Malawian poet Q Malewezi and DRC refugee living in Lilongwe, Menes Le Plume, have been cited among the 17 best poets in the Sadc region.
This is according to a project by a South Africa-based arts movement, Current State of Poetry (CSP), which has put together a Sadc Love Poetry mixtape.
CSP projects founder Vus’umuzi Phakathi said the focus of the movement, founded in 2015, is to explore and unify the various poetry markets on the African continent as part of the task of creating a stable and sustainable poetry industry.
“And this can be made possible through resolute relationships between the numerous scenes. This, coupled with the idea of taking a break from all the negativity gnawing at our continent and shifting our focus to spreading love, the idea of a ‘love mixtape’ then came up; Valentine’s Day seemed best as the day of release,” he said.
According to the South African professional poet-cum-producer, his primary vision is to see poets living off a stable and sustainable poetry industry.
“Firstly, the grand mission is to build a poetry industry in Africa, which is to expand the poetry market and produce product for the market to consume. Again, we aim to create sustainable relations between poets around Africa, to enable continental tours and a broad market for practitioners to work with.
“We are determined to widen the grasp that poetry has on both the entertainment industry and popular culture as a whole. The project is only available for free streaming and download at www.bozza.mobi/csp. The CSP will be releasing similar bi-monthly mixtapes, covering the rest of the African continent, and a poetry festival comprised of all the participants, an idea that is still at its infant stages, but sure to manifest,” explained Phakathi.
CSP went in search of poets who are both skilled and have established themselves as brands in their regions.
Malewezi’s Heavenly Bodies, a piece he did for his wife with musician George Kalukusha, said CSP is a good initiative although more needs to be done.
“My inclusion in the project was on the basis of my Poetry Africa performance. I would have liked to see a wider representation in terms of gender. There are so few female poets on the project and I don’t think it’s an actual representation of the atate of poetry. It is important to be mindful of such important issues even when starting such projects because a good start is the most important thing.
“Also I feel as a project that is supposed to be representative of Sadc is more representative of South Africa and there are poets from every province in that country and only one from each Sadc country. This bias is also a misrepresentation as it might affect the effort needed by poets from the other countries to push the project forward as they might feel underrepresented. I hope that for the continuation of the project these two key issues need to be taken very seriously so that a wider buy in is achieved,” he explained.
Menes did a poem titled Plus Que Tout au Monde.