Poetry fest roars into life
THE inaugural Poetry and Arts Festival roars into life today at AVANI Maseru Hotel, with South African poet, actor and writer, Lebo Mashile, set to share the stage with various female wordsmiths.
Among the local poets lined up to perform at the festival are Mpho Sefali, Makhala “Poeticsoul” Soaphe and Rethabile Lechesa. During the event, which begins at 6pm, visual artists and crafters will also exhibit their wares.
According to the festival’s organiser, Montoeli ‘Moleli, the event is coinciding with Women’s Month Celebrations in August to shine a spotlight on them.
“The event is meant to give people an opportunity to listen to some of the finest female wordsmiths during this month that we celebrate women in general,” he said.
“Poetry is endemic among Basotho because it is a medium of expression that is found in almost every celebration. However, the po- etry scene has not been making waves like it used to because Basotho don’t support the industry the way they do to music.”
‘Moleli said poetry had the potential to grow more than any other arts sector if marketed well.
“There is so much talent that needs to be spruced up to appeal to the international market. Bringing in an established poet like Lebo Mashile will help foster its development,” he said, adding the renowned poet would hold a seminar with poets on the line-up on how they can develop themselves.
“We intend to make the Poetry and Arts Festival an annual event to nurture local talent. We have also lined up a number of shows in between the festival to raise the profile of the art form.”
For her part, Mashile told the Weekender from her Johannesburg base she was looking forward to performing in Lesotho after over a decade’s absence.
“I have been to Lesotho three times before, but only performed once. The other two times I came to shoot documentaries for SABC 1,” she said.
“It has been a very long time since I performed in the Mountain Kingdom, and I am looking forward to the festival and sharing the stage with local poets.”
Asked what themes she would explore with her poetry, Mashile said: “I love writing about women’s issues and give people hope, especially ladies since they are often voiceless in society. As a mother of a two-month old baby, I will also address issues such as parenthood.”
She also confirmed the seminar with local poets and interested writers during her visit.
“I always encourage poets not to try to be the next Lebo but strive to set their own mark that will inspire others. I will have a seminar with poets and interested writers from Lesotho the following day (tomorrow) so that we can share ideas and try to help them realize their dreams.”
Mashile was born in the United States to exiled parents and returned to South Africa in 1994. She is described as a “visual verbalist”, and an icon of modern South African poetry.
south african poet and writer Lebo Mashile.