Michelle Loewenstein
1 minute read
18 Mar 2015
6:00 am

Power of poetry celebrated

Michelle Loewenstein

Last night The Citizen and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted an evening of poetry featuring legends of the South African poetry world - Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, Professor Pitika Ntuli and Professor Wally Serote. 

Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile speaks during a poetry evening sponsored by The Citizen held at the University of Johannesburg's library in their Auckland Park campus, 17 March 2015. Picture Neil McCartney

Each of the poets in attendance have made contributions to both the political and artistic landscapes of the country. First up was a reading by poetry laureate Kgotsitsile. The softly spoken man held the crowd in the palm of his hand as he slowly recited his works. He later read a beautiful smile-inducing poem dedicated to his wife.

Next it was the turn of Ntuli, who jokingly asked if he was only allowed to recite one poem.  “I am an African caressed by African winds,” he began, passionately reciting lyrical words which drew cheers, laughs and heartfelt applause from the audience, switching between languages so smoothly that you hardly noticed the transition.

Serote, who needed no introduction, explained that he hadn’t written poetry in a long time and that he had created poetry in his past, when he had “extremely difficult things to do”.

He chose to revisit some of his old works, before drawing excited murmurs from the crowd when he said that he had written a poem especially for the event.
When asked why he hadn’t written in a long time, Serote said finding a voice to articulate our society was extremely hard to do and that he was waiting to understand “why the African discourse isn’t prevalent in our country.”

Thabiso Afurakan Mohare from Word N Sound literature company then treated the crowd to some of his powerful works. Muhare is one of Johannesburg’s up-and-coming poets. The evening closed with poetry by AfroAlphabets, a group of promising young UJ students.