Kwani? Out & About
SPOKEN WOR:L:DS - Lyrical Exchange between Nairobi and Berlin

Kwani? Out & About

SPOKEN WOR:L:DS - Lyrical Exchange between Nairobi and Berlin

16 poets, rappers and spoken word artists from both Berlin and Nairobi will be part of a literary exchange project between Germany and Kenya on the week of November 9th - 15th 2013. Following this visit to Nairobi by 8 artists from Germany, there will be a chapter in which their 8 Kenyan counterparts travel to Berlin in April 2014 for a similar week-long event.

Titled, SPOKEN WOR:L:DS, this event is the first of its kind between the two countries and takes it impulses from Poetry, Spoken Word, Slam Poetry and Rap—art forms that mix literature, music, dance, and visual arts. The 16 SPOKEN WOR:L:DS artists shall select material from their counterparts across the seas to create new works in a translation that cuts across genre, language and technique.

Nairobi will be represented by

Berlin will feature through

The week-long visit includes events such as street poetry, workshops, talks and performances at Maono Cultural Group in Dandora, Goethe-Institut Kenya and Kwani? Open Mic: Special Edition. The final evening of the Nairobi chapter will feature a SPOKEN WOR:L:DS wrap party on November 15th at Tree House. (See all event details below)

SPOKEN WOR:L:DS is a project by Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, Maono Cultural Group and Kwani Trust in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Kenya. It is funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and supported by Goethe-Institut, Auswärtiges Amt, and Gangway e.V. The project’s media partner is AfricAvenir



SPOKEN WOR:L:DS is a unique week-long project bringing together 16 poets, rappers and spoken word artists from Kenya and Germany in Nairobi. The aim is for them to translate each other’s work not only from one language to another but across the boundaries of genre and imagination. It runs between November 9th and 15th in Nairobi. The Kenyan team goes to Berlin in April 2014. November events include workshops, talks and live performances at Maono Cultural Group in Dandora, Goethe-Institut Kenya, Nairobi IMAX Cinema and Tree House.


Street Poetry feat. SPOKEN WOR:L:DS
3pm, Sunday, 10th November
Aga Khan Walk, City Centre
Entry: Free

This monthly event brings together poetry lovers in a spontaneous open mic event under open skies. It makes use of city pavements and the mostly-agreeable sunny weather to share the lyrical art form. On this Sunday SPOKEN WOR:L:DS is happy to be invited as guests.

Tafsiri Elimu ya Hip-Hop
2pm, Monday, 11
th November
Maono Cultural Group, Dandora
Entry: Free

Exploring the differences and similarities among Poetry, Spoken Word, Slam Poetry and Rap, 16 Nairobi and Berlin artists will sit down for a workshop to discuss the same.

These poets, spoken word artists and rappers will also share performance of their works.

Kwani? Open Mic: Special Edition
7pm, Tuesday, 12th November
Nairobi IMAX Cinema Mama Ngina Street
Entry: Free

Celebrating its eighth year as a monthly poetry and spoken word event held every first Tuesday of the month, Kwani Trust opens up its Kwani? Open Mic platform for the SPOKEN WOR:L:DS project. Breaking its tradition, this special edition of the Kwani? Open Mic will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month and will only feature performances from some the 16 visiting and participating SPOKEN WOR:L:DS poets, spoken word artists and rappers from Nairobi and Berlin.

Lost in Translation? Panel discussion, performances & open stage
6pm, Wednesday, 13th November
Goethe-Institut, Maendeleo House
Entry: Free

Does translation open up new frontiers for art or does it lead to the loss of context and the purity of the work? Join 16 poets, spoken word and rappers from the SPOKEN WOR:L:DS project (that draws artists from Nairobi and Berlin) as they discover and debate the joys and challenges of translation and the translatability of lyrics. They shall also share their experiences of the project as well as subsequent performances. Rappers, Poets, Spoken Word artists are very welcome to present their work during the open stage segment. (Please register through or at Goethe Institut by Wednesday, November 13th between 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.) Karibuni nyote!

SPOKEN WOR:L:DS: Live & Loud in Nairobi
8.30pm, Friday, November 15th
Tree House, Museum Hill, Westlands
Entry: Free

If you’re a big fan of Hip Hop, Poetry and Spoken Word then you can’t miss this show that showcases the very best talents from Nairobi and Berlin. It is the big wrap up party for the SPOKEN WOR:L:DS project, an international literature exchange. There shall be a shuttle to town from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, so bring your dancing shoes!


Wanjeri Gakuru

Anna Jäger

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