October 13, 2008 — Poet Chris Mann, a South African whose works are infused with that country's rich diversity, will give a presentation Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. at the University of Virginia.
His presentation, "Lifelines," will include music, poetry and visual images. The event, sponsored by U.Va.'s Creative Writing Program in the Department of English, is free and open to the public. It will be in Bryan Hall, room 229.
Mann's poems have appeared in journals, textbooks and anthologies in South Africa and abroad. His performances are part of a lifelong passion to promote poetry in the public domain. Fluent in Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, Mann writes poetry influenced not only by the different languages he speaks, but also his diverse work experiences and social encounters.
A South African of English, Dutch and Irish descent, Mann was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. He started his working life in rural development and poverty alleviation projects, and has since taught English in a rural school, lectured in English at Rhodes University and worked in teacher development and job creation.
He was a founder and songwriter of Zabalaza, a cross-culture band performing in English and Zulu. Now based at the Institute for the Study of English in Africa at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, Mann is the founder of Wordfest, a multilingual festival of South African languages and literatures with a developmental emphasis. He won the English Academy of South Africa's Thomas Pringle Award earlier this year.