Richard Mbuthia

Richard Mbuthia is an English and Literature teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Poetry is his second love: the rhythm, verse and verve of poetry are ingredients of a great love story. The twenty six letters of the alphabet amaze him with their ability to be used as instruments of change – their volatility, pointedness, efficiency and aptness cannot be gainsaid.

His ambition is that one day he will be a poet of high repute; a poet churning out metres and metres of verse; a poet on the drawing board of many a winning verse; a poet charting the way for revolutionary pieces; a poet telling the African story as it is and as it ought to be.

Hermann Kenfack

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).

Loyce Gayo

Loyce Gayo was born in Tanzania and is currently pursuing a degree in African and African Diaspora Studies with a Minor in Mathematics at the University of Texas in Austin. Gayo’s time in the diaspora and her constant desire to go home has profoundly influenced her craft. Gayo was the Slam Champ of the UT Spitshine Poetry Slam team who won the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in Boulder Colorado. Gayo currently serves as a member of the Austin TheySpeak Youth Slam that will be competing in the 2014 Brave New Voices in Philadelphia.

Collin the Bushman

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.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872, Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by members of his race and the efforts of African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage.

The family was poor, and after Joshua left, Matilda supported her children by working in Dayton as a washerwoman. One of the families she worked for was the family of Orville and Wilbur Wright, with whom her son attended Dayton’s Central High School. Though the Dunbar family had little material wealth, Matilda, always a great support to Dunbar as his literary stature grew, taught her children a love of songs and storytelling. Having heard poems read by the family she worked for when she was a slave, Matilda loved poetry and encouraged her children to read. Dunbar was inspired by his mother, and he began reciting and writing poetry as early as age 6.

Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central High, and while he often had difficulty finding employment because of his race, he rose to great heights in school. He was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school’s literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton’s Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers.

His first public reading was on his birthday in 1892. A former teacher arranged for him to give the welcoming address to the Western Association of Writers when the organization met in Dayton. James Newton Matthews became a friend of Dunbar’s and wrote to an Illinois paper praising Dunbar’s work. The letter was reprinted in several papers across the country, and the accolade drew regional attention to Dunbar; James Whitcomb Riley, a poet whose works were written almost entirely in dialect, read Matthew’s letter and acquainted himself with Dunbar’s work. With literary figures beginning to take notice, Dunbar decided to publish a book of poems. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892.

Though his book was received well locally, Dunbar still had to work as an elevator operator to help pay off his debt to his publisher. He sold his book for a dollar to people who rode the elevator. As more people came in contact with his work, however, his reputation spread. In 1893, he was invited to recite at the World’s Fair, where he met Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who rose from slavery to political and literary prominence in America. Douglass called Dunbar “the most promising young colored man in America.”

Dunbar moved to Toledo, Ohio, in 1895, with help from attorney Charles A. Thatcher and psychiatrist Henry A. Tobey. Both were fans of Dunbar’s work, and they arranged for him to recite his poems at local libraries and literary gatherings. Tobey and Thatcher also funded the publication of Dunbar’s second book, Majors and Minors.

It was Dunbar’s second book that propelled him to national fame. William Dean Howells, a novelist and widely respected literary critic who edited Harper’s Weekly, praised Dunbar’s book in one of his weekly columns and launched Dunbar’s name into the most respected literary circles across the country. A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar’s first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. The book included an introduction written by Howells. In 1897, Dunbar traveled to England to recite his works on the London literary circuit. His national fame had spilled across the Atlantic.

After returning from England, Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore, a young writer, teacher and proponent of racial and gender equality who had a master’s degree from Cornell University. Dunbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and it is believed the library’s dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time.

In 1902, Dunbar and his wife separated. Depression stemming from the end of his marriage and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper’s Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He traveled to Colorado and visited his half-brother in Chicago before returning to his mother in Dayton in 1904. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906.


When Titilope first stepped to the microphone in 2007 at a local open mic, to gracing stages from Lagos to Cape Town, New York to California, Edmonton to Toronto and places in between, her goal has been to remind people that the ties that bind us transcend all of the borders we have created. She will tell you that no poem is brand new. In the telling and re-telling we are reminded that someone has walked this path before.

Titilope is a Nigerian born civil engineer, author and spoken word poet and the winner of the 2011 Canadian Authors’ Association Emerging Author Award for her first collection of poems, Down To Earth. In 2013 Titilope released her first spoken word album Mother Tongue and her second collection of poetry, Abscess, in 2014 with Geko Publishing in South Africa.

She was a resident artist at the 2011 Yemoya Artist Residency under the mentorship of acclaimed Jamaican-Canadian Dub poet and educator, D’bi Young. She was the recipient of the 2013 RISE award for achievement in the arts and the 2014 National Black Coalition of Canada Fil Fraser Award.

She has featured on stages across Canada and internationally, performing with Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Obiora Odechukwu, Bassey Ikpi, Twin Poets and Offiong Bassey, at the 2011 Achebe Colloquium on Africa at Brown University. In 2013, Titilope was selected from over 200 writers to meet legendary poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou.

She is the creator of Rouge Poetry, a weekly open mic that has feature local and international poets and musicians for over 5 years. She is the founding member of the Breath In Poetry Collective, home of the 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) championship winning Edmonton Slam Team. Titilope also adds acting to her list of accomplishments, starring as Eki in the Ndani TV hit series, Gidi Up that will air across Africa in 2014.

Even with the soil of continents beneath her feet, the stories that are surer with each passing year, she has not forgotten where it all began. She will tell you it is simple; when your heart is cracked open and a multitude of words begin to leak from your chest, before you stain everything you dare to touch, put it in a poem.

Mojisola Adebayo

Mojisola Adebayo is a British born, Nigerian / Danish performer, playwright, director, producer, workshop leader and teacher. Over the past 20 years, she has worked on theatre projects across the world including Antarctica, Botswana, Brazil, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Finland, Greenland, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, the USA and Zimbabwe. She has acted in over 40 theatre, television and radio productions, scripted, devised and directed over 30 plays and has lead countless workshops and training courses.

Her wide and diverse work has ranged from being an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company to co-founding VIDYA, a slum dweller’s theatre company in Ahmedabad, India. All of her work is concerned with power, identity, personal and social change. Having trained extensively with and also worked alongside Augusto Boal, she is a specialist facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed, being invited to work particularly in areas of conflict and crisis.

Mojisola also teaches in the department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, at Rose Bruford College and is studying for her PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

Mojisola has written poetry for many years and even had a stint as a teenage rapper. However, it was in 2005 that she embarked upon writing plays as her primary focus, through her landmark production, Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey, which was researched on Antarctica in 2005 and performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer up North and had a British Council African tour. She followed this with Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House) and Matt Henson, North Star, developed in Greenland through Cape Farewell (Lyric Hammersmith).

Her first commission was Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour). 48 Minutes for Palestine, a collaboration with Ashtar Theatre Palestine, is now touring all over the world. The Listeners, a play for young actors, commissioned by Pegasus Theatre Company, in partnership with The Samaritans (Oxford) premiered in March 2012. She was a Writer-on-Attachment with Unicorn and Birmingham Rep where she wrote Asara and the Sea-Monstress, her first play for children.

I Stand Corrected, created with Mamela Nyamza and commissioned by Artscape, South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in August 2012 and played to rave reviews at Ovalhouse in November / December 2012. The show comes to the Soweto Theatre in 2013.

Alongside her produced plays, Mojisola’s publications include The Theatre for Development Handbook with John Martin and Manisha Mehta, based on their work with VIDYA (order at all proceeds go to the VIDYA charitable trust); 48 Minutes for Palestine in Anna Furse’s Theatre in Pieces: An Anthology of Experimental Theatre from 1968-2010 (Methuen) and Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey in Deirdre Osborne’s Hidden Gems for Oberon Books. Her first solo collection Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One has just been published by Oberon. Order Plays One here: She is busy working on Plays Two

Kokumo Noxid

Jamaica is without doubt the foremost nation in the world for reggae! However the cultural, political and social climate tends to shape the musical offerings of this glorious nation.

Kokumo is a citizen and artisan from Jamaica whose debut album Writing’s On The Wall may well be the finest recording in the dub poetry vain for many a decade. Kokumo’s delivery will obviously draw comparisons to Mutabaruka but there is an originality of style that will appeal to audiences worldwide.

Described as not just an artist but also a cultural anthropologist and dub-griot, Kokumo uses his skills as a singer/songwriter and a dub-poet to capture his audience, whilst taking them on a cultural, spiritual and political journey.

Hailed from the parish better known as the cockpit country in rural Jamaica, seems to have contributed to the powerful voice that allows his words to take flight.

With a name meaning, “this one will not die” in Yoruba, is synonymous with the notion that his work will be around forever.

His work is rooted in the consciousness of Rasta and the cultural experiences of black people worldwide. This consciousness was triggered from an early age which he credited to being around his Rastafarian cousins but didn’t manifest until a later stage in life when he began to write songs and poetry.

Kokumo’s multidisciplinary skills as a performer have landed him roles in plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company and his own sold out production, GENESIS 9:25 @ The Birmingham Rep. Theatre, 2010. He also appeared at The Tate Britain, The Poetry Café London, BBC Radio 4, B-Spoken Word, BBC WM, Robert Beckford Show and the colourful face introducing Benjamin Zephaniah at Griotology held at The Drum, for his T.V. documentary, This OBE Is Not For Me.

Kokumo has being commissioned to write and perform for organizations such as Oxfam International Birmingham, Arts Council England, West Midlands and BBC WM to mark the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the Slave Trade in The British Parliament. Other highlights include his appearance at Calabash Festival, Glastonbury Festival and being included in the “RED” anthology published by Peepal Tree Press 2010.

His written works has also being published in numerous magazines and online journals, most recent appeared in dialogue – a magazine for cultural literacy, No. 2/Vol. 3, (, edited by the late Dr. Roi Kwabena.

Julian Curry

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.

Jethro Louw

Jethro is a poet from Cape Town, born in Beaufort West in the Eastern Cape. He lives in a township. He is a ghetto poet, largely considered to be the godfather of spoken word in Cape Town. And alongside poets such as Lesego Rampolokeng, Mzwakhe Mbuli and Mzwandile Matiwana, he ranks as one of the nation’s key voices, a noteable “word-bomber”. Jethro uses the power of his words to bring back to life the discontinued heritage of his culture. His work revitalises the legacy of stories and the wealth of storytellers of the KhoiSan people. For centuries, the members of this community have been silenced by the gun and the bullet and the wall. The results are a lack of formal skills and access to infrastructure to turn those skills into income, subsequently a lack of identity and self esteem.

Jethro Louw’s compositions and performances feature on Volume One of the Coffeebeans Routes’ Bootleg Series, by the Khoi Khollektif, in collaboration with several Cape Town acts. The tracks are all live recordings from shows in Cape Town between 2004 and 2007. Jethro also features on the Goemarati compilation, with his track In a Third World, a collaboration with Black Rose.

Jeff Plumbline

Poet, songwriter, political blogger ( and Hip Hop Rap/spoken word artist Plumbline was born in Lagos Nigeria, in his Lagos Island hometown.

Growing up, he was influenced by local poets like the late Mamman Vatsa and later on caught up with the works of the Late Ken Saro Wiwa.

His defining moment was when he heard Kurtis Blow’s Basketball and If I ruled the World in the Early/Mid Eighties. Having been on Michael Jackson’s pop and Boney M’s Discotheque, this was to him a paradigm shift. By the time he was in high school, he started writing his own rhymes but did not go into active recording till 2006/2007, the time he concluded his Masters Degree in Applied Geophysics, five years after a first Degree in Geology.

He is a regular spoken word performer at Taruwa, Lydia Sobogun’s Poetry/Open Mic event hosted by Bez with a fiery delivery that earned him the title Taruwa Favourite. He performs at Anthill, and hosts a Spoken Word event, Chill and Relax at Life House, Sinari Daranijo, Victoria Island. He was also one of the Poets at Rhyme and Reasons for Jos, a gathering of Artists and Comedians to decry the Jos violence.

He has since teamed up with BigFoot (Micworx), Kraft (Kraftwork), and Steady of STOMProductions on an ambitious Hiphop/Spoken Word project.

James Matthews

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.


JahRose is a poet, mentor, performer, an author, social entrepreneur and art activist. JahRose Productions is an umbrella where all these come together. She self published and launched her debut poetry compilation book: Rooted from the heart in 2010. She recently published Free State of Mind Anthology, with an audio book and a DVD. Free State of Mind Anthology has subsequently been turned into a documentary.

Deena Padayachee

MB Ch B(Natal)

Winner: Olive Schreiner Prize for prose (1994)

Winner: Nadine Gordimer Prize for a short story (1991).

Winner of the Fay Goldie Award (three times) and a prize from the Grahamstown Eisteddfod for prose writing.

Short stories and poems broadcast on SAFM and LotusFM, again in 2013, and published in literary journals in India, the UK, USA, Canada and Australia and translated into Tamil and Hindi.

Short stories published in over 12 literary anthologies including  A century of South African short stories, the University of Cambridge’s New Writing from South Africa, Penguin’s contemporary short stories and Reader’s Digest’s Best South African short stories.

Prescribed author for KZN matrics in 2004/2005.

Monthly Columnist for the Sunday Times Extra till 2008.

Invited author at the university of Copenhagen (1999), university of Tuebingen (1999), Teacher’s college of Mauritius (2007), State university of Louisiana (2008), University of Zululand (2012)

Poems and prose published in 2011/2012 by Rhodes university, Wits university and the university of Oklahoma as well as in other literary anthologies.

Diana Ferrus

Diana Ferrus was born in Worcester in 1953 and completed her high school career in 1972. She completed a postgraduate degree in Women’s and Gender studies at the University of the Western Cape where she works as an administrator in the Dept of Industrial Psychology.

Diana is a writer, poet, performance poet and story-teller. Her work in both Afrikaans and English has been published in various collections and some serve as prescribed texts for high school learners. Her publishing house, Diana Ferrus Publishers has published various publications including her first Afrikaans collection of poetry, Ons Komvandaan. Diana co-edited and published a collection of stories about fathers and daughters, Slaan vir my ‘n masker, Vader in 2006. The mission of her publishing company is to publish writers from previously disadvantaged communities. Her company in association with the University of the Western Cape has published life stories of three former activists and unionists namely, Liz “Nana” Abrahams, Zollie Malindi and Archie Sibeko. These publications contain rich material about South Africa’s past and some are prescribed texts at the University of the Western Cape.

She is a founder member of the Afrikaanse Skrywersvereniging (ASV), Bush Poets (all women poets) and Women in Xchains (grassroots women writers).

Diana has attended numerous literary festivals locally and abroad. In 2006 she performed her poetry at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees with the Mamela band. They received a Kanna-award for the best contemporary music. At this very festival Diana received a Kanna-award for her contribution to Afrikaans.

However Diana Ferrus is internationally known and acclaimed for the poem that she wrote for the indigenous South African woman Sarah Bartmann who was taken away from her country under false pretences and paraded as a sexual freak in Europe.

Diana’s work has had and still has a bearing and influence on matters of race, gender, class and reconciliation. She is popular amongst South Africans of all race groups. She believes in her country’s future and works tirelessly for her people’s emancipation from racial, sexual and class exploitation as well as reconciliation.

Desiree Bailey

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Desiree has lived in New York for over 13 years. Still, the Caribbean will never leave her.

She believes that the written and spoken word can set fire to the positive action and social change that is waiting in our bones.

Chirikure Chirikure

Chirikure Chirikure was born in Gutu, Zimbabwe, in 1962. He is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe and an Honorary Fellow of Iowa University, USA. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany, as a fellow under the 2011/12 DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm (Artists in Berlin Programme). He also works as a performance poet and cultural consultant.

He worked with one of Zimbabwe’s leading publishing houses as an editor/publisher for 17 years, until 2002. After working as a consultant for a while, he went on to work for an international development agency as a programme officer for culture, for Southern Africa, based in Harare, until April 2011.
Chirikure has published the following volumes of his poetry: Rukuvhute (1989, College Press, Harare); Chamupupuri (1994, College Press, Harare); Hakurarwi – We Shall not Sleep (1998, Baobab Books, Harare) and Aussicht Auf Eigene Schatten (Shona and English poems with German translations) (2011, Afrika Wunderhorn, Heidelberg, Germany).

He has also contributed some pieces in a number of poetry anthologies, including Zviri Muchinokoro (2005, ZPH Publishers), Intwasa Poetry (2008, AmaBooks Publishers), Schicksal Afrika (ed. Horst Kohler) (2010, Rowohlt Verlag), No Serenity Here – An Anthology of African Poetry in Chinese, (2010 Moonchu Foundation).
His poetry has been translated into a number of languages. He has also written and translated a number of children’s stories and educational books.

Chirikure’s first three poetry books received first prizes in the annual Zimbabwe writer of the year awards. His first volume, Rukuvhute, also received an Honorable Mention in the Noma Awards for Publishing in Africa, in 1990. His other book, Hakurarwi – We Shall not Sleep, was selected as one of the 75 Best Zimbabwean Books of the 20th Century in a competition ran by the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in 2004. In that competition the same book got a prize as one of the best five Shona publications of the 20th Century.

Chirikure performs his poetry solo and/or with DeteMbira mbira music ensemble. With DeteMbira, they recorded an album of poetry and music, Napukeni (2002, Tuku Music/ZMC). He regularly performs and tours with musician Chiwoniso Maraire, with whom he has recorded an album of poetry with mbira music, Chimanimani .

With support from family and friends, he has also recorded an album of his poetry with contemporary music, Chisina Basa (2011, Metro Studios Harare/Inyasha Studios UK).

He has also written lyrics for a number of leading Zimbabwean musicians and he occasionally performs and has recorded with some of these musicians.

He has also contributed lyrics, translations and voice-overs in films and documentaries, and has acted in some theatre productions. He has also been an occasional contributor to the print media and used to run a radio programme for young Shona writers.

Over the years, Chirikure has participated in several international festivals, fairs, conferences and symposiums, as a performer, speaker or resource person.

Hector S Kunene

Born in 1981 in Hammarsdale just outside Durban, Hector S Kunene first journeyed into poetry at the young age of 16 and immediately his love for his art emerged. It was his love for poetry that saw one of his first poems Bloody Corpuscles published in the Sunday Times newspaper. Hector later moved to Bloemfontein where he pursued his childhood dream of publishing a book because “I want to see people reading, I want people to start appreciating poetry again like they did in the days of Don Mattera and the likes of Mzwakhe Mbuli and Keorapetse Gkositsile”.

His first book Through The Tunnel released in 2010 not only received exceptional reviews but was also internationally recognized. He went on to publish a literary study of Omoseye Bolaji that same year which as well was well received by literary pundits, newspapers and numerous other local publications. The successes of both books resulted in him being awarded the Free State Writer of the Year award in 2010 in addition to the Free State Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation purchasing his works for libraries across the province.

Hector, who additionally serves as a Manager at SAA’s Airchef’s division, was also billed to perform at the Howick Writers Festival in Durban and was honored by Darrel David for Midland Literary Festival and Boekbedonner in the Karoo to name but a few. With a third book in the pipeline, the literary protégé is bound to receive further acclaim.

The rising star, who has even learnt other languages in order to resonate with his audiences, sites Dr. Don Mattera, Keorapetse Gkositsile, Napo Mashiane, Jah Rose, Lebo Mashile, Gcina Mhlophe and QwaQwa native Kwazi as his sources of inspiration.

His unique traditional poetry style laced with inspirational spiritual messages has undoubtedly endeared him in the hearts of his followers. “This is what I live to do. I worship God with poetry. I long to see the church appreciating God in Poetry. I yearn to see young children play in the rain singing ‘Re Ne Sa Pula’. I would love to see the libraries filled with our books and us being celebrated all over the world for doing what we love”.

Hector has worked with:
* Afurakhan
* Dr. Cool
* Dr. Don Mattera
* Flaxman Qoopane
* Kgafela
* Icebound
* Jahrose
* Lebo Leisa
* Lesego Rampolokeng
* Myesha Rose Jenkins
* Napo Mashiane
* Natalia Molebatsi
* Omoseye Bolaji
* Raselebeli Khotseng
* Rita Chihawa
* Sheila Khala
* The Archives

Ari Sitas

Ari Sitas is a poet, dramatist and sociologist. A founder member of the Junction Avenue theatre company in Johannesburg, he was involved in most of its productions until 1982 when he moved to Durban.

Sitas’s involvement in popular and worker theatre since the 1970s has been widely celebrated, his broader writing and involvement as a leading intellectual in anti-Apartheid movements has left a trail of robust engagements within and outside the country. In 1978 the theatre company received the Olive Schreiner Award for his play Randlords and Rotgut, and in 1981 won an award for the video/film Howl at the Moon. His first collection of poetry Tropical Scars (1989) met with much critical acclaim, and he followed this with a collection experimenting with musical form, was included in the anthology, Essential Things (1990). Sitas’s book, Slave Trades (2000), a result of seven years of research and writing has been highly praised. His last collection, The RDP Poems (2004) was his most disturbingly controversial with their precise and bleak analysis of current traumas in South Africa’s transition. Rough music (2014) is his current collection of poetry. Sitas has also penned a libretto for an opera for composer Jurgen Brauninger, Dead Fish and Dreams of Love Again.

Ari Sitas is considered to be one of the country’s leading sociologists and has been elected by the International Sociological Association on the executive of its world council. Locally, he is seen to be a central thinker around the African Renaissance and of social justice and labour movements. He is currently working on a collection of his plays, a take on Around the World in 80 days (of which the India section has been completed) and a series of lyrics titled Insurrections done in conjunction with other poets and composers from South Africa and India.

Anelisa Mbotyana “Dizadala”

Anelisa Mbotyana “Dizadala” considers herself as one who was called to reveal secrets. This 19 year old has lived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa her whole life. Her ancestors bestowed on her the gift to be a praise poet from the tender age of five.

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa is a Ugandan South African poet, storyteller, coach and facilitator. She is the youngest daughter of Ugandan poet and civil servant, the late Henry Barlow. Both her parents loved literature – her father the writer, her mother the teacher, researcher and narrator. While she most commonly called Philippa, she always signs Namutebi at the end of her poems. “Namutebi is the creative side of me. She is the one who writes.”

She sees her poems more as stories – portraits of moments in her life. Her poems draw images of growing up in Uganda in the 60s and 70s and in the later years as an immigrant in various parts of Africa – touching on both the personal and political as it impacted her. Having lived in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa, she often wrestles with the question of identity and belonging. She also explores her triumphs and struggles as a woman.

Namutebi also has a passion for folktales and myths – the wisdom of centuries, the tried and tested imagery, the archetypal characters that give new perspective to the perennial questions that we struggle with. She says, “When a story gets my heart beating faster, or an image in a story stirs something inside me, I know that that story has come to teach me at this moment in my life! I believe this is true for everyone.”

Namutebi lives in Cape Town with her husband, Victor, and 3 children – Faye, Senteza and Chris.

Rustum Kozain

Rustum Kozain was born in 1966 in Paarl, South Africa. Studied for several years at the University of Cape Town; spent ten months (1994-1995) in the United States of America on a Fulbright Scholarship. Returned to South Africa and lectured in the Department of English at UCT from 1998 to 2004, teaching in the fields of literature, film, and popular culture.
Poetry published in local and international journals; debut volume, This Carting Life, published in 2005 (Kwela/Snailpress). Awarded the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize.

Seni Seneviratne

Of English and Sri Lankan descent, Seni Seneviratne’s work as a poet and live- artist is widely acclaimed. Her performances are a delicate mix of spoken word and folk/jazz song, offering a poetic landscape that echoes themes of migration, family, love and loss and reflects her personal journey as a woman of mixed heritage. She is published in the UK, Denmark, Canada and South Africa, and has presented readings and performances on various international stages.

Sam Umokoro

Sam Umukoro has written for Vanguard and The Guardian newspapers in Nigeria. He has recently published an anthology of poetry, Heartstrings and he is also the author of Once Upon A Monday (collection of short stories) and currently working on another collection of short stories.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a young Zimbabwean poet born in 1983. He graduated with a First Class honors degree in English from Midlands State University and currently reading for a PhD in English at the University of Kent, in the UK.

He co-edited with David Nettleingham, State of the Nation: Contemporary Zimbabwean Poetry (2009) and also co-editing with Caroline Rooney, Emerging Perspectives on Chenjerai Hove: Literature, Politics & Culture (2011). His maiden book of verse is titled Harare’s Lonely Eyes.

The Mighty Third Rail

The Mighty Third Rail, aside from being a clever riff on that special rail on the train tracks that will shock the ish out of you, and aside from being a metaphor in politics to avoid controversial issues, is also a three man trio that mixes the elements of Hip Hop, poetry, beat-boxing, violin and bass. From poetry cafes to colleges to concert halls, whether it’s jamming at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Joe’s Pub, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, or performing at the prestigious Lincoln Center , The Mighty Third Rail undoubtedly delivers.

Featuring the dashing Darian Dauchan on vocals, the indelible Ian Baggette on bass, and the courteous Curtis Stewart on violin. With daring vocals, booming basslines and a vivacious violin, this bold, urban collective creates politically challenging works that push the boundaries of Jazz and Hip Hop to define the next generation’s voice.

Tahiru Hamid Seinu

Tahiru Hamid Seinu is a poet and Pan-Africanist. He loves nature and conceptualizing community initiatives.

Tshepiso Konopi

Tshepiso Konopi is an academic and Wits Graduate, actor, poet, drama and voice trainer and theatre director. He has been a theatre practitioner for a number of years. Over these years he’s had the opportunity to present his work to a myriad of audiences nationally and internationally. He’s also collaborated with acclaimed artists and academics who have helped to carve his career in the arts.

His interest and focus in theatre has been directed toward developing artists who are skilled enough to compete on national and international platforms. Currently he is involved in the development of an actor training model which concentrates on helping actor peak their performance abilities. With this model he has since produced a number of articles, actors and productions.

Also, he is a Senior Drama Tutor at Mmabana in Mafikeng, a co-founder of Konopi Media – a company that specializes in the production of various media solutions ranging from, publications, audio-visual products to drama based training simulations for sales representatives and managers in the corporate sector.

Uche Uwadinachi

Uche Uwadinachi also called Flames – Priest of poetry, is a spoken word artist and the author of poetry collection SCAR in the HEART of pain and it’s Spoken Word audio Album.
He is the winner of ANA Lagos (Association of Nigerian Authors) Poetry Performance Festival Prize 2006 and Pakistan June ‘Poetrycraze’ contest 2009. 2nd Prize Poetry Winner of Ken Saro-Wiwa Contest, USA  2010, won the June Loudthotz Poetry contest 2011 and directed the overall winning Poetry performance of district 5 Education Board for the Lagos State Jam Feast Competition 2011, his poems have been published in the ‘Lime Jewel’ collection-London 2010 and other publications. His poetry performances has been seen on Bookshelves-LTV8, 9ja TV, Tinapa Trade Expo 2008, Lagos State Trade Fair EKO-EXPO 20011, Wordslam 1,2,3 & 4, Poetry Potter, Potters Lounge, Anthill, Pen Society among others,  presently, he is  an independent television presenter with Konto Music and works towards his new spoken-word-rap album titled E’FI MI LE’ joo’or.

Wangari Ngugi

Wangari Ngugi is the daughter of the late Ngugi Wa Mirii. She was born in exile in Harare, Zimbabwe and thus goes by the name ‘daughter of exile’. She is inspired to write by her experiences growing up as well as current economic, social and political issues affecting our world today.

She is a passionate performer who hopes to be published by the end of 2011, who is currently working on a book as well as a compilation of her poetry. She has written two poems for the ‘We want Peace’ campaign spear headed by Emmanuel Jal aimed at creating awareness about the need for global action to prevent war in Sudan. Her work can also be found where she blogs occasionally.