Theatre in The Park — in partnership with Litfest — will launch the inaugural Kanyanisa Poetry Slam tomorrow. The poetry slam will be the first in a series of monthly such events expected to take place at the venue throughout the year.
Kanyanisa is intended to give a platform to Zimbabwe’s performing poets, culminating in an international African Poetry Slam in November alongside poets from all over the continent.
Kanyanisa is a Shona word that means to “mix”.
“Kanyanisa” is also the title of a poem originally written and performed by the legendary and renowned poet Chirikure Chirikure.
It was later performed as a song by the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi on his 1995 album Ivai Navo.
The poem is about building community cohesion, understanding and tolerance, which anchor the slam.
This is the first time Theatre in The Park has produced a poetry slam with the intention of bringing together aspiring, emerging and established spoken word artists from all over Africa.
Ultimately, Kanyanisa’s aim is to develop the art of performance poetry locally and internationally by establishing a space where poets can share their stories, craft and grow their talent at one of the strongest slam communities on the continent.
Kanyanisa Poetry Slam is a new arts brand in partnership with critical literary development platform Litfest.
Theatre in The Park Producer Daves Guzha says, “We invite poets to come through to mix languages, styles, genders, points of view. The idea is to bring together different people to mix their ideas and energy to create a new, vibrant, monthly performing poetry space. We are bringing together the audience, performers, and poets in order to build peace, tolerance, and the spiritual and moral well-being of our communities.”
Kanyanisa Poetry Slam seeks to illustrate the role of poetry in creating harmony across Africa.
The slam stands out from other similar events because at the end of the year, poets will be invited to take part in the African Poetry Slam along with poets from other African countries.
This makes Kanyanisa a very special event and sets it apart from all other poetry slams taking place in Harare.
Poets from all over Zimbabwe are encouraged to come through and take part.
There are several prizes to be won.
The slam is open to all poets, whether beginners or seasoned veterans, with young poets particularly encouraged to participate.