Johannesburg and Cape Town : 16 Oct to 28 Oct 2010

Urban Voices International Poetry and Theatre Festival 2010, once again promises to deliver an original, diverse and cutting edge of the spoken word for the South African aficionados of the arts. “for this year´s festival we have has scouted far and wide, both locally and internationally, searching for the best most talented, and progressive poets and artists who will not only entertain South African audiences but challenge them intellectually”, says Roshnie Moonsammy, executive director and founder of Urban Voices and its mother body the Southern African Arts Exchange (SAAE).

The 2010 poetry and theatre festival will feature international award winning artists from hip hop theatre and performance poetry eclectically influenced from Asia, USA, Puerto Rico and South Africa. “Urban Voices 2010¨ continues with its programmes of mutual learning with Africans on the continent and in the diaspora which the organization says it must capture the enthusiasm over South Africa and the continent, particularly building on the social gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Our festival presents opportunities for people to connect, to enjoy and work together to building solidarity through culture and the arts for a just world, a vibrant and democratic Africa with informed citizens ” said Moonsammy.

Urban Voices 2010 – Theatre and Poetry Festival

International Hip Hop Theatre:

Lemon Andersen in “ County of Kings “ – Produced by Spike Lee

For the first time, Urban Voices programme features HIP HOP Theatre with Lemon Andersen in’ County of Kings’, produced by the award winning director Spike Lee. The County of Kings, a one man performance play, traces the history and influence of Hip Hopy award winning poet, Lemon Andersen, from Russel Simmons ‘Def Poetry Jam on Broadway” produces an electrifying and compelling solo theatre performance. . He acted opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s *Inside Man*, and is featured in *The Soloist*, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.

County of Kings is set during one of the most influential cultural movement of our time. This cultural movement is the birth of Hip-Hop. County of Kings, which was written and performed by Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican poet, Lemon Andersen, who gives a tough and moving biographical account of a good kid growing up in an unforgiving environment. Mixing difficult drama and occasional humor with his own brand of Urban Poetry, Lemon uses his unique perspective and talent to bring his true , own coming-of-age story to life. This is what the international press have to say about…

  • ‘County of Kings’ – ‘More Energy than any stage can contain!’ – New York Post
  • ‘Mr. Andersen has a distinct talent that makes words sing in a way that insist you listen.’ –New York Times
  • “Electrifyingly Fresh!’ – Time Out, New York

Schedule of Performance for ‘County of Kings’ :

Sat 16 October 2010 @ 3pm, Market Theatre Lab
Thurs 21 and Fri 22 October 2010 @ 8pm, Market Theatre Lab

Cape Town:
Thurs 28 October 2010@ 11am and 8pm, Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch

Poetry Festival:

Sat 23 October 2010 @ 8pm, Bassline , Newtown

Cape Town:
Wed 27 October 2010 @ 8pm, Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch

Urban Voice Poetry Festival once again features performers who are entertaining, inspiring and original from South African and overseas.

The poetry menu is filled with voices that will fill the soul, and they are: From New York: Patricia Smith and Lemon Andersen, From Los Angeles : Asian-American Beau Sia and various poets from South Africa including Natalia Molebatsi.

Patricia Smith : From New York

Patricia Smith, lauded by critics as “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” is the author of five acclaimed poetry volumes. African – American, Patricia Smith, is an established writer , performer and academic who has received several international literary awards including being a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award for her ground breaking ‘Blood Dazzler’ which chronicles the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. Smith is also a four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam —the most successful slammer in the competition’s history- –Smith has also been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and has performed three one-woman plays, one produced by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott.

Beau Sia : Philipines/Los Angeles

Chinese- American poet, Beau Sia, who makes his second visit to South Africa will present his new work, which is expected to be both humorous and hard hitting, as he poetically engages on issues which affect the personal and the social landscape he inhabits.

Beau has been featured in the award-winning film Slam and the documentary Slam Nation. As an author, Beau wrote the poetry book A Night Without Armor II: The Revenge. A few of the anthologies his work appears in, include, Def Poetry Jam on Broadway… and more, Why Freedom Matters, and Spoken Word Revolution. Beau has two spoken word CD’s, Attack! Attack! Go! and Dope and Wack. He was a recipient of the California Arts Council Writer-in-Residence grant for Youth Speaks in 2001-2002, and was the lead artist for the Creative Work Fund. Beau has appeared on all seasons of HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry,” 2003 Tony Awards. He is one of the original cast members in Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, a 2003 Special Event Tony Award Winner.

He has toured internationally and is currently working on a new theater piece for the opening of the Museum of the Chinese in America in New York City. He is the 2008 recipient of the Local Hero Award from KCET for Asian American Heritage Month. He was recently a part of the ensemble cast of Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel’s Getting Married” released by Sony Pictures Classics in 2008

Natalia Molebatsi : South Africa

South African poet Natalia Molebatsi, is one of the most committed young writers and spoken word artists to come out of South Africa´s creative townships. The outspoken 28 year old cultural activist usually “breaks” into song while reciting poetry, influenced by and often experimenting with jazz, dub, hip hop and reggae from all generations. Natalia Molebatsi has recently released her debut collection of poems, Sardo Dance, published through Ge’ko, and in 2008 edited the poetry anthology We Are… published by Penguin South Africa. She is currently completing her second collection Dog Souljah, and other poems. Natalia Molebatsi has graced stages in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Holland, Italy and Nigeria

Lisa Combrinck: South Africa

Spokesperson for the Department of Arts and Culture, Lisa Combrinck is also a poet and writer. Her poems have been widely anthologized. An infinite Longing for Love. Lisa’s poetry collection , was published in 2005 by Skotaville Media. She is a former Books Editor and columnist for the Sowetan.

She was assistant editor for the Southern African Review of Books, a lecturer in the English Dept of Vista University, speechwriter in the President’s office, media liaison officer for the Minister of Communications and Director of Media Research at the then Dept of Foreign Affairs. She was the first Chair of the Literature Panel of the National Arts Council of South Africa. She obtained her BA Honours and Masters degrees from the University of Cape Town.

Toni Stuart: South Africa

Toni Stuart, 26, is a poet, writer and journalist, now running an after school programme for young people at Hout Bay High. She started writing poetry at 15, and it was her love for writing that led to a career in journalism.

In 2003, she started performing poetry with Dala Flat Music and in 2004, with the record label, held 38 Special words and music: a monthly event of poetry and music collaboration. For three years she was part of the And Word Was Woman Ensemble: a performance poetry group which featured at events such as Cape Town Book Festival, Woman’s Parliament and Cape Town Festival among others.

She is now focusing on working with young people, using poetry as a means of self-expression, self-discovery so they can find their voice and tell their stories.

Workshop Programme:

Several poetry and theatre workshops will be held involving local and international artists. The workshops will take place in Joburg for members of the cultural community, for high schools as well as a workshop at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre (Sun City Prison ) for both male and female offenders. Watch this space for more info or email us at info@artsexchange.co.za

A number of workshops have been planned including some at selected schools programmes, and schools interested in attending must contact the organization timeously.


Patricia Smith, renowned performance poet, national Book Award Finalist, four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam and featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, will be visiting Wits University on 25 October 2010. Please join us for an afternoon of engagement with this exciting poet, author and scholar.

  • Date: 25 October 2010
  • Time: 15:00 – 17:00
  • Venue: Media Room, 3rd floor, Senate House, Wits University

Hosted by Urban Voices International Festival, The Faculty of Humanities, The Department of African Literature and Wits Writing Centre. See www.urbanvoices.co.za for updates and further information. Please RSVP to Dee Marco: derilene.marco@wits.ac.za by 24 September.

Media enquiries only: 011 726 6916
You are expected to buy tickets at Computicket early to avoid disappointment.