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Poets, Musicians, Philosophers meet at Spier Poetry Festival

By Elizabeth Uwandu

EFE Paul, one of Nigeria’s leading performing poets will be among the poets from across the world that will headline the Spier Poetry Festival in Cape Town, South Africa.

The international festival also known as dancing in other words with the theme, Madly Singing in the Mountains, which is scheduled to hold in May 7, 2016,will feature poets, minstrels, philosophers and musicians such James Matthews (South Africa), Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile (South Africa), Michel Deguy (France), Maram al-Massri (Syria/France), Efe Paul Azino (Nigeria), Yvette Christiansë (South Africa/Australia), Hans ten Berge (Holland) and Breyten Breytenbach (South Africa). Deguy and Al-Massri’s attendance is supported by Institut Francaise South Africa.

•A scene from a previous poetry festival
•A scene from a previous poetry festival

The group which will gather for a one-week period leading up to the one-day festival, will have the privilege of travelling through parts of the Western Cape’s inner and outer landscapes.

Speaking on the festival to be curated by Breyten Breytenbach, Dominique Botha and Neo Muyanga, Breytenbach said the event is a privileged space for the mingling of voices where one dream of living forever.

According to him, “The festival will once again be a privileged space for the mingling of voices where we will dream as if we were to live forever. It is with some knowledge and understanding of the layered diversity of people enunciating this part of the world, the clashes and the caresses of these mountains and winds, of the rootedness of our dreams – that we share what we have to offer to our guests from abroad.

How else are we to know that we are one in our meeting of the human-old multiformity of poetry?” says Breytenbach.

On the theme of the festival, “Madly Singing in the Mountains,” the festival music director Neo Muyanga said musical themes and leitmotifs will be composed and presented during the week’s gathering and also to be complemented by the readings on the night of the festival.

He said: “In antiphonal response to the calls of our featured poets, we, the chorus, will sing our praises, our sighs, our embrace of solidarity.” Inspired by the festival’s guiding poem, Po Tsju I’s “Madly Singing in the Mountains”, “we will form ourselves into a chorus of musical voices.”

Spier CEO, Andrew Milne added that arts has the potential to transform people and societies. “We believe in the potential of art to transform people and societies. As in previous years, this extraordinary convergence of international poets and poetry is a gathering of great minds that brings big conversations and beautiful moments to Spier.”

Expressing delight on the development, Efe Paul said the invitation is an evidence that Nigeria artists are been recognised by international world.


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