DEADLINE: 21 September 2017

The Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), with principal funding from the City of Durban invites all students to submit their poems as part of the 21st POETRY AFRICA Schools Competition.

Poetry Africa is committed to nurturing a culture of reading and writing poetry, especially among the youth of KwaZulu-Natal. The festival invites primary to high school learners to take up this exciting opportunity of submitting material for the poetry competition which is held in conjunction with the festival. The poems can be written in either English or Zulu and since there is no topic, writers have the licence to get creative. The Festival will accept up to two poems per learner;—illegible entries will not be considered. (Please number your pages)

Poems must be submitted either by hand at the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), UKZN, Howard College Campus, Mazisi Kunene Avenue, Glenwood, Durban, 4001 or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by fax to (031) 260 3074

DEADLINE: 21 September 2016

The Poetry Africa festival, now in its 21st edition, takes place from 16 to 21 October 2017.

Winners will read their poems on the main stage of the Poetry Africa festival on the evening of 20 October. Prizes will be awarded by Adams Booksellers and the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN).

Please ensure the following information is present on the front page of your submission:

- Full name and surname.

- School Name.

- School Contact Details. (Email / Phone/ Address)


Ayanda Mabanga

Public Relations Manager

Cell: 084 9603 958 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Poetry Africa Unearths New Talent

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), with principal funding from the City of Durban, on the 14th and the 15th of September held its auditions for Durban’s emerging poets to take part in the 21st Poetry Africa festival (17–20 October) as Prelude Poets.

The programme, which started in 2011, gives the city’s poets the opportunity to showcase their work to audiences at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, at the country’s premier poetry festival, where they get to share the stage with some of the country’s, continent and the globe’s most established poets.

At the auditions the poets auditioned with performances including reading their works, performance poetry, slam poetry, some with musical items and props and praise poetry. Entrants were required to perform original pieces within a five-minute time slot.

Forty something including walk-ins and homeless aspiring poets blessed the judges with their artistry to a point where 4 spots were just not enough. After hours of deliberations (back and forth) it was finally decided that our Prelude Poets for 2017 would be: Yenziwe Sithole, Tuffo Da Bulletman, Malusi Ndlovu and ironically a walk-in Thembalethu Ntuli

Some of the poets who have previously showcased their talents as Prelude Poets including Nosipho Magcaba, Kwazi Dlangisa, Khanyi Shusha, Page Ngwenya, Tumelo Khoza and Tshebelotso Mohale. They have all since participated on the Poetry Africa stage as main feature poets.

Judging their work were residential artists of the CCA Onke Mtshali and Mcebisi Sithole, Talents coordinator Menzi Mhlongo, Assistant Talents coordinator Lungile Ngubelanga, and Journalist and former news reporter Sinethemba Makrwalana.

Member of the judging panel, Mcebisi said, it’s actually amazing how much raw talent there is in Durban and he added by saying, him and the other judges felt bad because there were only four spots where else the talent they experienced behind those closed doors far supersedes the number of spots allocated.

And one of the inspiring preludes Zodwa when asked why was she auditioning for Poetry Africa Preludes said, Poetry Africa is the biggest poetry festival in South Africa and to be part of it would be her greatest experience in poetry yet, “even if I don’t make it through to the final cut I’m happy because that means someone was better than me, ultimately that means someone deserving made it through. But even if I don’t make it through I will forever cherish this day, because this is the day I had a chance to meet some of the finest the poetry and the spoken word industry has to offer.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu Natal), the 21st Poetry Africa is made possible by the continued support of the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture and Alliance Française de Durban, Institut Ramon lull, Ukrainian Association of South Africa. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the School of Arts, College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Media Enquiries:

Ayanda Mabanga

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cel: 084 690 3958

21th Poetry Africa Poster

The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) in collaboration with the Durban University Technology’s Department of Visual Communication Design is delighted to provide some insight onto the process of creating and designing the 21st Poetry Africa poster.

The collaboration started back in 2012, when the CCA approached DUT to breathe new life into the Poetry Africa visual campaign. Over the years it has grown to become a vital part of the visual identity of the festival. Each year the poetry community can expect a new design each year that fully embodies the current mood of events.

The magnitude of this project has over the years become a very important part of the third year students’ programme as the University has added this project to its curriculum. The goal of this project is not only to convey the energy, richness of content or the spirit of the festival, but also to shift people’s pre-conceptions about poetry, a goal that has been steadily achieved. This evolution led us to this year’s winning poster, designed by 3rd year Graphic Design student Samela Hlophe.

Samela (21) is a 3rd year graphic design student at DUT from Umlazi, KwaZulu Natal. He fell in love with graphic design back in primary. Drawing and illustrating characters from his favorite comics and action movies while maintaining his good grades.

Samela said, he dreams of becoming an independent creative, but his creativity is not only limited to advertising but it goes on to other creativity fields. And also added by saying he would like to use his illustration skills to decorate old age homes and orphanages, a passion he developed in 2013 while painting murals at Cheshire Home, an old age home in Sydenham.

He is described by his lecturer, Marlene Wasserman as a very talented, yet modest young man, a talent that he continuously hones and develops. “He approached this task with much enthusiasm as he does with all other tasks.” She continued by saying she loves the referencing of the unique crafting of rhythmic patterns in the hair, translated beautifully to become authentic and distinctively African.

The poster was inspired by the feminine beauty in all African women, Samela said. He then continued, “I am over the moon to know that finally the whole of Durban is going to see my work.” Although his humble nature keeps him grounded, he does however acknowledge that this is only the beginning in his career, a career that is already looking bright.

People can follow this amazing talent on Instagram @sam_artworksdbn or sam_hlophe on behance to stay updated on all his work.

The runners-up as selected by the CCA are Clinton Myeni, Malibongwe Mwandla, Athenkosi Mjobo and Cameron Lofstrand respectively.

Article by Publications Intern: Thabiso Gordon Zwane 

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu Natal)


Phone: +27 (0)31 260 2506

Fax: +27 (0)31 260 3074

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