Susie Berya is a Tanzanian living in Dar es Salaam. She is a creative writer, and a feminist with a passion for all forms of art. She’s a 24 years old currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Economics of Development and working on her first anthology. She writes contemporary poetry usually influenced by her daily experiences and social issues.
Kopanang Tito lives in Kweneng District, Botswana. He is the author of several Setswana poetry collection published by Macmillan. He usually performs at community events, weddings, funerals and cooperative shows. He has been the Thamaga constituency regional champion poetry for the past three years. He is also the 2015 national champion for the poetry category.
Sweetbert Mbogo Nkuba is a Lawyer and Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, a poet and a back stage politician. As a practicing lawyer, I work as a partner at SWEET & CONRAD, LLP. ADVOCATES AND CORPORATE LAWYERS.
His desire to become a poet was inspired by the fastest growing hip hop culture in East Africa in 1990s, the developed trend of writing and reciting rhyming verses made me fall in love with writing verses.
His books THE VOICES FROM THE SHADOW and the TRUTH are due for publication in March, 2016. He has a collection of thousands of poems reflecting different socio-economic values.
Jasper H. Sabuni is a 23 year old with a deep love for his country and continent.
He is a poet based in Tanzania. His love for poetry is mostly attributed to his need to be a voice for the people.
His poetry style is rather contemporary and mostly influenced by Hip Hop genre (and Reggae at times). His work is mostly about politics, justice, human rights and youth and women.
He is a believer and scholar of PAN AFRICANISM
Ayanda Billie works as a quality inspector in the motor industry in Uitenhage. His first book of poems was Avenues Of My Soul (2006). He is influenced by the haunting voices of South African poets like Ingoapele Mandigoane and Mafika Gwala, European poets like Lorca and Pessoa , and jazz music, particularly Zim Ngqawana. His isiXhosa poems record the chilling hours of the modern worker on the factory floor.
Siza Nkosi is a published poet, lyricist, guitarist and a mother who has shared pages of her life stories on stages with renowned poets and artists. She currently works as an IT Networking Specialist. She is one of the first women to fuse poetry with the acoustic sound of the guitar. She is the founding member of House of Siza, an NPO that seeks to change people’s lives through the literature. She’s a resident poet for the MoFaya Poetry Movement and Divulge – a creative space for artists to share, connect and network on their projects.
She was part of the Spoken Word Project where ten South African poets showcased their spoken word skills and engaged audiences in a torrent of words and stories. She also took part in the 2012 and 2014 Polokwane Literary Festival and 2014 Northern Cape Literary Festival as well as the Vhember International Poetry Festival in 2015. Her work has been published in the Timbila Journal, the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology for 2014 and other online poetry journals and magazines. She recently published an article in Urban Tymes Carlifonia. The texture and quality of her work is informed by real life experiences and stories that narrate the realities of people around her.
She is presently working on her debut poetry music album and a collection of poems.
Mbasa Sigcau, also known as Amazing the Slum Intellect, is a 20 year old emcee, poet and observer based in Grahamstown South Africa. He honed his writing style by studying the Durban underground rap scene. Most of his writing is deeply rooted in social commentary.
Stuart Thembisile Lewis is a journalist and filmmaker who moonlights as a poet. He was born in 1993, less than a year before South Africa’s first democratic election, and carries a massive chip on his shoulder for consistently being lumped together with the so-called ‘Born Frees’. He spends most of his time stuffing around on the internet
Ntsika Tyatya is a writer, poet, spoken word performer who is from Nelson Mandela Bay, he has been active in the poetry scene for the past 12 years. After co-producing weekly poetry sessions in Port Elizabeth in 2006, he created SLAM ( Student’s Literature and Arts Movement) in 2008, which was the first slam poetry society at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He was the headliner and finalist in the Cape Town poets search competition, Poetry Delight, as well as a headliner at the East London weekly poetry sessions; Brute Force. 2012 he was one of the headlining poets at the National Book Week. He has graced the stages with Luka Lesson (AUS), Lesego Rampolokeng, Lebo Mashile, Ntsiki Mazwai, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Don Mattera, Afurakhan, The Brother Moves on, Zubz, Mxo, Tumi to name few. In 2014 he partnered with Word and Sound, as the Eastern Cape facilitator in their Slam Your Life national competition that was held in Grahamstown.
He currently pursues a BA in Corporate Communication and has assisted with conceptualising both Maxhosa exhibitions in 2013 and 2014. He was part of the company that assisted in bringing Ian Kamau (Canada), Tutu Puoane (Holland) Vatiswa Ndara (SA), to Nelson Mandela Bay. He freelances in communication for various artists and businesses.
Lesedi Thwala is a 20-year-old female, born in Itsoseng but grew up in a small town called Lichtenburg in the North West Province. She is currently doing her first year of her Bachelor of Arts at Rhodes University. A die-hard feminist, Motswako rapper and recovering book worm, Lesedi’s love for poetry began as an escape from the challenges she faced in life until a friend discovered one of her poems and forced her to recite it for a group of people. Lesedi is passionate about South African literature and dreams of becoming an author someday.
Anthony ‘Ty’ Ngachira is a 22 year old from Kenya. The budding lawyer took an interest in poetry while in high school but actively pursued it while at university. He has performed at Kenya Slam Africa, Kwani Open Mic, Fatuma’s Voice and Poetry under Stars. He loves poetry because it allows him to be who he wants to be. His work mirrors the African society he has grown up in.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Shingi Mavima currently writes out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work revolves around the inescapability of time, Africa in her flawed glory, and love.
Mavima is also the lead poet and editor of Homeward Bound, an anthology by five young Zimbabwean poets (now available on Amazon.) Away from poetry, Mavima has a Masters of International Affairs Degree from Penn State University, and is currently getting his Phd in African American and African Studies at Michigan State University.
Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo is a lover of words. Her poetry has been published in various volumes of the Timbila Poetry Project. She has contributed to an anthology of poetry by South African Women, Basadzi Voices (UKZN Press, 2006). She also published a Sepedi collection of poetry titled Peu tša tokologoIo (Timbila, 2005). She was also one of the featured poets in Throbbing Ink 2003, a poetry collection by six South African poets.
She has read her poetry on various stages including the following: Polokwane Literary Fair 2014, 95 Poems 95 Poets Long Live Madiba, Polokwane Literary Festival 2012, Poetry Africa 2007, and Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2005, as well as the Beyond Borders Literature Festival in Uganda 2005. Her writing is mainly social commentary.
She’s a mother to Gaositwe, Mukona, and Muwanwa; wife to Segopotso Moshapo; and she holds a degree in physiotherapy
Mmakgosi Ophadile Anita Tau was born in 1989 in Botswana.
Her first poem was published in 1999, for a school magazine. In 2007 she won a poetry competition at the Monash University, and after this triumph she was asked to help head the Poetry Association of Monash. This role helped her secure many opportunities such as, her performance at the Women’s Day Celebrations.
During her time in South Africa she performed at open mics held in places like House of Nsako in Bree, Shivas in Newtown and in Johannesburg.
Mmakgosi was featured on the Word Of Mouth-Audio compilation, and she is a member of the Poets Circle Movement and MO Scripts.
MO Scripts is a group advocating for growth and awareness in Botswana literature. they
have four mobile applications published for Android, Symbian, Blackberry and Java enabled phones and they can be downloaded free of charge. To date, more than 250 000 people have downloaded their app. For more on the applications please check out Facebook page MO Scripts: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MO-Scripts/338887719546526?fref=ts
Hermann Kenfact was born and bred in Yaoundé Cameroon. Hermann is a poet, a writer and playwright. In 2008, he was the recipient of the best creator African by the APPIA (Association for the Protection and the Intellectual Property in Africa), he also received the 1st price for the African literature CREAYOUTH by l’OMPI (Organization mondial for the property intellectual).
Abdoulaye Guisse is a Senegalese poet with two published collections of poetry: Perle choisie and Les vertus de líespoir.
He is a public law graduate and is very interested in the international humanitarian law, specifically on the contemporary armed conflicts contexts.
Collin the Bushman is an Attaqua bushman from a town called Dysselsdorp, on the outskirts of Oudsthoorn. He grew up in the Boland, Worcester area.
A poet, artist, bushman-blues/folk singer and musician, he is passionate about what he does. Part of his journey has been to rediscover his Khoikhoi roots. Living in a culturally diverse South Africa has inspired Collin to theme his work under the bushman heritage and culture.
Collin has been in the music and poetry industry since 1995. He started out in the hip-hop scene with the help of Black noise, P.O.C, Brasse van die Kaap, and Hip crew. He started out as a B- boy/MC, the culture of self-expression through music & art really inspired Collin to voice issues that were and are still relevant today. The issues addressed in his music & poetry are mostly around cultural & community awareness.
In 2011 Collin met up with rapper/artist/performer Jitsvinger, which led him to also working with the great spirit Jethro Louw aka Tannaman !xam. Combining his work with Jitsvinger and Jethro really took the poetry to a whole new level of Khoikhoi-culture awareness.
In 2006 when Batsirai started seriously performing her poetry she says there were only three women doing poetry readings at the time including herself. She was felt challenged to add her voice in the poetry circles therefore ventured into the slam community at the Book Cafe in Harare. She is passionate about lending her voice to the women whose voices have been silenced the world over.
Batsirai has performed at several festivals in the region including Harare International Festival of the Arts(HIFA), Intwasa Arts Festival, Thubalethu, Nguva Yedu Youth Festival, Arts Alive(SA), Sadc Poetry Festival(Botswana), Poetry Africa Tour, Tambo Tambulani Art Camp & Festival, Pemba, Mozambique, Shoko Spoken Word & Hip-Hop Festival and recently performed at the Hivos Poetry Cafe, Blantyre Arts Festival, Malawi.
In August 2010, Batsirai was featured in four anthologies published by Mensa Press in the USA: Whispers in the Whirlwind, War against War, Defiled Sacredness & Visions on Motherland. She is also featured in State of the Nation published by Conversation Paper-press in England. Several of her short stories have been published online and an extract from one of her short stories was published in “Writings from Africa” a publication facilitated by the British Council through the Crossing Borders Writers’ Project.
Batsirai also writes short stories and contributes to Zimbojam, the most popular arts website in Zimbabwe.
Barbra Breeze Anderson is a performance poet, writer and designer. She started the art of performing in the year 2007 at the ‘Power In The Voice Competition’, a British Council sponsored event where she performed a short prose piece.
Barbra breeze the performance poet was born a year and seven months ago at the Book Cafe and since then has been exposed to frequent poetry slams such as the House of Hunger poetry slam at the Book Café. She has performed at Open Mic events and other poetry events at the Book Café/ Mannenberg such as Sistaz Open Mic and Mashoko events.
Barbra also took her poetry outside of the two venues to places such as Alliance France’s Chimoto poetry night and an Acoustic Night at the Symphony. She has performed at the Buddyz Annual Festival of the Arts (BAFA) 2009 at Harare Gardens and the Sixteen Days of Activism concert 2010. Barbra performed in Bulawayo in 2010, she has appeared on television and radio –Youth.com, Spot Fm’s various spoken word outlets and has featured in Newspaper articles from Newsday, the Daily News, Herald, the online regional news site Shout Africa and the online outlet Zimbo Jam. The articles have been profiles of her and her current projects.
Early this year she performed at a community based event ‘Step Up’ 2011 at the Aquatic Sports club in Chitungwiza and at the monthly ongoing Mashoko event at the Mannenberg. She performed at the U.S Embassy Black History Event 2011 at the Ambassadors House in early February. Barbra is now working on various projects, one that she has put into effect is a monthly Poetry night event called ‘Poetry And’ launched in April 2011 where poetry is fused with different genres of art. She is working with some of the best of Zimbabwe’s spoken word artists and she intends to make it a success.
Barbra has participated at the first edition of Shoko Spoken Word and Hip Hop Festival 2011 and she has performed her poetry at a Pamberi trust project-a Concert for Non Violence 2011, in Highfield, in September this year and at the Acoustic Night, November 2011 edition.
For the year 2012, she opened it as part of the poets of the spoken word section at Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), 1-6 May edition, where she hosted and performed at the Hivos Poetry Café.
Muhammad Muwakil is currently enrolled at the University of the West Indies pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in International Relations. He has been performing spoken word poetry in Trinidad for the past five years, and is heavily involved in the spoken word poetry movement in Trinidad and by extension the Caribbean region.
In 2007 he performed at the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica, and in 2009 his work was published in the Casa de Las Americas annual review. Muhammad is also an actor and has been involved in several major productions. In 2008 he won the Cacique Award (the highest award for acting in Trinidad) for best supporting actor, for his role in the production entitled Bitter Cassava.
He believes his work is an essential ingredient in the struggle of the African Diaspora in reconnecting with itself and the continent. It is one of his main goals to use this work to make people more aware of their past, their present situation and what we need to do to secure our collective future.
Mercy Dhliwayo (better known by her stage name, Xtreme Sanity) is a slam poet, emcee and an emerging writer and photographer. Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Xtreme started off as a rapper in 1997 and later branched off into poetry and spoken word in 2005 as a first year student at the University of Limpopo.
Xtreme has performed on various platforms which include, but are not limited to, the Intwasa Festival, the University of Limpopo Heritage Festivals, The Black Market Ace’s Annual Charity events; the Canimambo Free Form Musical Festival as well as various festivals hosted by Shindig Awe and the Fire on the Mountain Festival. She has also taken part in the SABC 2’s Lentswe Poetry Project Competition in which, through her poem, Survival Techniques, she won under the HIV/AIDS Category in Limpopo Province (2007) and went on to represent the Limpopo Province under the same category at the national level of the Competition (2008).
She has further featured in the Black Markets PLK Hip Hop Mixtape (2006); Face the Music Hip hop Timeless Mixtape (2007), the Essential Words (2011), the Shindig Awe: Have we put out the fire Compilation (2012) and the African Fem MC’s Mixtape (2012).
Apart from recordings, her poetry has been published in the the Have We Put out The fire Journal, and in the Sunday News newspaper as well as online. Apart from being a poet and an emcee, Xtreme also writes short stories.
Nina Femme is a poet-feminist who is trying to master writing, protesting and finding balance in the pursuit of love and justice. Flowers and Feminism, a personally inspired poem, earned her second place in the national Drama for Life Lover and Another poetry competition in 2013. “I wrote my first piece ten years ago, but it never gets easier because the issues never get easier.” When she isn’t in an existential state, she contests her title as “the worst pool player in the Westrand”.
Ndukwe Onuoha resides in Lagos Nigeria, where he is a copywriter by day and poet by design. He draws his inspiration from the many human stories that play themselves out every day, providing a unique insight into the animal called man.
He is married to a lovely blogger, who also has the rather arduous task of keeping him within the agreeable bounds of reality and sanity
Inspirational speaker Kgoshii Tshwarelo Mogakane is an Author, Speaker and Hip Hop/Poetry Writer/Vocalist who lives and works in Mpumalanga’s capital city, Mbombela in South Africa.
Kgoshii is a leader in his own right and uses his ability to speak as a transformation tool for audiences around his home province of Mpumalanga and beyond.
Kgoshii Mogakane believes that self-transformation is the most powerful path to real economic empowerment.
Furthermore Kgoshii, is a professional managing sub editor working with Southern Africa’s leading news agency, African Eye News Service (AENS). He is responsible for quality control on all newswire content published by AENS through their myriad of mainstream and community newspaper clients.
His writings have been widely published in national newspapers such as City Press, The Star, Mail & Guardian, Sunday Independent, Sunday Sun, Sowetan Sunday World and Daily Sun among others. He has also written for magazines such as Bona, News Weekly, Enterprise, Sunrise, Lowveld Living and Capital Magazine. His other writings have been widely published on international news website, news24.com and the South African government’s SA News site.
Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet, Kwame Dawes is the award-winning author of sixteen books of poetry (most recently, Wheels, 2011) and numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. Kwame Dawes also teaches in the Pacific MFA Writing program.
Karin Schimke is a widely published journalist and columnist, and the Cape Times books editor. She also works as a writing tutor and mentor, an author of non-fiction – including the best-selling Fabulously Forty and Beyond, co-written with Margie Orford – of children’s books and of short stories. She edited Open, an anthology of erotic short stories written by some of South Africa’s best known women writers. Her poetry has appeared in South Africa Writing, New Contrast, New Coin and Carapace magazines. Bare & Breaking her first collection of poems won the Ingrid Jonker Prize in 2014.
LEMN SISSAY MBE is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night and an honorary doctor of Letters. He has been a writer from birth and foremost he is a poet.
Lemn is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. Sissay was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics. His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London. They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. His Landmark Poem,Guilt of Cain, was unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu in Fen Court near Fenchurch St Station.
Sissay’s installation poem what if was exhibited at The Royal Academy alongside Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. It came from his Disko Bay Expedition to the Arctic alongside Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Leslie Feist and KT Tunstall. His 21st century poem was released on multi-million award winning album Leftism by Leftfield. A violin concerto performed at The BBC by Viktoria Mullova was inspired by Lemn Sissay’s poem Advice For The Living.
Sissay’s award winning play Something Dark directed by National Theatre of Wales artistic director John McGrath has been performed throughout the world and his stage adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah’s Novel Refugee Boy at West Yorkshire Playhouse tours Britain in 2014. A BBC TV documentary, Internal Flight , and a radio documentary, Child of the State, were both broadcast about his life and his Ted Talk has close to a million views. His documentary on the late Gil Scott Heron was the first pubic announcement of Scott-Heron’s comeback album.
Sissay describes dawn in one tweet every day. His Morning Tweets. One Morning Tweet became an award winning building MVMNT Café commissioned by Cathedral group designed and built by Supergroup’s Morag Myerscough. It is the only building in the world built below a tweet. Cathedral also commissioned a Landmark Poem, Shipping Good, which will be laid into the streets of Greenwich.
He was the first Black Writers Development Worker in the North of England. He created and established Cultureword (part of Commonword) where Sissay developed supported and published many new writers who’ve gone on to a life of creativity. Sissay received an MBE from The Queen for services to literature and an honorary doctorate from University of Huddersfield who run The Sissay Scholarship for care leavers: It is the first of its kind in the UK.
The Guardian newspaper heralded the arrival of his first book Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist. “Lemn Sissay has Success written all over his forehead”. He was 21. Between the ages of 18 and 32 he tracked his family down across the world. His career as a writer happened in spite of his incredible life story not because of it.
He has made various BBC radio documentaries on or with writers such as Gil Scott Heron, The last Poets, JB Priestley, Edgar Allan Poe and poetry films broadcast to the nation. His head is in London where he’s based, his heart is in Manchester where he is not, his soul is in Addis and his vibe is in New York where his mother lives. He blogs openly for personal reasons. Google Lemn Sissay and all the hits would be about him. There is only one Lemn Sissay in the world.
At age 7, her class teacher wrote on her mid-term report sheet, “Jumoke loves to write”. While that was just a teacher’s observation, it is one revelation that has remained true. Her love for words has never taken her far from it. She has worked as a printer’s clerk, assistant sub-editor, performance poet and journalist. Now working as a copywriter, she maintains a page in the Guardian Newspaper. Her poems and short stories have appeared in several magazines like Chimurenga, Bathtub Gin, Canopic Jar, Eclectica, Sentinel, African writing-online, Boyne Berries, Farafina, Kwani and several anthologies.
I am Memory is Jumoke’s first collection of poetry.
Julian Curry started writing poetry in 1999. Besides receiving the 2003 crown at the Nuyorican, he was also the 2003 Bowery Poetry Club Co-Grand Slam Champion. His poetry is a glimpse into the inner city, Wall Street, family, and a regular guy’s everyday life.
Originally from the Bahamas, Julian now calls Harlem his home. He has been featured in Forbes Magazine & on BET’s Lyric Cafe. He was also featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
James Matthews, poet, writer and publisher, has produced five books of poetry, a collection of short stories, a novel and an anthology of poetry, which he edited. Most of his work was banned under the previous government and was translated and published overseas. For 13 years he was denied a passport and was placed in detention from September to December 1976. Solitary confinement was widely used during the apartheid years; its purpose being to disorient, to dehumanize, to undermine the detainee’s sense of self-identity. James Matthews waged a struggle against this agenda with the one weapon the jailers couldn’t take away from him – his ability to turn words into poems.
In 1980 Matthews participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair, and in 1982 he participated in the Cultural and Resistance Conference in Gaborone. He was awarded a Fellowship at Iowa University, U.S.A. and was the founding member of the Vakalisa Art Association and founding member and Patron of the Congress of South African Writers. James Matthews is the first black person to have established an art gallery (Gallery Afrique) in South Africa, and is the first black to have established a publishing house (BLAC Publishing House 1974 -1991) The publishing house closed in 1991 due to constant harassment by the previous government. Matthews is the recipient of the Woza Afrika Award (1978), Kwaza Honours List – Black Arts Celebration, Chicago, U.S.A.(1979) and the Freeman of Lehrte and Nienburg, Germany (1982). In 2010, he was given an award by the City of Cape Town.
Growing in the towns of Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi City, Jemedari is a spoken word poet and Hip Hop artiste. Having involved himself in poetry from school level competitions, his style is a gritty mix of English and coastal Swahili. His focus on topics is mainly politics and social justice, with the occasional dabbling in matters of the heart.