July 28, 2021

Ethiopia to host continental poetry contest

City: Addis AbabaCreative ArtsArts/Culture

The Africa Cup of Slam Poetry, a continental poetry competition will be held in Addis Ababa, in the coming Nov, collaborating with Poetic Saturday.

Avatar: Naol Getachew
By Naol Getachew

Naol is a journalist and fact-checker at Addis Zeybe for HaqCheck. He is a professional working in the fields of fact-checking, journalism, online storytelling, and translation.

Ethiopia to host continental poetry contest
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(Image: the 1st CASP in Chad)

The second edition of The Africa Cup of Slam Poetry, a continental poetry competition, is set to be held in Addis Ababa. Scheduled to be held in November, the program will be hosted in collaboration with Poetic Saturday, which is its regional partner in Ethiopia. 

Founded in April 2016 by Christine Yohannes, a poet, writer, and journalist, Poetic Saturday is a creative platform for performing artists. The monthly event aims at creating free space, especially for beginner artists, with all performance styles and all languages welcome. 

A poetry slam is a competition arts event in which poets perform spoken word poetry before a live audience and a panel of judges.

CASP (Coupe d'Afrique de Slam Poésie) was founded in Cameroon in 2016 to function as the networking, supporting, and organizing slam communities across the continent, Africa. 

The Africa Cup of Slam Poetry is a continental competition that takes place every two years. The first edition took place in N'Djamena, Chad, in 2018. It had 20 countries as participants and Senegal won the competition.

Biniam Getaneh, the lead organizer at Poetic Saturday, participated in the first CASP in N’Djamena as an ambassador representing Ethiopia with Tsion Terefe. Poetic Saturday was picked to host the second African slam poetry competition winning a fierce battle with 12 African countries. 

The second Slam competition was scheduled to be held in Nov 2020. But it has been pushed to this year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the Slam competition, which will be held in three rounds, 33 local champion African poets will participate. The first two rounds were held from 19 July to 24 July 2021 virtually with Zoom meeting. 

The opening was held on Monday 19 July 2021, and the first round was held the next day Some33 competitors with four groups performed their arts and were evaluated by judges with their content, word usage, and performance. All 16 countries including Ethiopia, Madagascar, Togo, and Chad passed to the next round competition, which was held on 24 July 2021.  

In the 2nd round, the 16 countries with two groups continued their poetic competition virtually, and finally, eight were confirmed as finalists of CASP 2021 for the final round that will be held in November at Addis Ababa. The finalists are Cameron who is the winner of the first  CASP, Madagascar, Guinea, Algeria, Botswana, Togo, Mauritius, and Chad. The hosting country, Ethiopia represented by Seife Temam, couldn't make it to the final.

(Image: Seife Temam, Ethiopian Competitor) 

“The final competitors will perform their arts on the Nov 2021 CASP art festival in Addis Ababa physically not virtually,” Biniam said.