In stripping away any and all adornments and superficiality, the inaugural 2016 Naked Word Festival sought to uncover and rediscover contemporary South Africa poetics in its most raw essence.
Now, the 2018 Naked Word Festival expands its breadth and deepens the conversation through this year’s theme: “In my blood, I contain multitudes”.
This year’s theme, “In my blood, I contain multitudes” , provides a new perspective concerning the notion of ‘blood’. Blood contains many bodies within one body. It multiplies individualism, because it carries racial differences within a single body that is racially categorised as one thing. Blood is unpredictable in the sense that it can cut across cultures and races, disrupting ideas of purity and homogeneity. This idea of homogeneity has built dichotomous societies because people believe that they can be one thing, which is impossible. Through migration, countless racial and cultural encounters happen. Here, the normativity of an allegedly homogenous society is constantly disrupted as new generations of many blood(s) is produced. Blood is a palimpsestuous fluid in our bodies that flows irregularly, ungovernably, and generationally. It is unpredictable and xists independently in relation to the somatic body.
Naked Word Festival is a multi-cultural and racial intervention that extirpates this idea of perennial purity. Through this theme, “In my blood, I contain multitudes”, poets and writers are challenged to revisit their bloodlines and trace multiplicity and expose it in a way to clarify that no one can be just one thing. We embody many cultures and races within the blood. The blood is a well of history. It is text. It is a constantly unfolding history that can be disrupted by interracial and intercultural
encounters at any time. Identities are always in liminality because of the unpredictable change of bloodlines. This idea forces the writer and the spectator to look at themselves beyond their pigmentation and start thinking about the heterogeneous well of history that contains many bodies to confront racism, culture and xenophobia. It is a call to celebrate each other as carriers of diverse and numerous past bodies. We can never be one thing..