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.