Friday 8 July 2016
By Ginninderry Project Team

We were delighted to support a special community event at Belconnen Arts Centre on Sunday 26 June 2016.

On a chilly winter afternoon, The Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry Showcase brought together a warm crowd to enjoy an extravaganza of words and stories in more than ten languages.

As the Belconnen community continues to grow, its rich linguistic and cultural diversity is an asset we should celebrate.

The sun made an appearance over Lake Ginninderra as a bustling crowd gathered for the show.  For many of the poets who got up to speak, it was their first public performance.

There were poems in French, Hindi, Catalan, Spanish, Serbian, Bahasa Malay, Farsi and Aboriginal English.

Poets gave an introduction or translation, or included a mix of English in their piece so that everyone, whatever their language, could enjoy the meaning as well as the rhythm and music of their words.

Ngunawal elder Glen ‘Gilan’ Freeman welcomed everyone on to country in the Ngunawal language, which is being revitalised by the community, and explained the traditions of welcome and acknowledgement.

Host and MC Felix Machiridza, originally from Zimbabwe, shared his some of his own many languages which include Shona, Zulu and Xhosa.

Feature poet Anita Patel created evocative images in English and Bahasa, weaving stories of her Malay ancestors, as well as the triumphs and sometimes comical challenges of emigrating and growing up in London and in Cronulla, Australia. Persian music, on ney (flute) and tonbak (drum), and Latin American folk songs completed the performance.

13517474_1041684829252220_5784313255950442079_o

Anita Patel performing. Photo credit: Jacqui Malins

To find out more about Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry, check out their Facebook page.