Walking into the Nun’s Chapel yesterday, the explosion of posters pasted caught my eyes. I was due to interview the convenor of the ‘Wordfest’ programme at the National Arts Festival. To my disappointment, I not get a chance to interview him, but did stumble upon an interesting character, just as informed.
Khaya Thonjeni, the Media Co-ordinator at Wordfest, sees this programme as playing a vital role. He believes it bridges a gap between the upcoming unknowns and the well known artist. This gives the young poets in the industry the opportunity to learn and grow.
Language is a tool to expressing one’s point of view to the masses. Wordfest provides a much needed platform for those brave enough to have their thoughts invaded. With the language of communication in Africa now mostly English, native languages are dying. South Africa is no exception. Wordfest therefore plays the bridging role allowing artists to express themselves in their native languages, whilst still practicing the craft they love most. This issue of indigenous language preservation in literature, among many others, is coved by the Wordfest programme held in Grahamstown every year.
The genres of poetry performances hosted at Wordfest are vast, ranging from politics to culture. Most artists and writers share their personal experiences through this platform of creativity.
It is unfortunate however, that the only artists involved in this programme are from Eastern Cape. Sadly due to the lack of funds and support from other province authorities, other artist could not attend.
The process of choosing upcoming artists and writers within the Eastern Cape districts is simple. Each of the twenty districts chooses a poet whom they feel will best represent them. The selected individuals get a chance to middle with the best in the art industry during Wordfest. They are then given skills to improve their writing or spoken word art form. Going back to their communities, the artists then workshop the skills that they have acquired to the rest of the budding artist in their communities.
Wordfest also host creative writing courses to skill anyone who is interested in attaining or developing their writing talents. Wordfest provides a mind feast in the form of word art.
by Pumla luthuli