All Places

All places

Spoken Word in der Côte d'Ivoire

The Ivory Coast is, like all of Africa, characterised by orality. The best way to convey knowledge, be heard and understood is to raise your voice. The heroic deeds of history and traditions are passed on from generation to generation; through grandfather to father or grandmother to mother, from father to son or mother to daughter through oral tradition. The village elders gather the youth around a log fire after nightfall to tell the about the journeys of their ancestors and other important figures in their history. In addition to remembering history, these evenings have an educational function as each story teaches a moral lesson. More...

    Spoken Word arrives in Mali

    Spoken word as such is not a well-known concept in our part of the world. In reality, however, many young artists already practice it without being conscious of it. Good examples include the comedy company “Yèlèbougou” or the various poetry slam and hip hop groups that thrive in different cities in Mali. They have inherited an established tradition of West African storytelling particularly in Mali where, for example, Djéli Baba Sissoko’s stories were broadcast on Tuesday evenings on Radio Mali entrancing generations of people in West Africa from the time of independence (1960) until the early 1990s. Upon his death, Souleymane Sissoko took up the mantle of his father with equally talented performances. More...

      Spoken Word in Kenya: A Hunger for the Word

      Anne MoraaAnne MoraaWords have been spoken over fires, in fields, in mourning and in joy throughout Kenya. Not just the simple words of speeches and talk, but poems and lyrics deep in meaning and history. Across the 40+ tribes that are found in Kenya, words are revered and respected. Africa’s strong oral tradition is well-documented and known, and in modern Kenya there is a rising hunger for poetry that cuts across tribal boundaries and speaks both to and for each of us. The same differences at the root of the terrible clashes in our history have developed a richness and complexity in our language. More...

        The Sophisticated Players - Spoken Word in Kampala

        Bwette Gilbert DanielThe origin of the word sophisticated comes from medieval Latin, sophisticatus, according to The Oxford English dictionary, which means 'tampered with'. To be sophisticated thus implies, a state of being influenced by cultural expressions other than one's own; language in particular. Spoken word poets have become significant on Kampala's poetry circuit for their idiosyncratic approaches, which combine the personal with the foreign. It has become clear that such fearless sophistication can hold a certain power over society. More...

          The Spoken Word Scene in Angola: The raw words of the iron Luanda on Open Mic

          The appearance of Spoken Word in the lands of Kwanza has some protagonists, such as Lukeny Bamba Fortunato, curator of Angola’s first Spoken Word festival. As a rapper and cultural event organizer, Lukeny was committed to making rap a weekly constant in the yet insufficient cultural programming of Luanda. The rapper’s ideas matured during a period spent in the southern United States, where he came into contact with young university students who were doing Spoken Word and where he began to take part in slam poetry sessions. More...

            The Spoken Word Scene in Cameroon: From Poetry to Poetography

            Black Alice ©Black Alice ©The evolution of spoken word in Cameroon has occurred without much media coverage, and it goes without saying that it is still unbeknown to a large public despite the activities of collectives and institutions such as La Phraz Slam, the French Institute, KIF’s Poetry Café, Ali Bavard, Ongola Slam Café, Koubalanta (Boudorium Prod) , the Goethe-Institut, FIIAA and Centre Culturel Francis Bebey among others where spoken word artist have evolved and put up performances in French, English and Pidgin (creole) over the years. More...

              Poetry Slam in Madagascar

              Tony © Photo: Dimbiniaina AndriamipahaTony © Photo: Dimbiniaina AndriamipahaFor approximately ten years, contemporary Malagasys have been following in the footsteps of the great traditional orators by experimenting with a different form of public speaking which makes an impact by utilising both words and expressions. In various parts of the country, mostly young people have been making themselves heard through their pens, words and voices. Although hesitant at first, these slam poets gain confidence as the popularity of their performances increases. Since these poets hail from divergent backgrounds and are aware that diversity is a distinct advantage, it comes naturally to them to open themselves up to reciprocal dialogue and exchanges. More...

                Spoken Word in South Africa: From protest voice to the empowerment of the youth

                Siza Nkosi © Goethe-Institut. Foto: Masimba SasaSiza Nkosi © Goethe-Institut. Photo: Masimba SasaIn the present, the youth of South Africa are in the process of re-imagining the art of poetry with the guidance of those who have graced stages and pages before them. All around the country, in communities, schools, churches and university social groups, people with a love of literature and performance are banding together to truly leave their mark on the artistic legacy of South Africa. This legacy dates back many decades but where it lends itself as the origin of slam poetry would be in the Apartheid era, where protest poetry was one of the ways that people expressed their angst against the system. More...