FOUR local artists will participate in this year’s International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech to be held from September 13-17 in Stavanger, Norway.
riter Chenjerai Hove, satiric poet Chirikure Chirikure, mbira songbird Chiwoniso Maraire and Okay Machisa will participate at the five-day international festival that will include more than 20 artists from the continent.
Stavanger International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech is held every year focusing on a certain region, country or continent.
The festival is designed to address political and social questions, which are discussed in seminars and public debates.
This year the focus is on Africa as viewed by African writers and other artists.
Part of the activities at the festival will include debates on the effectiveness of aid in Africa.
Chirikure will perform at the opening evening and at a concert on September 15 where prominent authors such as Ben Okri (Nigeria), Benjamin Zephaniah (Jamaica/UK), Jack Mapanje (Malawi), Kat Francois (Grenada/UK) and Linton Kwesi Johnson (Jamaica/UK) will read.
Chirikure will be assisted by Maraire and Machisa to stage a musical performance on the opening evening.
“Yes I will be performing at the Stavanger festival and will be reading some of my best poems in line with the schedule and themes of the festival,” said Chirikure.
Chirikure, one of the performing poets in Zimbabwe has written a number of poems that include Chamupupuri (The Whirlwind), Yakarwiwa nesu (We fought the war) and Musha watsakatika (The family is destroyed).
Hove said he would be reading some of his latest unpublished poems at the festival.
“I will be reading some of my latest unpublished poems as well as participating in a series of debates on poetry, language issues in Africa and development aid. African religion in the face of European missionary involvement in Africa will also be discussed,” he said.
Hove lamented the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country saying he doesn’t know when he will come back to his homeland as dictatorship has made it impossible for him to return to Zimbabwe.
“I don’t know. Zimbabwe has been turned into a violent country in which people’s lives are loaded with fear,” he said. “My nervous disposition is such that I don’t want to live under a dictatorship anymore.”