It’s World Poetry Day on 21st March, a date that was founded by UNESCO in 1999. It recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind, support linguistic diversity through poetic expression while offering endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
A global celebration, the day is recognised in South Africa too and citizens are encouraged to read, write, teach and publish poetry and appreciate the great cultural contribution it makes to society.
Marking this cultural event is a unique collaboration among vida e caffé, Hear My Voice and Retail Capital. Leading up to World Poetry Day, budding and professional poets are invited to write and share original poems, and post them to their social media platforms.
Founder & Director of Hear My Voice – a non-profit organisation based in the City of Tshwane, South Africa that develops spoken word artists as well as creates open and uncensored platforms for self-expression through spoken word poetry – Phomolo Sekamotho says of the collaboration:
“This initiative is an exhibition and reminder that together more can be achieved and wider audiences can be reached. As an entity that serves a marginalised community, it’s also fitting that the initiative happens on Human Rights Day, which further emphasises the need for collaboration, inclusion and support for youth voices.”
The opportunity for new voices to be given a platform to showcase their work was initiated by Retail Capital, an SME financier. An avid supporter of the arts, Erin Louw, from Retail Capital says,” Making your voice heard through the written word is one of the oldest and purest forms of art and as a business we are very proud to support vida and Hear My Voice in their quest to bring marginalised voices to the fore on a very important day for our country.”
Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffé says that the collaboration is a natural fit for the vida brand. “Built around self-expression, we have always had a relationship with and supported the arts over the years. We are constantly looking at how we can give back, while building local communities within our wider reach.”
To get involved, poets must post a picture of their poems (of between 50 to 200 words) to their socials, tagging @vidaecaffe_official, @RetailCapital @HearmyvoiceSA and using #vidaforpoems. Every entrant receives a free cup of vida coffee redeemable country-wide via its app.
“To bring this exhibition to life we will be hosting a live poetry session with poets Siphokazi Jonas, Jolyn Phillips and Maneo Mohale on 21st March on Facebook between 16h00 and 17h00. This is a great opportunity to expose young talent while also creating a platform for poetry lovers to participate,” ends Levy.