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  • Writer's pictureThuthukani "TK" Ndlovu

Radioactive Poetry 1.1

// Featuring poetry from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Malawi//

Koleka Putuma [Image Source:]

Wassup fam. I hope that ya'll have been good? I'm excited to bring you the second edition of Radioactive Poetry. It's been a hectic past 2 weeks on my side, as I was hosting poetry workshops in the mountain Kingdom - Mafeteng (Lesotho). I really had a great time and learnt a lot; now I'm back in Bloem and preparing to attend the Abantu Book festival in Soweto. The Radioactive Blog will unfortunately no longer be hosting the 2nd edition of Giving Poetry Wings in Kimberly at the Awakening Social Sessions Festival, however you don't want to miss the events that are still lined up (which I'll talk more about a bit later in this article).

Anyway, If you're an avid reader, then I'm sure you probably recognise the South African award-winning performance poet, facilitator and theatre-maker above - Koleka Putuma. The Radioactive Blog would like to congratulate her on getting her debut anthology "Collective Amnesia" translated into Spanish. This poetry collection explores blackness, womxnhood and history in a fearless and unwavering manner, and it's definitely worth adding to you reading list (I actually need to buy myself another copy because I gave away mine to a poet from Zambia last year - he fell in love with the book, so I couldn't be selfish. lol). Her debut collection of poetry became the City Press Book of the year 2017, as well the Sunday Times Book of the year 2017. "Collective Amnesia" was recently translated by Arrate Hidalgo & Lawrence Schimel and published by Flores Rara, so if you got friend in Spain/ someone that can read/speak Spanish, do feel free to share the following link with them. I've also included a link to where you can buy the English version. [Purchase "Collective Amnesia" English Version / Spanish Version]

Still on the subject of Koleka, I would like to say that I am #TeamPutuma for the upcoming #TEWOP1on1Slam , which will be taking place on the 1st of December at UJ Arts Centre Theater - SA (You can find more information about the event here, and keep up to date with the build up on the Facebook Event page). She's slamming against Zewande BK Bhengu, so it's definitely going to be lit, and with R20000 up for grabs, we can only expect fire from both artists. Check out the promo vid below:

Moving on, I would like to congratulate the following poets on publishing their anthologies this year: Sarah Godsell, Busisiwe Mahlangu , Xabiso Vili, Vangi Gantsho and Danai Mupotsa. I've only managed to buy Busisiwe and Xabiso's anthology so far, and they are really great works of literature. Can't wait to read the other anthologies (which would be sooner if someone could sponsor me money to buy all the books I want to read ASAP. Lol). I literally have a list of just over a 100 books - mostly anthologies - which I plan on buying and reading, but adulting won't let me yet. Anyway, these are the books that they got published, so make sure you get yourself a copy, and look out for the first Radioactive anthologies 1.0 article which I'll publish before the end of this year (it will feature a more detailed review of some of the books I've read so far). A big shout out goes to Impepho Press & RYB Publishers for their contribution to literature. The books are listed below in the order of the poets above:

Sarah Godsell - "Liquid Bones" [Purchase]

Busisiwe - "Surviving Loss" [Purchase]

Xabiso Vili - "Laughing in my father's voice" [Purchase]

Vangi Gantsho - "Red cotton" [Purchase]

Danai Mupotsa - "Feeling Ugly" [Purchase]

Impepho Press is hosting a Poetry Reading at Book Circle Capital on the second of December, which will feature Busisiwe Mahlngu, Sarah Godsell and Vangi (contact for more details/ click here to follow the Facebook event page). You can also order your copy of the 4 ladies books via Impepho's website. For those not familiar with Impepho, they are "a Pan Africanist, intersectional-feminist publishing house committed to the sincere telling of African and international stories, celebrating both the fragility and resilience of human experience. They believe in championing brave, particularly feminist, voices committed to literary excellence."

RYB Publishers are responsible for publishing Xabiso's anthology, so you can also purchase his book via RYB Publisher's Facebook page / website. "RYB Publishers is a 100% black owned publishing house established in 2017. It was founded by Mabotseba Kobeli and Mandla Masangane after self-publishing a multilingual children’s book together. It is a proudly African organisation which promotes reading and writing in African languages. Their mission is to publish good quality stories written by young African writers. They want to tell stories in all official South African languages." RYB are also responsible for Hlox da Rebel's "Akimbo" (available soon).

Seems like there's lot of congratulating that needs to be done, but anyway, I'd like to also congratulate the winners of the "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse" competition that was organised by Vus'umuzi Phakathi. Poets were tasked with coming up with poems using the following writing prompt "I slip on my mask and reveal my power. Today I… ". The poets who won prizes were Naledi Malakoane, Raphakwane Masike, Mandy Poetician Ndaliso, Sibongile Fisher and Buddah Linch Soci. Buddah was the ultimate winner and won a Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse hamper worth R1000. The movie will be out in cinemas on the 14th of December, so do make sure that you mark the date.


We now going to head over all the way to Malawi (in Chikwawa to be specific), with Phinduzaie. I'm actually listening to her poetry album again while typing this article. I was fortunate to meet her not so long ago when I was in Lilongwe at the Tumaini Festival, and she blessed me with a physical copy of her album. The album is a must have, and I can't wait for it to available for purchase online (Purchase album here soon). Phinduzaie is a Spoken Word artist and actress, driven by her passion to break the silence surrounding inequalities more especially negatively affecting a girl child. She's been described as an Iconic Figure ins the Spoken Art League (read more here).

Rumour has it that she will be coming through to Bloemfontein, South Africa next year in July, so do keep an eye on The Radioactive Blog Facebook page for more information about her visit. You can find her - and read some of her work - on her Facebook page as Mawu a Phindu . Moving back to the topic of her album "Bodies are (not) homes", I must say that it's very thought provoking, and touching as well. There are 2 out of the 13 poems in the album that are currently available for free download, so you can have a taste of the album: "Woman being for a day" (Download) and "Gokowani" (Download). The first track on the album is called "Bloom", but the poem is actually about a mother that lost a child before the child was born, and it's accompanied by a soft melody played by guitarist. It's a very heartfelt poem, and forms part of Part 1 of the album (titled "Body of Life"). The album is divided into three parts, and each part is it's own "Body of life". The first poem is one of my favourites on the album, including the 5th track "Amarantha", "Sparks, Darlng", "To the Caterpillar I left behind", "Gowokani" and last but not least (I think I like this one the most) the 11th track on the album. Had this poem on repeat for while. The piano melody compliments the poem and her voice so well, and the message behind the poem speaks towards taking care of one's self and self love/ kindness. I can really relate to this poem on so many levels. You can listen to more of her work here.

Moving down to Zimbabwe, Litfest Harare has started and will be running until the first of December, so do make sure you check it out if you're in the capital city. For more information about the festival, do check out their Facebook page / website. Today they had a panel discussion on "How Digital Tools Affect Content Sharing and Storytelling" with Kudzanai Thondlana, Tafadzwa Tarumbwa and Ish Mafundikwa, moderated by Afric McGlichey. The festival features a number of writers/poets such as Philani A Nyoni, Tinashe Tafirenyika, Batsirai Chigama and Madzitatiguru just to name a few. If you are in Harare today you can catch the "Love letters to Africa" - Poetry performance tonight at 7pm @ Theater in the Park (For more info, click here).



Alright, I'd like to quickly send a shout out to Anga Mafanya, who recently performed at TEDx Pretoria; Puno Selesho for hosting her one woman poetry show earlier this month; Hlengiwe Mbuthuma, who will be hosting "Types and Typos" on the 1st of December in Joburg, so do make sure you don't miss out (Find our more about the poetry event here & holla at Fresh Impression Africa for tickets); and Sicknatcha Poetry Movement for hosting their second annual #PayThePoetFestival in Bloemfontein. On the topic of festivals: Kimberly will be hosting Awakening Social Sessions festival from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December. As stated earlier, The Radioactive blog will unfortunately not be able to be part of the festival this year, but we know that it''s still going to be lit. These are some of the dope poets that will be featuring at the festival, so you don't want to miss out (Find more info here):

Abantu Book festival is around the corner, and this year will be my first time attending the festival. You can keep up to date with what will be happening during the festival, as well the build up via their Facebook event page / Abantu website. One of the major highlights will definitely be the session with Chimamande Ngozi. If you'll also be attending, then let's link up, and don't forget to use the hashtag #AbantuBookFest. If you haven't checked out the program yet, then this link "here" is for you. Most of the sessions will be at the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre. These are some of the poets/writers that will be featuring at this year's festival in Soweto :

We're now going to quickly pop in to Botswana where the Maun International Arts Festival 2018 (organised by Poetavango) is currently on. The festival started on the 24th of November and will be ending on the 1st December, so if you're Botswana, make sure you don't miss it. On Friday the 30th (tomorrow), there'll be a lot of poetry on show, so make sure you pull through because they also have a great line up of artists. You can find out more about the festival via their Facebook event page, and all the best to those participating in the Poetry Slam. (I wonder if Hape Mokhele is going slam? lol). Here are some of the poets that will be performing at #MIAF18 :


We've finally got to the end of the article, and I thought I would just let you know that Badilisha Poetry X-change got a new site coming soon. For those not familiar with Badilisha, it's "both an online audio archive and Pan-African poetry show delivered in radio format. Now the largest online collective of African poets on the planet, it has showcased and archived over 500 Pan-African poets from 28 different countries. It also reflects the myriad of rhythms and rhymes, voices, perspectives and aspirations from all corners of the globe." You can have a look at their current site here. I can't wait to see what the new site looks like, as well as the programs/ initiatives they have planned for 2019 and going forward.

Aaaand that's a wrap for Radioactive Poetry 1.1. As you can see, there's a lot of poetry happening, so you got more than enough events to keep you busy over the next 2 weeks or so. For those in Jozi, don't forget the #TEWOP1on1Slam that's happening on the first of December, and if you're going to be at Abantu Book festival, let's link up fam. Holla at your boi @2tukani on Twitter / Instagram. (And before I forget, I'm still looking a place to stay during #AbantuBookFest, so if you (or know someone that can) provide a brother with a couch and a blanket for 2 nights, please let me know. lol

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Peace out, and #StayBlessed

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Phindu Zaie Banda
Phindu Zaie Banda
Dec 01, 2018

Oh my goodness, TK! This is amazing. Thank you for the feature. Can't wait to read the next entry. 💃💃💃

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