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Events

Mitch unlocks 2024 with silent spoken poetry

Poetry has been constantly gaining momentum on the Ugandan art scene for years. From the days of Lantern Meet of Poets, Kelele, Verse in Vac to Kwivuga, the industry has been giving.
On Friday, spoken word artist Mitch Isabirye hosted one of his first Mitchz Manifest at the Gothe Zentrum in Kamwokya. During the shows, he performs a variety of poems, both new and old, although he always focuses on material people have not heard before.

But what makes the night stand out is the fact that it is Uganda’s premiere silent poetry show, yes, like silent disco but people are listening to rhymes and wordplay in the headsets, not a different set of DJs.
The Manifest is one of the most regular shows on the poetry circuit. It has managed to be consistent since it was first hosted at the National Theatre in 2022 and every edition that goes by, it continues to establish itself as a space where both new and older poets come to have fun but also support the art.

Most of the times, he will host a slew of poets and at least two or more singers but it is generally a night for poets.
Ugandan poetry has over the years gone through messaging phases. There was a time it was mainly about identity, people talking about being African. That era brought about projects such as, What Shall We Name This Child by Lantern Meet of Poets, and then you had Kagayi Ngobi write poems such as How I Grew Up. Of course, the topics of the recitals would later veer off to masculinity and feminism, that era did not only give birth to content about the matter but production houses as well.

Again, productions deciphering masculinity were tagged – that is if you remember the Man-You Script in 2015. At that time, many poets became political and were explicit in calling out nepotism, corruption, and all the other things we read about in papers.

It was hot that the National Theatre had a number of poetry shows blocked before their staging.
Today, material about all these topics is still available, and new material is presented all the time. However, there is also a new area of focus – good vibes. A big part of the poetry produced today is topical but strikes a balance between humour and critical thinking.

The lines are delivered with wit, yet for every criticism there is about society today, there is a pun or a relevant joke.
Most of the material delivered at Mitchz Manifest was easy on the ears but mainly about relationships gone bad. But thanks for wordplay, most poets have mastered the art of delivering erotic content and still look innocent while at it.

Mitch took to the stage a couple of minutes past 9pm and made his time on the stage worth it, from poems about love gone bad, he actually had many of those, to those about living life generally, surviving in Kampala, growing up and after the audience’s requests, Sawa Musanvu, a poem that talks about meals and timing during festivities.
It was generally an amazing show and for a poetry show, it was good to note that it was filled to the brim, as people like saying these days, the Goethe Zentrum rooftop asked for water.

 

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