#AtiBwanji Poetry Slam 2022: The Road to Intwasa 

Picture of participants and audience at the #Atibwanji Poetry Slam of 27th August 2022

With Intwasa ARTS Festival KoBULAWAYO around the corner, Bulawayo readying her hearth to warm Southern echelons of Africa, Word Smash Poetry Movement did not fold its arms in a stalemate. On 27th August 2022, we held our most anticipated poetry slam to pick our contribution to the 18th edition of the festival running from 26th September – 1 October 2022. 

We attracted more than 20 poets in the Slam, and more than 10 sacrificial poets to fill the open mic slot. Like our usual slams, it was a slam to be a part of; in the audience caging imagery or on the stage giving wings to words. Unlike our usual slams where winners were poets we already knew, this day went to 3 poets that were new to our eyes and ears. This was exciting to us as organizers and also [we think] to our spectators as the experience served was fresh and full of a novel application of poetics and charisma. 

Another exciting note about the #HowFar Slam was the theme on which it was hinged. We set out to explore and interrogate how far the UPND Government has gone in delivering on their campaign promises, this month having marked their 1-year tenure of this country’s political leadership. We were attuned and very hopeful that even on this day poetry would expose us to the socio-economic realities of the country, our communities, and people in general. Poets delivered on this front, we made sure the first round of the slam only admitted to the stage poets that had a message advancing our learnings in this regard. Young people creatively critiqued the efforts and misses of the current government, of course, clearly suggesting the remedial courses of action too. 

In the end, we ended up with 3 finalists in the persons of [1st placed] Andrew Simutinta, [2nd placed] Kondwani S. Bwalya, and [3rd placed] Vyane Nayame. As advertised, the first-place winner gets away with a sponsored trip to and participation at the Intwasa Art Festival in Zimbabwe and a grand cash prize of K2,000.00. At the event, we further announced that the remaining finalists will too get a chance to be sponsored to other festivals opening in the last quarter of the year as they open and as funds permit. All three finalists went away with a copy of a classic book courtesy of Word Smash Poetry, and the other two poets who made the top 5 won themselves a copy of each of Augustine Lungu’s well-written poetry collection ‘Life Cycle of African Negro’. 

Intwasa opens on 26th September to1 October 2022, and Zambia will be ably represented. The Word Smash Poetry Slam winner of 2022 is a poet to watch, listen to, and experience. In the meantime, in case you missed the action or just wish to relive the moments of the day, kindly catch up on First Round and Second Round by watching the live stream of the highly anticipated Zambian slam of the year 2022 on Word Smash Poetry Movement  Facebook Page.

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