Right To Speak

People sitting around a table with books and notebooks Photo: Alexis Brown ©Unsplash

The initiative highlights spoken word as a way to engage youth voices in Africa and Europe around issues of human rights and social justice.
It is organized by the Goethe-Institut South Africa, partnering with Hear My Voice, the Center For Creative Arts, the Stand Foundation, General Representation of Flanders, Wallonie-Bruxelles International and Institut Francais Afrique du Sud.

The “Right To Speak” project runs from March to October 2022. It leverages the power of digital to create spaces that enable young poets across oceans to speak, learn and grow together. Additionally, it supports and builds capacity for local organizations for sustained impact. Poetry will be used as a vehicle to drive conversations around human rights between young people from Europe and South Africa, using various hybrid events and co-productions.

launch event

The digital launch took place on Human Rights Day, March 21 as part of the Time of the Writer Festival. This launch was streamed on the official Right To Speak Facebook page. You can view it here. The launch was hosted by Center for Creative Arts and was recorded at the Kwa-Muhle Museum in Durban.

Right to Speak has been collaboratively designed by the partners with the vision of creating an opportunity for poets and poetry organizations from South Africa and Europe to share experiences, support mutual learning and to build strong relationships. We seek to create performance opportunities and strengthen capacities in the sector. Our common vision is a creative exchange that inspires future collaborations. -Asma Diakité, Head of Cultural Programs at the Goethe-Institut South Africa.

Right to Speak South African Poets Catalogue

The Right to Speak project concluded with a closing event and poets’ performances at the 26th edition of Poetry Africa in Durban on 12 October 2022.                                                                                   

On this occasion, the Right to Speak South African Poets Catalogue was launched. It is one of the main outputs of the international exchange programme, and profiles 20 prolific emerging page and stage poets from the length and breadth of South Africa and is aimed at promoting a specially curated list of young and thriving South African poets to international markets including Europe. The beautifully designed catalogue highlights emerging poets who are ready for international stages and provides an easy guide for programmers and promoters of small and large poetry and literature platforms around the world interested in booking and showcasing South African spoken word talent.

“As proud partners of the Right to Speak project, we are encouraged by initiatives like the Right To Speak Poets Catalogue, which opens up avenues for poets and organisations looking to broaden their knowledge, networks and skills to create decent work and economic growth,” says Dr Asma Diakité, Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe-Institut South Africa.

You can view and download the catalogue here:
Right To Speak - South African Poets Catalogue by right2speak - Issuu

For more info and activities of the project, please visit our facebook and twitter channels.

Who Funded this project?

The Right To Speak project is funded by the European Union National Institutes of Culture as part of the European Spaces of Culture. European Spaces of Culture (2019-2023) is testing innovative collaboration models in cultural relations between European and local partner organizations in countries outside the EU. At the heart of the project lies a new spirit of dialogue, in which equality, mutual listening and learning represent the core values ​​that help build trust and understanding between peoples. It was initiated by the European Parliament as a Preparatory Action and attributed to EUNIC by the European Commission.

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