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Centre for Creative Arts in association with Windybrow Arts Centre (MTF) presents Poetry Africa 2023

We invite Spoken Word Artists and Poets across the city to an open call poetry slam on the 06th of May 2023. As part of the experience, 20 participants will be selected to take part in a two-day facilitated workshop in preparation for the final showcase on the 20th of May which will be held at the Kippies Theatre as part of our annual Africa Month festivities.

For our festival and the Poetry Africa Spoken Word festival we will posit the question of Place, Person and Language. Central to this theme will be conversations around the celebration, acknowledgement and critique in the realms of Queerness, Africanity and how language (universal and/or localised) is exploited to construct notions of belonging, displacement, oppression and/or separation. Considering South Africa’s history of violence and xenophobia (through our sometimes eschewed views of the rainbow nation) we find an opportune moment, through this festival, to re-imagine what difference and unity can look like.

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What is it to be made feel strange, in a strange place whilst feeling strange within yourself. This is then to posit that queerness is an experience of strangeness to those that don’t understand it and systematically plays itself out via violent acts of displacement, dislocation and the persistent pursuit of borders. This festival aims to be a container of difference and multiplicities – specifically queer identities, migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and locals – moreover a place of celebration of said diverse communities through artistic explorations and presentation.

One lucky finalist will be selected from the showcase and get the opportunity for an all expenses paid trip to the 2023 Poetry Africa Festival hosted by UKZN and the Centre for Creative Arts.

Event details:

Poetry Africa Open Call

Date: 6 May 2023

Venue: Kippies Theatre, Market Theatre Precinct

Time: 10am

Theme: Centralising Place, Person and Language in the realm of Queer.

The competition is open to participants between the ages of 18-35 and must reside in the Gauteng province. Full details and rules can be found on our website at

Competition rules:

  • Entrants for the open call on the 6th of May 2023 are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the event for registration purposes
  • Poets are welcome to interpret the theme as broadly and openly to their understanding
  • Poetry performed on stage should be the original work written and performed by the poet.
  • Poets are allowed to present work written in any of the official South African languages
  • 20 poets will be selected for a two day workshop to take place on the 18th and 19th of May, the selected poets need to ensure that they are available on said day
  • The chosen 20 poets will participate in a showcase on the 20th of May, where one winner will be selected to participate in the main event in October 2023, taking place in Durban.
  • The judges will select one winner from the finalists who will be invited to perform at the Poetry Africa festival in October. The Poetry Africa festival will cover travel, accommodation and per diem costs as well as pay the poet a performance fee
  • Poets will be judged on the below criteria:

Quality of the poem

Relevance to the theme

Style and impact of delivery of the poem

Originality of the work.

  • Registration will begin at 8:30am on the 6th of May 2023
  • All poets will be called up to perform following the registration list.