Poetry in Motion set for Feb 26
Dub poet Yasus Afari interacting with the audience at a previous staging of Poetry in Motion.

Yasus Afari, organiser of the annual Poetry in Motion (PiM), is promising something special for guests attending the event, which is marking its 20th anniversary on February 26.

According to the respected poet, it will be an all-day affair.

"We will start at 10:00 am with the Reasoning Temple, then 11:00 am we will open the African Bazaar, where people from Africa, Jamaica, and around the Caribbean will be able to sell and display different items. Then, at 3:00, we will have a charity dinner and the proceeds go towards the Manchester Infirmary, the Hanbury Home For Children, and the Friends in Need Foundation," he told the Jamaica Observer.

The event will be held at the Manchester Golf Club and will feature Mutabaruka, Boris Gardiner, Mik, Mark Stephenson, Dr Ann-Marie Wilmot, Dr Michael Abrahams, El Jones, Aldith Hunkar, Denise Brown, Dr Ashley Little, and Steppa.

The top-three awardees of the Golden Tongue Poetry Contest will also be announced. They will receive trophies and features in the Art of Life magazine.

Yasus Afari said preparations are well underway for the event — the first since COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.

"It's been very good. It's a lot of work but we're pivoting back into a physical staging, in terms of marketing. We have to switch back to having everything curated for a physical staging instead of virtual," he said.

Yasus Afari is encouraging patrons to attend this year's celebration.

"It is celebrating 20 years of clean, intelligent fun for the entire family and community. We have been heralding this for a worthy cause and we have an exciting line-up," he said.

Last year's virtual staging saw viewers from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Dubai, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, The Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, and Jamaica.

Born in St Elizabeth, Yasus Afari was influenced early on by folklorist Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett-Coverley and the firebrand Linton Kwesi Johnson.

His career surged in the early 1990s as a member of the Christian Souljahs, a Rastafarian collective from central Jamaica that also included singer Garnet Silk and deejay Tony Rebel. They are usually credited for inspiring a return to conscious themes in dancehall music, which had been dominated by a decade of violence and "slack" content.

In addition to promoting events like the Jamaica Poetry Festival, he has released a number of albums through SenYAcum.

Yasus Afari and Garnett Silk recorded three singles together. I Can See Clearly in 1991, People Dancing in 1992, and I-Pen in 1994.

BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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