Get ready for a taste of Africa

Shar­ing di­verse cul­tures

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By BRITTANY MANN

Poets with African roots hope to en­trance au­di­ences around Welling­ton this month with tales of their ex­pe­ri­ences of ex­ile.

In the lead-up to Welling­ton’s an­nual Africa Day cel­e­bra­tion on May 24, Po­etic Voices of Africa will show­case the works of artists from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and the United States.

The poets will join forces to high­light the di­ver­sity of the African con­ti­nent.

Poet Lewis Scott said al­though the con­ti­nent com­prised many coun­tries, it was of­ten pro­jected as a ‘‘one-di­men­sional tragedy’’.

‘‘ If you asked Ki­wis about Africa, most of them would be able to talk about South Africa be­cause it was so vis­i­ble be­cause of Nel­son Man­dela. But a lot of them would be shocked when you tell them there’s more than 50 coun­tries and those coun­tries are very dif­fer­ent,’’ he said.

The poets said be­ing in New Zealand had given them the op­por­tu­nity to meet and col­lab­o­rate.

Their works spanned topics from war to pol­i­tics to the hopes and dreams of hu­man­ity.

Poet/ mu­si­cian Makuei Aken fled civil war in Sudan at 9 and set­tled in New Zealand in 2003.

When he was bored in class, he would write po­etry and a teacher en­cour­aged him to de­velop his craft.

Aken, now 24, said var­i­ous Amer­i­can rap­pers in­spired his style and tech­nique.

In 2008, he col­lab­o­rated with fel­low Po­etic Voices artist Sam­son Sa­hele from Ethiopia on a book, Be­yond the Dark Jour­ney, which com­piled the works of young refugees in New Zealand.

They will per­form with In­shi­rah Ma­hal, Wan­jiku Kiarie, Tony Hop­kins and Scott at four lo­ca­tions around Welling­ton this month hav­ing be­gun at Pataka Art + Mu­seum on Sun­day. En­try is free.

For in­for­ma­tion, go to african com­mu­nity.org.nz.

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