#FreshPoetryTour: What a time to be alive!

A 21-city poetry tour! What a time to be alive. We caught up with the Fresh Poetry Tour organiser, Harold Moyo, to find out all about the exciting few weeks that will see Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye and Puno Selesho traveling the country for performances in 21 different venues.

Wow! A 21-city tour, now that is amazing! How did the tour come about?
How Fresh Poetry Tour came about was through a series of poetry events and being in literature spaces. In 2017 Poets In Autumn tour we had give or take about 3000 people who came to watch poetry in one seating and this gave me mixed feelings, I was happy for the numbers but I was also saddened by the fact that it will take sweat and tears for local acts to attract the same numbers. It seemed that just before then and even after I realized there is a lot of talented poets in the country which needed to be celebrated & given platforms to almost all of South Africa, I then decided in 2018 that early 2019 we are not booking any American artist but we are putting our resources into a local poetry tour and here we are.

What have been the major challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
Putting this tour is a challenge on itself. Sponsorships don’t come easy, actually it don’t come at all, I can only count five victories and that’s mostly with four free venues and Love Ur Locks which offered to drive us around.

  • You have to convince the consumer that the local acts are worth their money and time when it’s easy for them to jump when an international act comes
  • In some of these places, poetry is non-existent and it takes a lot of faith and courage to keep positive
  • Artists want to be on the bill for them to support
  • Poetry is not a mainstream sport so there is a fear of failing but we gave ourselves a realistic target and that’s to reach between 2000 – 2500
  • We will only overcome when the tour is fully done

Got any tips for anyone looking to pull off a tour like this in the future?
If you are not an optimist and full of faith then this can’t happen. You have to believe and make sure your team on the ground is not all talk but above all JUST DO IT!

Check out the Fresh Poetry Festival in a city near you
01 Feb Witbank – GateWay International
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Hlengiwe Mbuthuma, Nsuku Nxumalo

02 Feb Nelspruit – Kuzuri Restaurant
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Hlengiwe Mbuthuma, Nsuku Nxumalo

03 Feb Standerton – Sakhile Hall
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Hlengiwe Mbuthuma, Nsuku Nxumalo

08 Feb Rustenburg – Tlhabane Community Hall
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho, Tiisetso Tsotetsi

09 Feb Johannesburg – SABC Radio Park
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Puno Selesho, Sydney Mofokeng, Hlengiwe Mbuthuma, Africa Mpilo

10 Feb Soweto – 1859 Nuse Street Rockville
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho, Tiisetso Tsotetsi, Kelebogile Legoko

15 Feb Port Elizabeth – Little Theatre
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye

16 Feb Grahamstown – The Rustic Route (food market)
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye

17 Feb QueensTown – St Michaels 2pm
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Michelle Mbolompo

17 Feb East London – Buffalo City College
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye

22 Feb Mthatha – WSU
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho

23 Feb Durban – The Joint Jazz Cafe
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho

24 Feb PMB – UKZN PMB
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho

28 Feb Bloemfontein – Albert Wessels Auditorium (UFS)
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Lukanyo Hlongwane, Patience Labane

01 March Kimberley – Protea Hotel
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Lukanyo Hlongwane, Gwyenth Van Nel

02 March Cape Town – Nice Beard Studios
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye, Lukanyo Hlongwane

03 March Worcester
Siphokazi Jonas, Emmah Mabye

08 March Polokwane
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho

09 March Vaal – One Way
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho, Vus’umuzi Phakathi, Neo Molope.

09 March Pretoria – State Theatre
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho, Busisiwe Hlongwane, Hope Netshivhale, Ilze Gopal

10 March Potch – NWU
Siphokazi Jonas, Puno Selesho

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