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.