Badilisha Poetry X-Change

Why We Do It

Africans lack access to work by African poets. The works of African authors comprise only two percent of the world’s published books. There has never been an expansive, easily-accessible archive of historical and contemporary African poetry. This lack of access denies Africans the opportunity to see their experiences and identities reflected in the poetry they read, and denies exposure and career opportunities to African poets.

How We Do It

Badilisha began in 2008 as an annual, large-scale international poetry festival. It produced festivals for three years, as well as a series of poetry seminars, workshops and training programmes. In 2012, the project evolved into an audio archive and radio show, aiming to address two key issues: the absence of any readily accessible archive of Pan-African poets, and the need for a new stage for Pan-African poetry to reach a global audience.

Since then, Badilisha Poetry X-Change has archived over 530 African poets from 31 countries across the continent and the global African Diaspora. Badlisha features poets on the website and on podcasts. The poets represent a broad range of voices, genres and language, including historic giants of African poetry, and poets whose work reflects contemporary trends.

Our extensive network of Pan-African poets and poetry organisations enables us to create much-needed exposure and viable opportunities for Africa’s poets.

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