Uganda, South Sudan shine at East Africa Poetic Hour in Kisumu

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Awe-inspiring poets from Uganda and South Sudan Uganda were crowned the winners of this year’s East Africa Poetic Hour Battle Edition.

The scintillating poetry gala night on May 25, lived up to its billing to produce an unforgettable celebration of poetry, creativity, and cultural diversity at a Kisumu hotel yesterday.

Overall winner Laker Patience (Uganda), and runners-up Alek Paul Mayen and Priscilla Ayuen (both from South Sudan) respectively rose through the stages to shrug off stiff competition from Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda contestants.

This year’s theme; “Capitalizing On Creativity: Unlocking Economic Opportunities through Poetic Expression,’’ underscores the economic potential of poetry, arts and the ability of poets to leverage their skills for economic gains.

The youthful performances were curated to aid in sparking conversations on Poetry as a tool for embracing, preserving and promoting the rich African cultural heritage.

The annual regional poetic battle seeks to harness creative voices in the championship for talent expression, peace,de-radicalization, and climate change action.

In addition, the organizers are keen on entertainment, and culture promotion and connect over a million East African people through mainstream, print, and social media platforms within two months.

The presentations centred on three thematic areas; Misinformation; Capitalizing on Creativity; and Aesthetics of Africa.

CS Ababu Namwamba addresses the East Africa Poetic Battle Hour 2024 Edition held at a Kisumu hotel on May 25. He was flanked by the Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o and Nyong’o’s spouse Dorothy Nyong’o.
Photo Courtesy

Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports CS Ababu Namwamba who was the Chief Guest remarked that the Ministry is not only keen on identifying and nurturing talents but also helps creators monetize their content.

“Poetry is the height of civilization in all facets of human life. Politics and Poetry are closely interwoven and today I have had the time of my life by enjoying the productions which were all about values,’’ he added.

Establishing talent facilities

Namwamba reiterated the need to have a state-of-the-art theatre in Kisumu to assist in the promotion of music, poetry, fashion, dance and pageantry in the Western region.

“We can’t have an East Africa Cultural event without a theatre and we have set the wheels in motion with the Kenya Cultural Centre to support this initiative.It will help in organizing events across the country and go beyond the Africa region,’’ CS Ababu noted upon a request from the Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o.

Nyong’o said that poets are doing a wonderful job of summarizing the short version of life as he pointed out Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino as a critic of the messaging summary of what is happening in East Africa.

The event was also graced by First Lady Dorothy Nyong’o, Mr Michael Pundo, CEO of Kenya Cultural Centre, and Hon Beatrice Odongo, CEC Member for the Department of Sports, Culture, Gender  and Youth among other guests.

Godfrey Emoja, East Africa Poetic Battle Director emphasized that the event achieved its aims through engaging performances, interactive workshops, and thought-provoking discussions.

“We will continue to inspire, educate, and empower audiences while fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of poetry,’’ Emoja clarified.

Kisumu-based Angels of  Sunset intermittently performed two well-choreographed dances to wow those in attendance. The judges advised the poets towards being more articulate in producing works in their local dialects rather than laying more emphasis on foreign languages.

we will continue to inspire, educate, and empower audiences while fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of poetry

Godfrey Emoja, East Africa Poetic Battle Director

The winners scooped awards with a package amounting to Sh350,000.

After showcasing their on-stage talent and creativity dominance, the three will now hold aloft the region’s poetic torch to face other formidable opponents in the forthcoming

After the crowning moments during an interview with the media, the jubilant winners assured that they would work extra hard to polish their performances in the upcoming events.

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