Local poets plead for platforms, support

The Chronicle

Mbulelo Mpofu/Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporters

ON Monday, local creatives joined the world in celebrating World Poetry Day. The day was adopted by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to celebrate one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.

World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets; revive oral traditions of poetry recitals; promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry; foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting; and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.

The purpose or theme of World Poetry Day is to recall the role of poetry in the survival of ancient languages in the development of the world and the enlightenment of the world.

Commemorating the day, Unesco’s Director-General Audrey Azoulay said poetry is a special and intimate form of art that makes use of imagery.

“Arranged in words, coloured with images, struck with the right meter, the power of poetry has no match. As an intimate form of expression that opens doors to others, poetry enriches the dialogue that catalyses all human progress, and is more necessary than ever in turbulent times,” she said.

Locally, creatives shared their sentiments on the day and how they celebrated.

Sox The Poet challenged those involved with the artform not to bottle up their feelings, but to express themselves when in trouble.

“For me, poetry is a special form of art where poets and poetesses express their inner thoughts and feelings. World Poetry Day helps in shaping the voice of old and new poets.

“In celebrating, I want to encourage poets to speak up and not to bottle things up since nowadays, male creatives crumble under pressure leading to mental health issues and even worse, suicidal tendencies,” said Sox The Poet.

Sithandazile Dube who celebrated with the Toastmasters International in a Zoom meeting said: “I think more poetry performance spaces should be availed and if possible, renowned poets can start mentorship programmes and mentor young poets from below 10 years for the development of the art form.”

Revered poet Desire Moyoxide said he used the day to reflect on his works and felt let down after realising that most of his works are not getting the airplay that they deserve.

“I took the time to revisit my six albums of poetry. Afterwards, I felt I was giving more to a thankless sector after the realisation that my poems weren’t being played on certain radio stations. So I decided to celebrate myself,” he said.

Female poet Thandokuhle “Thando” Sibanda said she had an online session with a few women and noted that there was a need to open up more spaces to boost the discipline.

“I basically discussed the importance of poetry and the role it plays in our day to day lives. Poetry definitely needs a larger audience so opening up more spaces and platforms that are mainstream would boost the discipline.

“Poets should be more proactive and deliberate about this. They should consider collaboration with other forms of art as well. Like most forms of art, poets also lack funding and local support. Not a lot of people are willing to pay for the product,” said Thando.

Thaluso Da Poet thanked Khulumani FM for hosting him on the day as he managed to celebrate the day in style.

“It was a day well spent as I managed to share what poetry means to me on the radio. I think there’s a lot that needs to be done in the country as poets aren’t being given enough platforms to perform or showcase our skills because our genre is just taken as a category in the sector. I think poetry can be improved if it’s taken to the grassroots level at schools so that those who want to be poets have an appreciation and grow with the culture of poetry,” he said.

Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo director Raisedon Baya said poetry must be celebrated all year round.

“Poetry is an important art genre and must be treated as such, not just one day a year, but throughout the year. Poets must be supported and celebrated like other artists. They must have a good place on the table of arts,” said Baya.

Over the years, Bulawayo has produced some of the finest poets and poetesses in the form of Philani Nyoni, Albert Nyathi and Vongai Mujakachi just to name a few.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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