In the dim light of stagnation and socio-economic downfall the nation is facing, the artform of poetry in Bulawayo has surprisingly been frog-leaping in an opposite direction. It has been a great year for poetry in the city of kings so far as more of both new and established poets have gone to the pen, microphone and webpages to document stories of their societies through metaphors and rhythms.
From the launching of the first ever poetry festival (Imbongi Poetry Fest), to poets recording, to the horrid Saturday Soul&Slam battles and the Thursday Indaba book cafe poetry evenings, one cannot help but admire the growth of what is sometimes labeled as ‘a dying artform’.
With just weeks away from the 2015 edition on the Intwasa Arts Festival, this last weekend, Intwasa in collaboration with the Soul&Slam poets hosted the Intwasa Pre-event at Mershies Restaurant in Bulawayo.
The mood was cheerful, tongues wagging in expectation, the tension between the poets could be cut with a knife and the only disappointment was that there were no enough seats available to accommodate the growing numbers of spectators. The ground floor of Tregger house building was filled with the audience of over 200. A first for the young restaurant. And also a first for Soul&Slam Poetry.
Many poets from Bulawayo and beyond were present but only 12 dared to take part in the slam session. Performers included: Keithswic da Poet, Sonkondlo Itonga aka Luckmore, Reddawn, Farirai, Maya Roze, Asa da Poet, Prim, Tinashe, Blacktie, Tracy and Black-lily.
The Gospel poet Farirai won the slam, getting a perfect score in the final round with a spectecular performance of the poem ‘Type yangu’ (my type in English). His price was handed over to him by Intwasa’s director himself, Mr Raisdon Baya.
Partners of the show also included Mershies Restaurant and Christian Alliance.
Poets are set to perform again during Intwasa Arts Festival Ko Bulawayo which runs from 21-26 September 2015.