15 poets, six countries and African story from woman’s perspective
As part of effort designed to amplify the voices of women poets, showcasing their literary skills and celebrating their rich cultural heritage, while projecting African literature, the All-African Women Poetry Festival has been launched.
The organisers, Tuniq Africa, said the poetry festival is a groundbreaking event that aims to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of African women through one of “humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expressions and identity – Poetry.”
According to Tuniq Africa founder, Emma Ofosua, “the All-African Women Poetry Festival was birthed to open up the opportunity for dialogue, while we work towards rewriting the African narrative we aspire to, defining for ourselves who we are and [whom we] desire to be as a people, with women leading the charge. The intention is to also inspire a new generation of Poets who vow to take up Art for a cause that interrogates social, mental and women’s health issues as well as promote an appetite for African literature.”
The festival is scheduled to hold from the African Union Day, which is May 25, to May 28 at the Art Africa Gallery, British Council, and the Dikan Centre in Accra, Ghana.
It is a week-long celebration of African literature, culture, and diversity, featuring an exciting lineup of events such as poetry readings, book launches, panel discussions, interschools spoken word competition, workshops, and performances by both renowned and budding African poets.
On the theme, ‘Why Healing’, Ofosua said, “society has conditioned us to put romantic love on a pedestal, this kind of socialising is problematic in a sense that robs humans of long-standing virtues and values that simply make us good humans. Our cultures in different parts of the African continent have suffered a setback because societies are increasingly growing individualistic and selfish people who are gradually looking out for their singular needs and not the good of the whole. This is reflected in how we choose leaders in our part of the world, run our homes, relate on business and social settings.”
Ofosua continued: “There is the need to renew our mindset and this requires deliberate actions towards healing. We hear of femicides, lingering effects of the slave trade on the African in the diaspora, the increasing cases of cyber bullying. The sight of a woman being vulnerable even incites anger. The rage, the bitterness and pain we see online and in our personal interactions show how much healing the world needs.”
On why there is need to heal on a personal level, Ofosua revealed: “It almost goes without saying that every African or African American child has endured some traumatic experience. Limiting beliefs about love and partnerships; healing friendship hurts, disappointment in leadership, trusting that we can grow while navigating and creating through life. Overcoming our fears and taking charge first of ourselves and subsequently work towards making Africa great again. This revolution begins with a healed people.”
In partnership with the KGL Foundation and the Poetry Association of Ghana, the festival will bring together a number of poets from across the African continent and the diaspora – Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, USA and UK to showcase their works and engage with audiences from all over the world.
Six of the Poets are Ghanaians while the remaining are other nationals. The Ghanaians are Ofosua, Poetra Asantewa, Apiorkor, Nakeeyat, Stephanie Ampofo, and Kate Awuku Darko. The non-Ghanaians are Emmah Maybe (SA), Amee Slam (Ivory Coast) Deborah Johnson (Nigeria), Nyassh (Kenya), Chioniso Tsikisayi (Zimbabwe), Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Nigeria), Cynthia Amoah (USA), Dr. Ansong (USA), Miss Yankey (UK), and Dr. Kaltum (UK).
The festival is sponsored by KGL Foundation and Outre, and supported by UNESCO, British Council, Art Africa Gallery, Dikan Centre, Kaya Tours, National Theatre, Creative Spills, Citi FM, Citi TV, Hyperlink, Commslab, Joyfm, Dansworld, Iglow, ATL, Danone, Think Aloud Ltd, Comme lab, AfroEle, WearGhana, Olaf, She Panthers, Jo’s Keepsakes, Writers Project, Kasapreko, movies in the park, Selibrations and Gerard Nartey Photography.