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Badilisha Poetry X-change

Background and Context to Badilisha and the Africa Centre

For a range of historical, political and economic reasons, many of the important collections and productions of African art today are located or performed outside of Africa. As a result, Africans living on the continent have limited access to their own artistic heritage and the work of contemporary practitioners. Based in South Africa, the Africa Centre was conceived as both a physical entity and an ongoing philosophical journey that aims to redress these imbalances.

The poetic voices from Africa and its Diaspora are no exception to this reality. New voices in Pan-African poetry have historically gained their global exposure and documentation through foreign publications and academic research. These
narrow channels have limited the plethora of African writers, poets, and academics from being read and heard throughout the world.

The lack of publications and recordings has meant that most young African poets and writers are primarily influenced by the work of literary icons from the Global North through what they have been taught in school, read about, seen and heard. Their knowledge of African authors and poets is limited, preventing the inspiration and influence vital to their growth, development, self-confidence and sense of place.

The issues are not confined however to simply the lack of access and outlets. Equally important are what Pan-African’s have to say.  The contribution Pan-African poets and writers have made to social transformation throughout history is immeasurable. The poetic medium provides an extraordinary tool to define, expose and fundamentally shape our perceptions of the worlds we occupy.  Bringing these Pan-African voices beyond their localities can make a vital contribution to both Africa and the rest of the world.

The Radio and Event Platforms

The Badilisha Poetry X-Change project plays out its vision through Badilisha Radio. The project has been created to encourage and present:

  • Platforms for the exposure and growth of unheard voices;
  • Opportunities for established and aspirant poets to engage with each other and their work for mutual benefit through networking and skills transfer;
  • Diverse genres of poetic expression including performance and multi-media;
  • Access to wider market places utilising these media; and
  • Spaces for discussion and debate, as a means to explore and mature the poetic form as a tool for social activism.

Badilisha Poetry X-Change continues to grow in its fulfilment of these objectives and is proud to be a unique international poetry project based and produced on the African continent.

The main information sections on this site has been translated from English into French/Portuguese. Some sections of the website are being constantly uploaded, and therefore the information on the poets, the introduction to the poems remain in English, and the poems themselves remain in their original language. The podcasts are introduced in English.

The Team
Linda Kaoma

Linda Kaoma

Project Manager

lindak@africacentre.net

Linda Kaoma is a writer, poet and a graduate from the University of Cape Town. She has been with the the Africa Centre for two years.

Linda is the founder and editor of Unbranded Truth Online Magazine (www.unbrandedtruth.com), an online magazine that serves as a catalyst for self-acceptance and self-evolution.

She has contributed to various publications and continues to freelance.

Malika Ndlovu

Malika Ndlovu

Badilisha Radio Guest Presenter

himoon@yebo.co.za

Malika Ndlovu is a poet, playwright, performer, arts project manager and mother of three sons, with a wide range of experience in the Arts and Arts Management arena. Malika is a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers' collective WEAVE, co-editor of their multi-genre anthology WEAVE’s Ink @ Boiling Point. Malika has had four poetry collections published, namely Born in Africa But, Womb to World: A Labour of Love, Truth is both Spirit and Flesh and Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth a poetic memoir published by new South African Women's press, Modjaji Books. Her published plays include the award-winning drama A Coloured Place and Sister Breyani.

Between 2007-2010 Malika was co-curator of the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change. She is now a guest presenter for BadilishaPoetry.com. As an independent artist, Malika operates under the brand New Moon Ventures and is dedicated to creating indigenous, multi-media and collaborative works in line with her personal motto "healing through creativity." Visit www.malika.co.za.

Tina Mucavele

Tina Mucavele

Badilisha Radio Guest Presenter

lunastrela@gmail.com

Tina Mucavele is a young Mozambican woman, social activist, writer and a mother of one son. She lives in Maputo, Mozambique, after living in Johannesburg for most of her adolescence and early adulthood. Her day job is with rural civil society movements, in an attempt to raise consciousness and provide skills for political participation, monitoring of state budgets and quality of social services. In the city, she works with poets and musicians, and is part of the SEM CRITICA MOVEMENT, a performance space created for free artistic expression. Tina poems and short stories are in the editing process, and she hopes to publish a collection of short stories by the end of 2011. Her travellings around the African continent, Europe and South America have turned her a strong Pan-African Citizen, and she loves and advocates for an eclectic African Identity. Tina began seriously writing her poetry in English, given the strong influence of English Speaking authors such as Ama Ata Aidoo, Ben Okri, Alice Walker, Ngungi Wa Tiongo amongst other African writers. However, coming back to Mozambique forced her to learn the Portuguese language as a tool to tell the stories that follow her around like friendly ghosts!

Mbali Vilakazi

Mbali Vilakazi

Badilisha Radio Guest Presenter

mbalentle@gmail.com

Emerging voice, Mbali Vilakazi is a writer, poet, performer and vocalist, who describes herself as ‘a child of the city by the sea, who came into being under the watchful eye of a silent mountain’ and traces her beginnings as 'a patient journey through and within the heart of the city into herself’. She contextualises herself as a soul activist with the dream of a youth that rises to assume both its relevance and place. She has performed on several platforms and is compiling her first anthology.

www.mbalivilakazi.com

Khadija Heeger

Khadija Heeger

Badilisha Radio Guest Presenter

South African poet Khadija Heeger was born in Hanover Park on the Cape Flats. She has a keen interest in history and the interpretation of history through art.

Her interests range from video production, to performance, to writing, as tools to facilitate healing and consciousness on many and varied levels round the imposition of limitations, those we impose on ourselves and those imposed on us from external sources. She believes in the power of words, to ground and root us in time and place, words that allow us to travel beyond ourselves and towards ourselves, words that resonate with earth so that we remember who we are. She is an original member of And the Word was Woman ensemble of women writers, performing at several high profile events like the annual Cape Town Festival, Mother City Book Festival and Parliament.

For the 2008 Spier Poetry Exchange, she was commissioned to create a new work in collaboration with visionary director Jaqueline Dommisse of Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective and two musicians of the increasingly popular indigenous music and heritage group Khoi' Khonnexion. Unsurprisingly Stone Words became a highlight of the festival and received standing ovations for each of its performances.

Ngwatilo Mawiyoo

Ngwatilo Mawiyoo

Badilisha Radio Guest Presenter

nmawiyoo@gmail.com

A native of Nairobi, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo has steadily built a name for herself as a poet, performer, actress and musician. A keen observer and devoted student of the written word; Ngwatilo’s book of poems, "Blue  Mothertongue" (2010), is set in Nairobi and the African diaspora around notions of home and identity. Critics say the work is “crafted with beautiful pace and intelligence,” that it is “a worthy testament of her times.” Ngwatilo’s work has been translated into Swedish and (Austrian) German, in addition to being published in literary journals in Kenya and abroad.

Lauded “a priest of the art of performed poetry,” Ngwatilo has presented her work at major African and European festivals, and also enjoys creating unique collaborative poetry-in-performance concepts in an aesthetic dubbed “puesic” [pew-zik]. Her first EP album “Introducing Ngwatilo” (2011) offers a sampling of her solo work and her latest collaborative explorations with popular musicians.

Ngwatilo’s new research explores the lived experience of diverse rural Kenyan communities. It will ultimately inform, among various media products, the writing of a second book of poems.

Technical Credits

Badilisha! Radio, Sound Engineer:

Mogale Mamaila, Bagale Sounds
email: bagale@homemail.co.za

Badilisha! Radio Jingle Composer:

Garth Erasmus, Khio Khonnexion
email: sherasmus@mweb.co.za

Design:

Two Shoes
web: www.twoshoes.co.za

Zero One One
web: www.011.co.za

Web Development:

Tenacity Works
web: www.tenacityworks.com

Brandscape Digital
web: www.brandscapedigital.co.za