact with various on-campus poetry activations and interventions throughout the week, as well as serving as a final showcase for UJ’s poetry students.
The festival kicks off with Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile’s citation by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, followed by the UJ Arts Academy poetry students’ production ‘Behind these Eyes’, and professional poets Sabelo Soko, Vangile Gantsho, Siphokazi Jonas and Mandi Vundla rounding out what promises to be an invigorating opening programme. Admission is free for this first event, which takes place on Tuesday September 25 at 18:00 at the Arts Centre Theatre on the University’s Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park.
“The professional poets on the bill are a representation of the myriad of voices that have claimed poetry as their medium, much like the students. Each professional poet brings with them a wealth of experience and most importantly a respect for their craft that should serve as an example to any aspiring poet,” explains Festival Director Quaz Roodt.
Renowned spoken-word artists Eugene Skeef and Vangile Gantsho take to the stage on Wednesday 26 September, after poetry students Phumelelokuhle Ngidi and Keitumetse Tlhako have paved the way with opening performances. This programme is hosted at the Con Cowan Theatre on the Bunting Road Campus, and starts at 18:00. Tickets are R50, or R20 for students.
On Thursday 27 September, the Top 3 UJ poetry students set the tone for performances by poetry students Refiloe Khumalo and Sbusiso Dladla, followed by professional poets Sabelo Soko and Siphokazi Jonas. The programme begins at 18:00; at the Con Cowan Theatre, and tickets are R50, or R20 for students.
On Friday 28 September, professionals Mandi Vundla and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers graciously share the stage with poetry students Terrance Valaysha and Thama Khumunalo. The UJ Arts & Culture poetry students’ production, ‘The Blues’ will start the evening’s performances, followed by readings by the Top 5 poets from the Word N Sound Poetry League. Word N Sound, one of Africa’s biggest digital Live Literature Production and Development brands, partners with the Izimbongi Festival to present a workshop titled “Digital platforms and toolkits for poets” and will also be live tweeting from the evening shows to share the event with its audience but also as a practical application of what they presented in their workshop. Friday evening’s show begins at 18:00; at the Con Cowan Theatre on the Bunting Road Campus; and tickets are R50, or R20 for students.
A marathon of words under the command of Sabelo Soko, Vangile Gantsho, Siphokazi Jonas, Mandi Vundla and Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, will follow the announcement of the winners of the High School Poetry Competition on Saturday. This closing event of the Festival takes place on Saturday 29 September at 14:00, at the Arts Centre Theatre on the Kingsway Campus. Tickets are R50, or R20 for students.
The Izimbongi Poetry Festival is the culmination of a year-long poetry programme under Roodt’s direction, offered to and attended by UJ students. The programme’s key focus is on poetry and prose writing, and editing techniques, through weekly classes. In the 2nd semester, students workshop their writing into a performance that is then staged at the annual Izimbongi Festival. This year, all four campuses will be represented on stage by two productions: ‘Behind these eyes’ by the Auckland Park campuses, and ‘The Blues’ by students from the Soweto and Doornfontein campuses. An anthology of the best poems coming out of this programme is also published, under the title: “Footprints of the Heart”, and will be available for sale at all events at R100 per copy.
For more information and to book, please visit https://arts.uj.ac.za/series/IZIMBONGI/