Once again, a world of word and music lovers flocks into the Durban city to gather for one of Africa’s main poetry events, Poetry Africa. This annual week- long event is in its 16th year this year, and features writers, poets and musicians from South Africa and seven other countries.
Amongst other prominent local poets, this year’s main programme also features for the first time, Tumelo Khoza, one of Durban’s brightly shining stars on the stages of performance poetry. The festival opened on Monday night the 15 October2012, where the audiences were roaring Tumelo’s name amongst those of Ewok (SA), Tumi Molekate (SA), Philo Ikonya (Kenya) and Saul Williams (USA); who are also participants in this festival. Tumelo has performed in various vanues around the country making quite a solid name for her art. Her experience as a professional performer has allowed her to explore quite a unique style of performing poetry which brings a theatrical element to her poetry.
She hasalso, recently performed in Sweeden at the Ordsrak Uppsala International Poetry festival, as part of an exchange programme arranged by the Centre for Creative Arts in the University of Kwa- Zulu Natal. Tumelo describes this experience with a contagious bubbly excitement as “It has been an overwhelming experience, I feel absolutely honoured to have been part of such a life-changing experience. Although I was sick for four days in Sweden, I pushed myself to enjoy every minute of the trip, from the walks and cycling around the streets of Uppsala, to the traditional meals, the Swedish language, as well as the outstanding spoken word I got to experience.”
This vibrant and immensely talented young woman has involved herself in a number of local organisations – including Young Basadzi Projects , Cup of Thought and the Slam Poetry Operation Team- that aim to promote the art of poetry, and deliver the word to the public.She aims to travel overseas in 2013 to further explore the world of poetry, language and performance, as well as to do some research.
Tumelo performs on the night of Wednesday 17th October in this year’s Poetry Africa Festival, which opened on Monday 15 October. The festival runs the whole week, where beyond the performances every night, the participants will visit schools around Durban and facilitate workshops. It then closes with a finale on the 20th of October, where an Slam Poetry competition will be held with poets from South Africa and Sweden.