PRAAT festival talk of the town

Shaanaaz de Jager

A TWO-day multilingual poetry festival and workshops which take place in Port Elizabeth, this week, have attracted national celebrities and emerging artists to share their talent on one stage.

The PRAAT! Poetry Festival, funded by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC), PE Opera House and Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, will take place at the Port Elizabeth Opera House and invites poetry-lovers and aspiring writers from across Nelson Mandela Bay are invited to “ignite the audience’s appreciation of English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Venda and Sotho spoken word poetry on a united stage,” Opera House general manager Monde Ngonyama said.

The two-day event will be a mix of workshops, discussions and performances and will be hosted by established national and emerging local poets on Friday and Saturday from 1pm until 8pm each day at the Barn and PE Opera House main stages. PRAAT! brings established national talent to Nelson Mandela Bay, including leading national spoken word artist and TV personality Lebo Mashile and published poet Lesego Rampolokeng.

Emerging Nelson Mandela Bay spoken word talent Lelethu Poetic Soul Mahambehlala, Zomzi Ntshona and Itai Hakim share the stage with their favourite national icons, to show the Port Elizabeth Opera House is indeed “The Theatre of Possibility”, Ngonyama said.

PRAAT! programme curator and spoken word poet and writer, Ntsika Tyatya outlines that YiYo – a PE Opera House programme, which incorporates weekly experimental performances showcasing emerging poetry, music, dance and drama works by local artists at the PE Opera House Barn this year – has facilitated the rise of local talent who are ready to proceed to higher “emerging talent” status.

“Mahambehlala, Ntshona and Hakim were so well-received by YiYo audiences in the course of the year, that it was proper to elevate them to wider audiences,” Tyatya said.

“It has taken a year to groom the PRAAT concept, after YiYo sessions proved that spoken word artists deserve their own focused stage, mirroring the likes of festivals hosted in Kwazulu Natal at Durban Poetry Africa, and in the Western Cape, at the Spier Poetry Festival”, Tyatya added.

For inquiries contact PRAAT curator, Tyatya on 071-444-2340 or e-mail: Praatpoetryfest@peoh.co.zaor Facebook Praat Poetry Festival.

The cost for the two-day workshop is R100. For one day the cost is R60. Tickets are available at Computicket.

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