On Monday, 29 May I attended my first ever poetry reading for Koleka Putuma’s book launch of her anthology Collective Amnesia. The invite was courtesy of the Cheeky Natives duo Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane and Alma-Nalisha Cele who have recently come onto the arts and literature space as a collective that reviews the arts and books in the form of podcasts to celebrate black excellence. You can also find them on Twitter @ and @.
The book launch is part of Putuma’s countrywide tour for this amazing collection. It was a surreal encounter to witness Koleka reading through her work. Putuma who is a Theatre Practitioner, Performance Poet, and Writer is described as one of the country’s most acclaimed young voices and she does show this in her work and her performance on the night. The collection of poetry is published by Uhlanga Press which is set on releasing poetry for the people. She explores self-care, politics, religion, relationships and the struggles the black nation have faced and continue to face especially the black woman.
The setup at Bridge Books saw photography by Andy Mkosi spread across the area we were to sit. With a profound opening piece by the lovely Vuyelwa Maluleke who set the tone for the evening. Koleka read a few pieces from her collection followed by an insightful Q&A by the duo.
It was a lovely evening spent with talented black people, celebrating our blackness and awesomeness really. I left feeling happy, and hopeful for growth for the literary space for black people.
For more on the Cheeky Natives, listen to their first three episodes on Soundcloud here.