On the 29th of September poets, musicians and artists around the world, in more than 110 countries with 650 events, will participate in the second annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
In Botswana, there are three events listed on the website, one in Maun, one in Moshupa and one in Gaborone. In Maun, the very active Poetavango Spoken Word group will be hosting an event at Cresta Rileys Hotel on September 29th. In Moshupa, there will be an event at Moshupa Senior Secondary School at 7:30 pm, but according to the organiser, it is not open to the public. The event in Gaborone is still being finalised.
According to the Maun organiser, Legodile Seganabeng, “Since every country and every region within a country is encouraged to take part in this event, the event in Maun will feature mostly Maun based poets, not only those from the Poetavango collective but also those who are still rising and newly inspired. This is a show where Poetavango will also be encouraging and giving performance platform to other potential poets/performers in the region. However, to add flavour and to further diversify the performances, there will be a few other performers from Francistown, Gaborone and Selibi Phikwe.”
About the theme, Seganabeng said, “To avoid limiting the performers’ scopes, we decided to leave the theme very open. However, all performers have been requested to recite poetry that advocates for any positive changes in our societies. This may be social, environmental, political or otherwise.”
In Moshupa, the event is part of GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp and the participants will be the girls attending the camp as well as a handful of Peace Corps volunteers. The theme for them is “change” and they will be using original poems to introduce themselves to each other.
The concept for 100 Thousand Poets for Change originated in California USA in 2011. The main goal is to get poets and other artists to organise events on the day to promote peace and sustainability. Even just the fact that creatives from all over the world stop on that day to form this massive single voice for change seems powerful enough for me. It reminds us of our connectedness and our common humanity. Seganabeng sees it in a slightly different way. “There’s a Setswana saying, ‘Moroto o esi ga o ele’. This means that if we have more people striving for the same goal, it is much easier to achieve such goals than when one is all by themselves. So, it is very important that there are many people on that day, both the performers and the audience.”
Asked why he thought artists were well placed to effect change, Seganabeng said, “Artists are better placed to make a difference than anyone else. Since they display their messages in a special, particular way that attracts listeners or viewers, they make a louder impact and thus able to initiate changes in our societies.”
Individual events are organised around local themes. Some of the changes that poets want to see are around the themes of environmental degradation, racism, and war. The events can be anything, from performances to workshops to flash mobs. The organisers would like at least part of the event to be outside in public spaces.
The event took place in 2011 in 95 countries and through 700 events.
People wanting to organise events for the day can contact email@example.com. They have a website and a Facebook page for more information.