Let's Discover Mauritius

Poetry Slam, A Rising Art In Mauritius

Poetry slam is becoming popular in Mauritius. Learn about the origin of this poetry genre from our famous local slam masters and poets.

Poetry Slam, A Rising Art In Mauritius

Poetry has evolved in various ways because poets want to express themselves differently. Poems are works of literature that generate a rhythmic awareness of a particular theme, as we have always known. However, poetry slam has been around since the early 1980s, and it all started in Chicago, in the United States.

What is a poetry slam? It is an art where poets deliver their poems through speech to people. Poetry slam allows you to more effectively express your emotions, spread awareness, and fight for a cause, whether in a humorous manner, with an aggressive or peaceful goal, or in many other ways. Some poetry slams might be elucidated as rap. The poet gets to decide how they wish to perform. There is no limitation to a particular regulation. Poetry slam is any verbal poetry!

For over a decade, Mauritian poets have been interested in poetry slams. The popularity of this genre of art is growing among people. A plethora of contests exists to increase the popularity of this art. Poetry slam is a rising art in Mauritius! Let’s discuss it further.

Stefan Hart De Keating
Stefan Hart De Keating.

Meet The Founder Of Poetry Slam In Mauritius

Born on October 19, 1971, Stefan Hart De Keating is a Mauritian poet who has contributed enormously to the art of poetry and literature. He is also a writer, and a professional translator, who founded Les Arts Éditions in 2002. He has authored many books, but on top of that, he is considered a pioneer in the world of poetry slam in Mauritius. It is a pleasure to have him for a short interview.

QUESTION: You’re considered the Father of poetry slam in Mauritius. You’re already been a poet for years. Tell us more about how you fell in love with the poetry slam genre.

STEFAN HART DE KEATING: “At first, I didn’t like poetry! I used to be a painter. In 1991, I heard a recital of poems by Jacques Prévert, and on that evening, my poetic soul awoke! Poetry became important in my life for years! I wasn’t working, and my life was all about writing and adventures. I used to perform my poetry and sing for my friends in nightclubs, on the beach, and in other settings.

I wanted to create a show, but decades before, we didn’t have that facility like today! A French friend, Régis Servant, told me about poetry slam. He made me discover this art, which has solved many of my problems! In 2001, I published my collection of poems, Pages d’une Vie, and in 2002, I went to Paris as part of the Printemps des Poètes on my own. There, I met the pioneer of poetry slams in France, Pilote le Hot. From there, the Alliance Française de Maurice brought in another of the rare slammasters of the time, Reno Simo, who introduced me to the basics of poetry slam and with whom I’ve introduced the movement to Mauritius.”

QUESTION: In 2002, you founded Les Arts Éditions and introduced the art of poetry slam in Mauritius. What made you think (at that time) this genre of poetry would be successful among people here?

STEFAN HART DE KEATING: “I wasn’t expecting if the poetry slam genre would be successful or not! I just wanted to introduce this art to democratize poetry and make it accessible to everyone to express themselves freely without needing the means to organize poetry slam events! At that time, the poetry slam meetings were like a family! And it paid off! The poetry slam was successful for a few years, then mostly disappeared until I left for Madagascar and discovered the tournaments there. Thanks to the Malagasy slammaster, Momo. We staged Madagascar’s first National Poetry Slam by touring the cities for a year (including Mayotte).

Upon my return to Mauritius, with the help of the Ministry of Art and Education and other institutions, I launched the tournaments locally, in Rodrigues and Reunion. From those, poetry slam resuscitated. Unfortunately, because of the idea of ​​a tournament with a prize attracted more people than just sharing his poetry, whether it was good or not! Moreover, the term “slam competition” is used in Mauritius, which is a horrible pleonasm because the word “slam” itself means tournament. Except it’s a good-natured tournament in the original spirit of Marc Smith, who created poetry slam in the United States, and not a competition.”

QUESTION: What do you think about the future of poetry slams locally?

STEFAN HART DE KEATING: “I’ve always wanted poets to be able to make a living from their artworks in Mauritius! I managed to make a living from my collections and the poetry slam! If others are successful today, became famous, and emancipated through poetry, well, good for them! I retired from the stage a long time ago, and poetry, I live it every day, in a plant that grows, in a beautiful muse that inspires, a blazing sunset, an expression that my son invents, and I’m content with this ephemeral beauty!”

For more information regarding the poetry slam, visit Stefan’s blog at https://slamoris.wordpress.com/.

SlamUP Poésie & Slam Mauritius

SlamUP Poésie and Slam Mauritius are among the two prominent poetry slam organizers in Mauritius. They have been involved in many events, activities, where slam artists can express themselves, and share this art with the public.

Stewelderson Casimir, the founder of SlamUP Poésie has answered a few questions regarding the art in the video as follows:

Nicholas Frichot, founder of Slam.mu
Nicholas Frichot, founder of Slam.mu.

Nicholas Frichot, the founder of Slam Mauritius, has also involved in a lot of poetry slam events, and he has responded a few questions as well.

QUESTION: Tell us a bit about yourself and Slam Mauritius.

NICHOLAS FRICHOT: “My name is Nicolas Frichot, director at Slam.mu and I’ve been in the poetry slam movement for more than 15 years. I’m grateful to Stef H2K for I’ve made my first Slam performance in one of his tournaments and it was an enriching experience to be trained as a Slam-master eventually.

Slam.mu is a platform that regroups slam performers and organizers in Mauritius. This year Slam.mu celebrates its first year of existence and we are proud to have organized the first poetry slam league in Mauritius, with 12 different locations for 1 year, as well as 3 national tournaments with various ministries in Mauritius. Slam.mu is happy to have collaborated with Makadam Philozophy and Slam Up Poésie in many projects. Those important Slam entities helped in keeping the movement alive and promoting this art.”

QUESTION: Mauritius has known famous poets throughout history. Written poetry was once upon a time popular in our society. Now, things have changed with new forms of poetry, such as Slam. According to you, is there a growing interest in the art of poetry slam in Mauritius?

NICHOLAS FRICHOT: “If poetry was popular, poetry slam takes this popularity a step further. In 2022 only, our combined video views for slam performances broke the 1 million-views barrier, in an era where the new generation is less and less connected to reading and writing. This is marvelous. poetry slam gives the performer freedom from technical competencies: meter, rhyme, verse and stanza.

I am certain that poetry slam has a bright future and that the best is yet to come. poetry slam is accessible to anyone, at any age, does not require special competencies or knowledge, except for the courage of speaking in front of people.”

QUESTION: How do you see this art in 10 years in Mauritius?

NICHOLAS FRICHOT: “In 10 years, our vision is to implement poetry slam within the school curriculum both at primary and secondary levels, for poetry slam has great pedagogical benefits. Secondly, we plan to have, with the collaboration of the authorities, a National Academy for poetry slam. Last but not least, a main theatre for slam performances.

We strongly believe that poetry slam has a great potential as an industry, generating revenues and creating jobs. At Slam.mu, we have big dreams and hope for the poetry slam movement, for we are sure of one thing: the magic of poetry slam can indeed change lives for the better!”

Ziad Peerbux
Ziad Peerbux.

Ziad Peerbux, A Poet, A Mentor

41 years old Ziad Peerbux, better known as “7 Cari”, has been a mentor in the world of poetry slam. He is a teacher and has practiced poetry slam since he was 17. Today, he is a pioneer in this art, has participated in several poetry events, and has been a mentor for youngsters in this poetry genre.

QUESTION: What different poetry slam events and competitions exist in Mauritius?

ZIAD PEERBUX: “We’ve so many events. It’s been two years since we were able to put that poetry slam events in different locations. There was a time when poetry slam was dead, and no one wanted to take responsibility or engagement in poetry slam events. There’s one thing that you’ve to clear up. The word “slam” means tournament. So, a lot say “slam competition” but it’s wrong, it doesn’t work out, and it’s not logical.

So I would like slammasters to use poetry slam, which means poetry competition. So where the poet comes, with or without the paper, and delivers and performs in less than 3 minutes. I’m very happy, many other people, young people, have taken the responsibility of organizing those poetry slam events, and obviously, I’ll keep on doing the same.”

QUESTION: You’ve been a mentor to several youngsters in poetry slams. What have you learned from them?

ZIAD PEERBUX: “Yes, I’ve been a mentor, and it’s true. I’ve learned a lot from the ones that I’ve guided, and I’ve learned about compassion, I’ve learned about writing and performing poetry. I’ve learned about creating networks and connecting people. And there’s one thing that poetry has always highlighted, its honesty.”

QUESTION: In what ways does poetry slam contribute to our art and culture?

ZIAD PEERBUX: “Well, it is extremely important that at this stage that the authorities implement poetry slam in education, in community centers, because, what is poetry? Poetry is about giving freedom of speech to people in their originality and creativity. And obviously, it’s not done enough. We have a lot of budgets. The budget is voted on, but it’s not funded properly. So we have to wake up. And this is where I blame the authorities. Every school in every community center, we should have poetry slam kicking out, having a national calendar and international exposure for our slam poets.”

Kaushar Edoo
Kaushar Edoo.

Kaushar Edoo, A Poetess Who Roars

Famously known as “MisKa” on the stage, Kaushar Edoo is well-known for her powerful cause/effect poetry slams. She has been a performer since 2019. After winning several competitions, she continues on the path of doing poetry for a cause. In other words, she roars!

QUESTION: You’ve been active in the art of poetry slam for a few years now. You’ve won a few competitions, and we can say you’re a prominent figure in the field. Tell us, how you got the passion for this art?

KAUSHAR EDOO: “I’ve developed a passion for this art by listening to other artists. At first, I was hesitant since I faced beautiful and professional performances, but I decided to give it a go and showcase my art in my style. My first text was on domestic violence, “Bat Bate” which was appreciated by my coach Mr. Ziad Peerbux and the other artists. It gave me the motivation to continue writing and improve my performance. I was amazed by the freedom that this form of art provides. It gives you the power to channel your inner feelings and change your mindset. I genuinely feel alive when I’m on stage portraying my art.”

QUESTION: Last year, you came up with a successful poetry slam, “Mo Enn Fam” in which you depicted woman’s power. What inspired you?

KAUSHAR EDOO: “Since I started writing, I’m more prone to write about women. I feel we can never say enough about the power of a woman. I just try to do justice to womanhood through my words. If we don’t depict our feelings and emotions, there’s no way someone will understand us. My main aim in performing poetry slams is to change the mindset and behavior towards women. It is primordial for an artist to feel satisfied with his or her performance and for me, satisfaction comes from the eyes of the audience, enjoying my performance and feeling every word that I say.”

Like and follow Kaushar Edoo’s Facebook fan page, here.

Geraldine Baptiste
Geraldine Baptiste.

Ge-NYX 13, Always Ready To Voice Out

Geraldine Baptiste, stage name Ge-NYX 13, a French educator in college, is currently among the leading poets in the league of Slam Poésie 2023. She won many competitions and has participated in many grand events.

QUESTION: You’re among the leading poets in the league of Slam Poésie 2023. Tell us about your hard work behind.

GERALDINE BAPTISTE: “I started poetry slam in 2019. Poetry slam isn’t only about writing a text. It consists of the emotions we want to convey. I work a lot on my breathing, voice tone, and articulation correctly. All of these matter to give the best performance. I also get my inspiration from others. Poetry slam isn’t only about competition. It is also a sharing moment where we learn to respect others’ views and opinions on a few subjects. It includes socialization, sharing of jokes, and boosting each other.”

QUESTION: Your poetry slams talk about societal issues a lot. What inspired you to choose this subject?

GERALDINE BAPTISTE: “Choosing a subject isn’t easy. There’s a lot of research. The more creative the subject, the higher the chance to impress the judges. I like writing on societal issues as, deep inside, people are disappointed with what’s happening in our society. I try to add a bit of satire and humor to capture the audience more. I also include the common verbal expressions that the young generation use. People tend to remember and think twice about an issue if we add a bit of humor to it. I want people to realize the consequences of our inaction on some issues. I encourage everyone for once in their life to try poetry slam as it’s a good therapy for the mind and the soul.”

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance" - Carl Sandburg

Poetry slam is beautiful. It is a good feeling factor when you express yourself freely. It boosts freedom of speech and allows you to talk about something. In Mauritius, even youngsters and elders are interested in this art, we have to admit that this poetry genre has a long way to go. The authority must give more facilities to poets and provide a sponsorship facility to boost the local talents, which will contribute enormously to the art and culture aspects.

Author & References

Ali Jareehag

Author: Ali J | Date Published: January 19, 2023 | Last Updated: July 14, 2023

Special Thanks: Stefan Hart De Keating, Ziad Peerbux, Kaushar Edoo, Geraldine Baptiste, Slam Mauritius & SmalUP Poésie.

Love This Blog? Subscribe For More Amazing Stuff

Receive vouchers, coupons, latest posts and many others by subscribing!