S9E3 LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Sihle Ntuli & Vuyokazi Ngemntu: Tracing Lineages & Imagining Futures
31 Aug 2023
Image credits: LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs by Willy Somma Sihle Ntuli by Niamh Walsh-Vorster
Vuyokazi Ngemntu invites LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs and Sihle Ntuli to reflect on their poetic practice, language and dispossession, literacies, influences, rootedness, Black women’s histories and music.
Vuyokazi Ngemntu is a writer-performer situated in Cape Town, whose praxis uses poetry, song, physical theatre, storytelling and ritual to navigate ancestral trauma, confront inequality and inspire healing. Her short story “Binnegoed” was selected as the overall winner of Ibua Journal’s 2022 “Bold: Food in Africa” Contest. Her short story “The Serpent’s Handmaiden” was shortlisted for the Share Africa Climate Change Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in The Kalahari Review, Herri, Ake Review and elsewhere.
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is a writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist. She is the author of the poetry collections TwERK (Belladonna, 2013) and Village (Coffee House Press, 2023). Diggs has presented and performed at multiple venues and festivals in the U.S and globally. She has received several grants and fellowships, including a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015). She lives in Harlem and teaches part-time at Brooklyn College and Stetson University.
Sihle Ntuli is a poet from Durban and a recipient of the 2023 Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies (JIAS) Writing Fellowship for his poetry. He is the editor-in-chief of New Contrast Literary Journal and has had his work featured in several leading journals and anthologies. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks Rumblin’ (Uhlanga, 2020) and The Nation (River Glass Books, 2023) in addition to the full-length poetry collection Zabalaza Republic (Botsotso, 2023).
In this episode we are in solidarity with writer, activist and PEN Myanmar member Wai Moe Naing. We call on the authorities in Myanmar to free him. You can read more about his case here.
As tributes to him, LaTasha reads “American Sonnet 61” by Wanda Coleman, Sihle reads his poem “The National Screening of Sarafina, Every Year on June 16th” and Vuyokazi reads her own untitled poem.
PEN South Africa joins the PEN community in mourning the passing of writer, photographer, artist, and President of PEN Myanmar, Nyein Chan (Njan Chên) (known by his pen name, Nyi Pu Lay). You can read more about him here.
Listen to the episode here: