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Bertha Enam Afi Galley will be in Togo for Ghana
Bertha Enam Afi Galley will be in Togo for Ghana

Ghana qualifies for World Poetry Slam Championship

Ghana has qualified for the 3rd World Poetry Slam Championship (WPSC) which will be held in Lome, Togo, in November this year.

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A young poet, Bertha Enam Afi Galley, aka Afi, will hold aloft the flag of Ghana in the Togolese capital after Theresa Kufuor, known in literary circles as Twita Lite, did so last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The WPSC is organised by the World Poetry Slam Organisation (WPSO) which Ghana’s Ehalakasa Movement, which started in 2007, is a founding member. Widely regarded as the World Cup of Poetry, the initial WPSC event was held in 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. 

According to Benedict Kojo Quaye, better known as Sir Black, a leading member of the Ehalakasa Movement, Ghana was among 10 selected from a field of 22 contesting nations from across Africa. The other nine African countries also heading to Lome are Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Guinea, Madagascar, Cameroon and Morocco.

A poetry slam is a competitive  spoken word event held before a live audience and a panel of judges. South African poet, Xabiso Vili, emerged winner at WPSC 2022. The 2023 edition was won by Lady La Profeta from Colombia.

“We are glad we’ve made it again to the World Championship.  It’s been a tough road getting this far but we always have faith in our abilities and trust that we will do well in Togo,” said Sir Black. 

Afi was the 2023 and 2024 SheShe (all-female) Ehalakasa Slam Champion. She’s also the reigning Ehalakasa National Slam Champion. 

She says of herself: “I’m a girl full of rage. Calm doesn't know me so I spit words with rage yet quite unpredictable. Words found me so I embodied the waters of words and experiences.  I've lost everything to this Arts so there's nothing to lose anymore.   I'm a goddess and a master of my pieces.”

Meanwhile, the Ehalakasa Movement has commenced its National Slam preliminaries alongside its  SlamImpulse workshops that introduce students and young people to the art of slam poetry. Sir Black says SlamImpulse workshops are the only slam poetry space that raises slammers to regional, national and continental championships. 

“It was the SlamImpulse that produced our previous champion that went to the 2023 World Championship in Brazil,” Sir Black added.  

So the Ehalakasa SlamImpulse  train will first stop in Koforidua, Eastern Region, on June 29, 2024. It will then be in Tamale, Northern Region, in July before going to Takoradi, Western Region, in August  and finally be at the Goethe Institut, Accra, in October. The 2024 Ehalakasa National Grand Slam is scheduled for December 28. 

The Ehalakasa Movement says it is grateful to Goethe Institut Ghana for all the support it has been giving them over the years.

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