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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Celebrating African poetry


In the week leading up to World Poetry Day on 21 March, the Cluster of Excellence celebrated the richness of poetry the African continent has to offer. Every day, a Cluster member or affiliate presented their favorite African poet providing us with a miniscule glimpse into the abundant wealth of African wordsmiths.

African poetry by nature is a large and complex subject. After all, a continent comprising 55 countries and approximately 2.000 languages naturally brings forth a seemingly endless abundance of poetic art. In spite of this multi-faceted wealth all poetry in Africa and in the rest of the world has a common denominator: The artistic discipline is considered one of the most important means of human expression, an instrument to display experiences and life-worlds in an understandable and relatable manner.

That is why UNESCO has called for an international Remembrance Day: “World Poetry Day” is celebrated internationally on 21 March. In its statement UNESCO points out: “Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.”

In honour of "World Poetry Day" Cluster of Excellence made the week leading up to the event "African Poetry Week" (15.03.-21.03.) asking members and affiliates to share their personal favourite poets with the interested public. “We are aware that we can only show a miniscule glimpse into the world of African poetry”, says Prof. Dr. Ute Fendler, Vice Dean of Internationalisation and Public Engagement and Member of the Cluster’s Research Section “Arts & Aesthetics”, “but we would like to take this opportunity to give African poets a platform and maybe inspire the interested public to take a closer look into this artistic genre.” (sg)

In 2021, the following artists were showcased as examples of Africa’s extensive poetic treasure:

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