Youth day, celebrated each year on June 16, depicts a turbulent past. A commemoration of The Soweto uprising, where thousands of South African students took to the streets to protest the oppressive apartheid regime and its order to have Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools, the day celebrates the energetic African youth in enhancing change. On the chilly evening of Friday 26 June, local poets gathered in the intimate Little Theatre, at the National Museum, to chronicle the celebration of the African child under a bold theme, ‘Colour Me African.’
Poems recited varied from those about embracing one’s skin to sentimental love ones. The show was an emotional rollercoaster; transporting one from humour, through love, melancholy to sheer pain.
“We wanted to celebrate what it means to be African, how the youth can embrace that aspect of themselves. As much as there are many issues facing the youth, there are also many things to celebrate and we seek to showcase the power and diversity of our voices,” said one of the event organizers, Neo Kitso.
According to Kitso, Poet’s Passport is now a registered non-profit organization and has since partnered with ‘Friends of the Museum’ to assist in hosting the poetry nights.
Amongst the poems that stood out was The Ansa’s Pen African which had many applauding as it depicted the power of the pen in projecting the African story. Joe’s mix of song and strong lyricism in his untitled piece also enthralled the audience. “My skin is the colour of many midnights and it is beautiful,” recited one poet. To add some versatility to poetry, Wabo Motiki staged a phenomenal dance act to the delight of the crowd.
“I enjoyed the artistic atmosphere. It was the first time I attended the poetry night and I’m definitely coming for their next show,” said the delighted Aobakwe, one of the attendees.
The poetry sessions are held every last Friday of each month, and it is a platform that offers both emerging and established poets the space to share their work.