Q&A – Anthony Molosi (Botswana): Poetry Africa Words on the Times

AiW Guest: Anthony Molosi.PoetryAfrica_2021_narrowWeb (1)AiW note: In collaboration with Poetry Africa – presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal – we offer here a mini-series of our Words on the Times Q&As, with poets who are participating in the ‘powering up’ and ‘unmuting’ that is the theme of the festival this year, and as the 25th anniversary edition of Poetry Africa sets its stage for poetry from South Africa, the African Continent, and around the world…

page-dividerOur latest in the ‘Poetry Africa Poets’ Words on the Times’ mini-series is with spoken word poet and emcee Anthony Molosi from Botswana, ahead of his appearance in the Day 4 #Unmute session of the festival, Unmute: Power to the Poet  (Thursday 14 October, 17.00 CAT).

(For those not familiar with our Q&A subset, Words on the Times was initiated here at AiW as we began to go into our various lockdowns, #covoids, and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic…).

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About Anthony Molosi

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Anthony Molosi is a spoken word poet and a corporate emcee based in Maun, Botswana. His discipline focuses, and speaks to, amongst many, issues of Pan-Africanism, spirituality, social justice and love. In addressing the issue of love, he intentionally writes primarily in Setswana (his indigenous language) as a way of playing a role in language preservation, as he believes that language is the most imperative aspect of culture. He writes with a primary aim of decolonising himself and his people; to bring about awareness on the importance of Africa’s self-determination and will in socio-political, cultural and economic issues.

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Poetry Africa Words on the Times – with Anthony Molosi

AiW: Could you tell us a bit about your involvement with the Poetry Africa festival this year? 

Anthony Molosi: I got invited to be part of Poetry Africa through my participation in the second annual Africa cup of Slam poetry, representing my country, Botswana. The competition which started off with 33 slammers across the continent took place in July, and the slammers participated in 2 virtual elimination rounds (round of 33, qualifying for the round of 16). I was fortunate enough to make it through to the round of 8 in which participants were to compete in person in Ethiopia, in November 2021. All 8 participants were offered the great opportunity to be part of Poetry Africa. I will be performing on the 14th of October at an event, within the Poetry Africa festival, titled “Unmute: Power of the poet,” together with a number of incredible poets. I would like to take this moment to appreciate Poetry Africa.

AiW: And could you tell us a bit more about your own work, as well as the ways that the pandemic has affected your plans for it? 

The pandemic was quite a challenge in terms of physical performances; movement and gathering restrictions meant the local and international gigs that I had lined up were either cancelled or postponed. Nevertheless, I used the situation to shift and try to look for opportunities in the virtual space: I got to learn that the virtual space has unlimited opportunities, provided one knows how to properly package themselves for that market. 

I started working on a manuscript which I’m hoping to complete soon. I also had the opportunity to perform in various online events and festivals, like the 10th annual Jamaica Poetry Festival, the 2020 Piton Film Festival Poetry Jam, the 2020 Poetic Justice League, South Africa, and others.

AiW: In what ways are you working now that you weren’t before, or how are things on the ground where you are now?

I have learned, and am still learning, to fully adapt to the ‘new normal’. I understand that things may never go back to the old normal, and even if they do, it won’t be the same; hence I have to embrace the new… Now, outside my performance work, I facilitate on topics of professionalism and developing an online presence for other local artists.

AiW: What have you found most supportive and/or heart lifting in this time? 

The fact that there are platforms like Poetry Africa, iSupport Creative Business, and others that understand the struggles and what it means to be an artist, so much so that they can even reach out and extend an olive branch.  

AiW: How can our blog communities best support you? 

Through sharing available online opportunities, and opportunities like this one through which we get coverage because with that comes exposure.

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PoetryAfrica_2021_HostedByVerticalBannerAll four of our Poetry Africa Words on the Times poets will be appearing today (Thursday 14th) at the festival.

The ‘Unmute: Power to the Poet’ sessions have been/are running each day at the same time, Tues-Thurs, gathering international poets on the overall festival theme.

Anthony will be performing in the 3rd #Unmute session later today with Gubhela (SA), Musa Hawamdeh (Jordan), Xabiso Vili (SA), Hlox Rebel (SA), Torsten Clear Rybka (SA), Narcisse (Switzerland), Mjele Msimang (SA), and Andriy Lyubka (Ukraine). 

W.Charly, who offered us his Poetry Africa Words on the Times on Tuesday, en francais, will also be appearing in this session (we had some crossed wires and thought it was Wednesday!).

Andriy Lyubka, also performing in the #Unmute session today, shared his Poetry Africa Words on the Times yesterday with us…

During these times of a pandemic, we experience a digital highway in which we can get lost in algorithms generated for us, somewhere between fake and fact. A world in which we are unsure who or what to believe. The poet’s role is to help us persevere during these times of lockdowns, loneliness, and fear. The poet can appeal to something deep within us that is fostered within our communities. Poets can inspire with us their power to influence societies and possess the ability to show us things through a different lens. During times of fake news and authoritarian tendencies, our society may need poets more than ever to shine a light on certain truths and to unite communities. We need poets to articulate for us, give us another prospect and shift time.  Therefore, this session is themed after the festival theme: Unmute: Power to the Poet. What works will these poets bring now that the power is in their hands?

Christine Yohannes, whose Poetry Africa Words on the Times were published on Monday, will also be participating in the following session later today…SayNoToCorruption_PoetryAfrica

Host: Khwezi Becker

Panelists: Athol Williams(SA), Christine Yohannes (Ethiopia), Hlox the Rebel (South Africa), Xabiso Vili (South Africa)

Link through to catch up with the Words on the Times Poetry Africa collab mini-series here…

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Today’s Poetry Africa line up is below but find the full details of the rest of the programme at their website, and stream events live at: facebook.com/poetryafrica and youtube.com/centreforcreat.

PoetryAfrica_ProgDay4page-dividerThis year’s Poetry Africa featured poet Siphokazi Jonas’ award-winning film will also screen online today… 

And catch Siphokazi at this session tomorrow – 

page-dividerPOETRY AFRICA – programme & details

FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER
#unmute
And some highlights so far…

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