World Poetry Day: An evening with PAWA African poetry prize finalists

What better time to celebrate the finalists of the inaugural Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) African Poetry Prize than on the World Poetry Day?

That was exactly what the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) did on Monday, 21 March 2022.

AWF hosted Echezonachukwu Nduka, Servio Gbadamosi and Olumide Olaniyan on World Poetry Day 2022.

Tanure Ojaide could not join us due to a clash of schedules. These were the poets who were shortlisted for the PAWA African Poetry Prize, along with the eventual winner, Obari Gomba.

The poets thrilled us with some of the poems in their winning collections and confirmed why they are among the best in Africa.

Olumide Olaniyan

They also mentioned bilingual writing, such as the great Ngugi Wa Thiongo does.

However, they drew our attention to the power relations issue in languages. Why do we focus on the big three, WaZoBia, for instance, in Nigeria?

The poets reminded us of the punishments some of us suffered in secondary school for speaking what our teachers considered as vernacular! Thus, we need to decolonize our communication and grow our languages.

We ask of what use if we write in our indigenous languages ​​when there are no readers? So they concluded that for now, we must write in English for a wider reach.

It was a good ending to the World Poetry Day on 21 March 2022, that cozy evening with the three PAWA poetry prize finalists and a handful of poetry lovers!

Kudos to Abuja Writers Forum!

  • Kabura Zakama is a Veterinarian and award-winning poet whose latest collection of poetry is CHANT OF THE ANGRY

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