IN A first partnership with the Shoko Festival and Page Poetry Alive, Nhimbe Trust supported four young poets from Bulawayo to take part in the “Battle of The Cities” Digital Poetry Slam against four Harare poets.
Team Bulawayo emerged the winners, to the delight of Nhimbe and all their supporters. The initiative was supported through a programme funded by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union.
Representing Bulawayo were Sox the Poet, Tinashe Tafirenyika, Thandokuhle Tinkie and Delah Dube. Harare comprised Kuda Rice, The Unspoken, Banshee and Shaldo. The Slam Master was acclaimed poet Madzitatiguru.
Project officer Lisa Sidambe said the collaboration with Shoko Festival comes under Nhimbe’s ‘Re-linking Communities through Culture’ Project.
“The collaboration works to advance one of the objectives of the re-linking project, which seeks to ‘build across tribal divisions and in the spirit of inclusivity, acceptance and respect for the value of the diversity of cultural expressions and their significance to national identity’.
“We are excited to be partnering with Page Poetry Alive and Shoko Festival as part of efforts to enhance the visibility of artists as voices that drive social change.
“Accessing new stages and new audiences means that we are increasingly tapping into a wide network of communities that become consumers of the messaging of the Relinking Communities through Culture Project.”
Page Poetry Alive founder Peggie Shangwa, heading the Slam organising team from Page Poetry Alive, said: “We hosted the first ever Digital Poetry Slam in Zimbabwe in May 2020 … this is taking up the notch to a National Slam as we partner with Shoko Festival and Nhimbe Trust.”
The annual Harare-based Shoko Festival expanded to a national reach this year, online from September 21-27, 2020, and themed the “Phoenix Edition”.
The slam was streamed on the Shoko Festival Facebook page on September 21. In the competitive format the poets faced off in a two- round ‘slam’, and performances of each team were judged by the audience voting online.