On Sunday 20th October, poets and lovers of art gathered on 7th Street in Melville for the Melville Poetry Festival. Though the weather was gloomy and the program ran a bit late, that did not stop the festivities going on, with Sophiatown and others restaurants filled with eager listeners as poetry by the likes of Lebohang ‘Nova’ Masango, Mac Manaka, Kagiso Tshepe and many others filled the room with beautiful words.
But what was truly amazing about this poetry festival was the coming together of the different generations of poets and poetic styles. The range of poetry went from slam to Isicamtho, the original ‘tsotsi-taal’, with poems from Lesego Rampolokeng, Ike Mboneni Muila, Thabiso Mohare and Nolife taking us on different journeys and experiences.
“Art involves exploration.” – Professor Keorapetsi Kgostilsile
At the end of it all there was a talk between Phillippa Yaa De Villiers and Professor Keorapetsi Kgostilsile. They touched base on the different styles of poetry and the Professor spoke about his influence on the hip hop scene/culture in the USA and his part in The Last Poets. What stood out and bridged the generational gap most was the fact that his son is Earl Sweatshirt, a part of the clique Odd Future and one of the best young lyrists in the USA right now. So one could imagine the roll the Professor played in Earl’s hip hop career and the careers of many other young hip hop personalities.