Come and join us for an evening of Poetry with Poetic Voices of Africa. A line up of six African poets from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and American poets from Georgia, Hawaii and Washington DC have come together to perform their array of poetry leading up to the Africa Day celebration on Saturday 24 May at Shed 6.
Their works are as diverse as their backgrounds, reflecting on politics, society, war, exile, the hopes and dreams of humanity, all intrinsically linked to the African continent and its many facets, often overlooked in favour of a more one-dimensional narrative.
The session will be introduced and concluded by the amazing sounds of Sam Manzanza’s drum.
Here is a brief introduction to the participants:
L. E. Scott
African American jazz poet L. E. Scott was born in Cordele, Georgia, in the USA. His work is underpinned by the sounds and cadences of the spoken word of the Black Church. He defines his work as jazz blues, a repetition of sound that he trusts much more than the creation of defined words.
Wanjiku Kiarie was born in Kenya and came to New Zealand after some years living in London. Her writing reflects insightfulness, political awareness and a compassion for humanity that endures in spite of our frailties and our duplicity of spirit. Wanjiku’s poetry collection, I Used To Sell Bones, was published in 2009.
Poet and musician Makuei Aken fled from his village in war-torn southern Sudan at the age of 9. Much of his writing reflects the reality of a young man learning to live with the memories of that life experience. In 2011 Makuei’s creative work earned him the Arts Access Aotearoa Young Artist Award.
Tony Hopkins is an actor, poet, and storyteller of African and Cherokee descent, originally from Washington DC and now resident in Wellington. As a storyteller Tony has performed internationally and throughout New Zealand, specialising in telling traditional African, African American and Native American legends as well as personal stories from his own life.
Inshirah Mahal has written poetry since she could write. In explaining what poetry means to her she says, “My inner voice took the form of a poet when I was a little girl. It has always comforted me and made sense of this world. I will always treasure my Muse and I am grateful, still, for this life-long companion.”
Samson Sahele, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a journalist and newspaper editor in Addis Ababa before being forced to flee his homeland in 1996. He arrived in New Zealand in 2000 and settled in Wellington. Along with the recent publication of this poetry collection, Journey with My Shadow, Samson is writing a book in his first language, Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, about his experience as an Ethiopian in exile.