Live Writing at the 2014 Nation Arts Festival

Rhodes University's MA programme in Creative Writing participated in an exciting programme of readings, discussions and launches as part of this year’s Word Fest during the Nation Arts Festival (3 – 13 July 2014). A platform for South African writers and publishers, Word Fest is an annual multilingual festival of languages and literatures that celebrates the word.

 The 2014 Live Writing sessions featured MA in Creative Writing teachers, guest authors and students reading new poetry and fiction. Poets Lesego Rampolokeng, Vonani Bila, Joan Metelerkamp, all of whom teach at RU MACW, were joined by Ari Sitas, Alan Finlay, Gary Cummiskey, Kobus Moolman, David Maahlamela, Kobus Moolman and more, while RU MACW teacher and author Kgebetli Moele presented prose alongside students Laura Watermeyer, Henali Kuit and Shelter Musavengana.

 The highlight of the event was a tribute to Mafika Gwala. One of SA’s greatest poets, Gwala emerged as a significant writer in the 1970s during his association with the black South African Student Organisation and the Black Community Programmes in Durban. A prominent activist and an advocate of Black Consciousness, his poetry rose out of poverty, oppression, physical and mental pain to reclaim dignity and beauty. Writing in the spirit and rhythm of jazz, he creates living music, finding the perfect low tone of oppression and the highs of liberation. His poetry collections include Jol’iinkomo (1977) and No More Lullabies (1982). For the tribute, Gwala was joined on stage by Rampolokeng, Bila, wa Maahlamela, Robert Berold and more.

This year’s Wordfest also featured the launch of New Coin's 50th anniversary exhibition. Read more about the launch here (

There were also plenty of book launches, including new books by Moele and Metelerkamp, as well as a new poetry anthology In the Heat of Shadows: South African Poetry 1996-2013 Deep South, 2014). Edited by Mellon Writer in Residence, Denis Hirson, the anthology features work by 32 of South Africa’s most acclaimed poets including Mxolisi Nyezwa, Bila and Berold.

 Finally, Rampolokeng débuted Word Down the Line, his new film engaging poets of conscience, poets whose work he has grappled with, and been inspired by, to ask what we have to celebrate after 20 years of democracy.


Last Modified: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:26:12 SAST