Leshie Lovesong

Leshie Lovesong, recently resident in Cincinnati, Ohio, (USA) is a Motswana poet, singer and song writer. Her stage journey began in 2007 as a member of ExodusLivePoetry!, a pioneering poetry movement in Botswana.

Her first studio recorded EP, Sunflowers and Strawberries was launched and released at the Queen City Poetry Slam in Cincinnati, Ohio where Leshie was a feature artist. The release of S&S follows Leshie’s second solo event, BREATHE: A Night of Poetry and Music, which was staged in Gaborone, Botswana in August 2014. BREATHE is the second part of a 3 part “Love Letters”, written, directed, produced and performed by Leshie, accompanied by other artists. The first part, FALLING: A Night of Poetry and Music, was staged in Gaborone, at Moving Space Theatre, Maru-A-Pula School on March 7th 2014. The show sold out, and got extensive media coverage. The last installment is expected to be staged in 2015. The trilogy follows a lover, on her journey towards finding herself, exploring the luminal spaces, very rarely confronted, including the impact of past experiences, and how they shape one. Leshie has also performed adaptations of the trilogy in the Maitisong Festival 2014 and 2015, held in Gaborone.

In 2013, Leshie performed at the INTWASA KoBulawayo Festival in September, and at the Maun International Poetry Festival in October. Her EP, released recently, was recorded in 2013, by Heaven Sent Productions.

2012 saw Leshie co-write a workshopped poetry play, “The Bedspread”, which was launched in Gaborone, and later performed at the annual “Sex Actually” festival in Johannesburg, South Africa. As a social and environmental activist, Leshie travelled to Luanda, Angola and Rundu, Namibia in mid 2012, workshopping scripts and performing plays aimed raising awareness on the importance of the sustainable development of the Okavango River. As a poet, Leshie’s poetry was inevitably featured in the plays.

Between 2012 and 2013, Leshie acted in various other theatre productions, including pantomimes of Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast, in both of which she played lead roles; and Passion Plays I and II, where she explored even more challenging and provocative roles which explored the range of her capacity as an artist, and taught her discipline.

Her work has been featured in ‘Dreaming is a Gift for Me’, an audio anthology, produced by SAUTI Artist Administration; as well as in ‘Awakening’, a compilation of affirmations.

Leshie’s written work has been featured in the Womb edition of Prairie Schooner.

Lesego Nswahu Nchunga (Leshie Lovesong)/ @leshielovesong/

Letang Selepe

There are days when Letang Selepe wakes up feeling like a ripe and wise 50 year old, and other days a scared and confused 16 year old girl. She is actually a 28 year old Tswana woman, from a small village called Ramokgonami. She spent most of her pre high school years in a small mining town called Selebi-Phikwe. Lived in Zimbabwe for a good 4 years, and dwelled in Francistown and Gaborone thereafter. Lived in the USA for a magical year, where she met amazing people from all over the world. She came back home, yearning to write again.

She currently resides in Maun, and it is here where she stopped caging in her emotions and let them roam free on paper.

Poetry captivates you, in the now, it move’s you between different worlds. It is for this reason that she was drawn to writing, poetry was a path to healing, a path to acceptance. Most of her poetry stems from her own reality.

Katleho Shoro

Katleho Kano Shoro is a performance poet, writer, social science graduate (MA) and steadfast enthusiast of Africa-centred literary initiatives.

This Johannesburg-born poet has been writing and performing poetry since the mid-2000s. She has taken to infusing her poetic proclivities within her scholarly pursuits: namely, through her Honours dissertation which explored contemporary performance poetry in South Africa (2010), and as the co-editor of The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa – a publication edited together with Mbongiseni Buthelezi and Christopher Ouma and anchored within a Goethe Institute project. While she has participated in African literary initiatives in various ways, her work with the African Arts Institute (AFAI) and Langaa RPCIG is worth mentioning. As a former project manager at AFAI, she coordinated African literary discussions in Cape Town and hosted African writers as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Katleho’s work with the Cameroon-based research and publishing initiative, Langaa RPCIG, has included coordinating and facilitating literature workshops in Cape Town and Cameroon.

Katleho has performed her poetry in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Grahamstown and Swaziland in spaces such as Yfm, Verses and HOLAAfrica events. Between 2008 and 2009, she was a finalist and core poet in Poetry Delight Cape Town and Poetry Delight Johannesburg, respectively. Through the collective, she also produced Poetry Delight Grahamstown: Chemistry of the Arts – a theatrical poetry production which formed part of the National Arts Festival Fringe programme (2009). Katleho was a featured poet in Nike’s CAPE/BURG (IAM1) Project in 2009 where she wrote and recorded the poem, “Remember Me”, for the project and CAPE/BURG (IAM1) book.

Her poem, Sesotho saka will not be written italics, was recently published in the journal, Killens Review of Arts and Letters (2015). She is currently editing her first collection of poetry, Serurubele Poetries.

Thandi Sliepen

Thandi Sliepen is a self taught artist living in the Eastern Free State. Born in 1971 in Mowbray, Cape Town she left South Africa in 1976 and immigrated with her family to New Zealand where she completed her formal education.

In 1990 she farewelled the antipodes and returned to Africa, first to Tanzania for 8 months and then back to her roots in South Africa. In 1992 Thandi met artist Martin Wessels and the stage was set for a life of Art. She moved into a cave on Martin’s property and started painting, sculpting and continued to write poetry prolifically.

Since then Thandi has lived and exhibited in various places around South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Thandi currently lives on a farm outside Ladybrand with her partner, photographer Glen Green and their two children.

Thandi’s website is www.glengreen.co.za/thandi

Alain Alfred Moutapam

Alain Alfred Moutapam is an international lawyer, founder of Tamtamarts a cultural NGO, and a consultant in cultural diplomacy and creative industries.

He was a member of the organising committee for the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar in 2010 and lecturer on the subject of cultural diplomacy and creative industries as new avenues for development of Africa.

He has been involved in several prestigious conferences, including the National Assembly of France, Unesco, in many French councils, the European Parliament in Brussels in his dual capacity as poet and cultural expert.

He is the author of the collection of poems entitled New poetry for a Better World published by Tamtamarts.


RasTakura- founding member of Royal African Soldiers, nominated for the International Reggae and World Music (IRAWMA) award in 2011 – Dub Poet of The Year.

His work covers not only modern issues but critical ones that need to be brought to the forefront. He performed on Word Sound Power that was featured on BETJ. He is a Jamaican Reggae Dub Poet, recording and performing artist, Farmer, Painter, conscious Rastaman residing on the country side of the island of Jamaica.

RasTakura gains his inspiration from H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, Marcus Garvey, Mutabaruka, Andrea Williams-Green and Capleton.

RasTakura’s agricultural and environmental roots were deepened at the Knockalva Agricultural School, and the College of Agriculture, Science & Education (CASE).

In 2003 Takura was featured on the Multicast Poetz CD – a compilation album with Mutabaruka, I-Nubia, Steppa, alongside Neto & Ginsu – produced by Mackonen Blake Hannah & Eric Dixon.

RasTakura has been featured on IRIE FM’s programs – Running African & the Entertainment Buzz. He has been interviewed on the Elise Kelly Easy Skanking program on Irie FM, Jamaican’s number one Radio Station, plus numerous international interviews

He has been featured on T.V.J, CVM TV, as well as in several local print medias such as: The Star, The Gleaner and The Observer Newspapers.

He is “A Potent, Afrocentric Political Poet with a cause” – Rooted with two underground compilation CD’s, Run-Away-Slaves & Dragon Slayers, and a DVD, produced by C.P.T.C. RAS Poetz.

RasTakura was born, and still resides in the beautiful parish of St. Ann, in a small community neighboring Nine Miles, the home of Reggae Legend Bob Marley. He spent his earlier years growing up on a farm with his Grandparents then later lived with his single mother in a neighboring District. He recognized his talent while attending Bensonton All Age School where he gladly used the opportunities given to perform on every school and community concert as a Dancehall Deejay.

He has performed on some of Jamaica’s major shows including Reggae Sumfest, St. Mary Mi Come From, Capleton & Frenz, Fiwi Sinting, Rebel Salute ‘07, Heineken Startime, plus numerous appearances in schools, Colleges and Universities across the island. He is the founder of Dis Poem Word Fest, an all day Poetry festival going on its 4th year on CASE campus and is also the founder of Caribbean Griots Speak, a forum for Carribean writers.

Look forward to the voice of the future, living in the present. Look forward to the upcoming ‘Food War’ album. Look for RasTakura.

Dawn Garisch

Dawn Garisch has had five novels, a collection of poetry Difficult Gifts and a memoir/popular science work Eloquent Body published. Both short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines. She has had a short play and short film produced, and has written for television and newspapers. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.

In 2007 her poem Blood Delta was awarded the DALRO prize. In 2010 Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize for fiction in Africa, and in 2011 her poem Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award.

Her interest in interdisciplinary work in all art forms and psychology has led to her running both memoir writing and creative method courses. She is a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.

Bernedette Muthien

Bernedette Muthien co-founded and directs an NGO, Engender, which works in the intersectional areas of genders & sexualities, human rights, justice & peace. Her community activism is integrally related to her work with continental and international organisations, and her research necessarily reflects the values of equity, societal transformation and justice.
She has published widely, written for diverse audiences, and believes in accessible research and writing.
Bernedette started reading poetry at political mass meetings and other public spaces while at high school during the 1980s. Her poetry has, among others, been translated into Spanish and Portuguese, and published in the Americas, Europe and the UK, as well as across Africa. She is a core member of the Cape Cultural Collective, a progressive performance arts group with its roots in anti-Apartheid struggles of the 1980s. For Bernedette the poetic is not merely personal, but profoundly political and spiritual too.
Amongst others, she co-convenes the Global Political Economy Commission of the International Peace Research Association, is a member of Amanitare, the African network of gender activists, and serves on various international advisory boards, including of the international journal Human Security Studies.
She is co-founder of an indigenous scholar-activist network, the KhoeSan Women’s Circle, in addition to convenor of an international listserv of Native scholar-activists, Gender Egalitarian.
Muthien was the first Fullbright-Amy Biehl fellow at Stanford University (1994-1995), and holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Cape Town (Dean’s Merit List), and Stellenbosch University (Andrew W Mellon Fellow, 2006-2007) in South Africa.
Her current research centres on the Egalitarian KhoeSan – Beyond Patriarchal Violence, in other words, how social and gender egalitarianism are coterminous with nonviolence, as well as showing that nonviolent and egalitarian societies have existed throughout time and continue to exist at present.

Marí Peté

Durban poet Marí Peté writes in Afrikaans and English. Marí was born and schooled in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

Marí wrote her Street Poems Collection while driving to and from various campuses of the Durban University of Technology where she has worked as an e-Learning specialist for almost twenty years. During Poetry Africa 2010, the Mail and Guardian described Marí’s performance of the poem Durban Taxi (a conglomeration of taxi names) as “a delicious success”. The poem Warwick Junction was shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award in 2012.

Various tensions and juxtapositions arise from Marí’s Cambridge Poetry Collection, which could be ascribed to the fact that the poems were originally written in Afrikaans, during the year before South Africa’s first democratic elections. Halfronde / north and south was written upon receiving the news of the death of Chris Hani.

Marí has published two bilingual poetry collections namely Amytis (2007) and Begin (2002). With Bianca Bothma, Marí was editor of Art for Humanity’s book Women Artists and Poets Advocate Children’s Rights.

Malika Lueen Ndlovu

Malika Lueen Ndlovu is a poet, playwright, performer, arts project manager and mother of three sons, with a wide range of experience in the Arts and Arts Management arena.

Malika is a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers’ collective WEAVE, co-editor of their multi-genre anthology WEAVE’s Ink @ Boiling Point: A selection of 21st Century Black Women’s writing from the Southern Tip of Africa. In 2004 she initiated the And The Word Was Woman Ensemble of female performance poets and later that year joined The Mothertongue Project, a women performing artists, writers and visual artists collective.

Malika has four of her own poetry collections, besides her work being featured in several local and international publications, namely Born in Africa But , Womb to World: A Labour of Love, Truth is both Spirit and Flesh and Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth a poetic memoir published by new South African Women’s press, Modjaji Books.

Her published plays include the award-winning drama A Coloured Place and most recently Sister Breyani.

In 2007 she co-curated The Africa Centre’s  5-day international poetry festival and is currently a presenter for BadilishaPoetry.com, an online poetry radio station podcasting Pan-African poets.

As an independent artist Malika operates under the brand New Moon Ventures, which is dedicated to creating indigenous, multi-media and collaborative works in line with her personal motto “healing through creativity.”

Nduta Kariuki

Nduta Kariuki is an artist working and studying in Nairobi, Kenya. She paints primarily, in a personal style that is derived from pop art, but dabbles extensively and has working knowledge of most art forms.

Nduta is currently a fourth year Fine Arts student at Kenyatta University. She is a freelance artist and has worked with Samsung and various high schools for the annual Music and Drama festivals. She enjoys writing, as it allows her to express her quirky sense of humor, and has performed at the Slam Africa, Word Up Live, St. Andrew’s Eve of Poetry and Wamathai events.

Her work has been shown in the following venues: The Michael Joseph Centre, Kenya Railways Museum Gallery, the National Museum, Paa ya Paa Gallery, The Kenyatta University’s Culture and Career weeks, International School of Kenya.

Keith Gottschalk

Keith Gottschalk published his collection of prison & other protest poems, Emergency Poems, in 1992. He served on the executive of the Congress of South Africa Writers, COSAW, in the 1980s, and today hosts the Lansdowne Local Writers’ Group. He has performed and published over 160 poems, the latter in many magazines.

A Fulbright scholar, Keith lectures in Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

Linda Kaoma

Linda Kaoma is a writer, poet and a B.Com graduate from the University of Cape Town. She has been with the Art Africa Centre for four years and project manager for Badilisha Poetry X-change for three years.

In 2013 she performed in Amsterdam at the Afro Vibes Festival alongside Dutch poet Babs Gons in a poetic production entitled “Becoming Another, Becoming you”.

She is also the founder and editor of Unbranded Truth Online Magazine (www.unbrandedtruth.com), an online magazine that serves as a catalyst for self-acceptance and self-evolution.

She has contributed to various publications and continues to freelance.

Jane Okot P’ Bitek Langoya

Jane Okot P’ Bitek Langoya is a Ugandan poet and is one of the children of legendary poet Prof. Okot P’ Bitek (RIP). She is a lawyer by training and holds a MBA (entrepreneurship and business venturing). Her love for poetry started way back during her secondary school days where she would compose poetry and plays for the schools talent shows.

Her poetry was nurtured particularly by her beloved Head Mistress Sr. Cormack Cephas, who went as far as declaring that if she did not want to study literature in ‘’A’ levels then she should go to another school. At that time she was interested in sciences with a view to becoming a doctor. However this was one of the best schools in Uganda so the Head Mistress’s wish became her command.

Her greatest inspiration and influence was her father from whom she adopted the ‘song’ style of poetry. She is a published poet, Song of Farewell, and currently has an unpublished manuscript. Her poetry covers political and social issues, especially those that touch human beings and the rhythm of nature.

Ernestine Deane

Affectionately known to her fans as ‘Ernie’, Ernestine Deane gained huge popularity in South Africa as lead vocalist for S.A. super group, Moodphase5ive.

Having released two albums with the live hip-hop band, Steady On and In Superdeluxe Mode and with several performances on local and international recordings, she independently released her debut solo album, Dub for Mama in 2007.

A natural storyteller, Ernestine’s lyrics cut to the bone. It is the combination of her honest song writing skills and unforgettable melodies that earns her royalties off several international and local compilation albums, commercials, soundtracks, documentaries and film scores. Born in 1974, Ernie grew up on the Cape Flats in Grassy Park, Cape Town and started singing professionally with Hip Hop legends, Black Noise, at the tender age of 15. Ernestine is herself a freelance arts journalist, contributing to publications such as the O Mag and South African arts quarterly, Rootz.

She has appeared on several television and radio shows locally and abroad. A former drama student, she put her acting skills to work playing the mother of Twist in the feature film Boy called Twist in 2003, a Cape Town take on the Dickens classic by acclaimed director Tim Greene. Her voice and original music also grace the film score. The film was warmly received at the 2005 Cannes film festival.

Ernestine has collaborated and shared the stage with top S.A. artists as diverse as poet Breyten Breytenbach, Arno Carstens, Mac Makenzie, Blk Sonshine, Hilton Schilder, Tamara Dey, Max Normal, Goddessa, Tasha Baxter, Concorde Nkabinde, Black Coffe, Simphiwe Dana, Barry van Zyl, Freshlyground, and Bongo Maffin. She has supported international artists, African stars: Cesaria Evora, Khadja Nin, Manu Dibango, Ismael Lo, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. Poets Sarah Jones, Saul Williams, Jamaican dub poet Mutabaraka. As well as English acts Morcheeba, Basement Jaxx, Mica Paris, Omar and Brand New Heavies. Some of the international festivals she has performed at are the Harlem Jazz Festival, Womad, Hove Live Festival, Pukkelop, Westerpop, Global Connection, The Lowlands Festival and The North Sea Jazz Festival.

During her first pregnancy in 2003, Ernestine was inspired to write an introspective account of her family’s history as landowners in the now affluent Cape Town wine land, Constantia, before they were forcibly removed by the Group Area’s Act instituted by the Apartheid government. This led to collaboration with filmmaker Kali van der Merwe of Otherwise Media to create the musical documentary, Brown. Their combined efforts resulted in a heartwarming and sensitive tale of triumph over suffering as punctuated by Ernie’s lyrics and script. The documentary film premiered at the 2004 Encounters Documentary Festival and garnered prestigious film awards at the 2005 Milano Film Festival in Italy (Best Afro/Asian/Latincategory), the annual Durban Film Festival and the Apollo Film Festival as Best African/South African Documentary. The film has traveled to international film festivals in Zanzibar, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, and Australia and has been licensed for broadcast on SABC, DSTV and CTV.

In 2009 Ernestine produced White Paper Boats- an ongoing healing performance ritual that fuses music and origami-journeying through the impact of the slaveship route to South Africa

Her current projects include working on a second album, writing for her first Afrikaans release, hosting discussions/workshops using the film Brown as a tool to encourage men, women and youth to find their creative expression and explore their heritage as she does in the film, in an effort to better understand the origins of the challenges that face the so-called coloured community today. Ernie is currently fund-raising for her second musical documentary, Arikan Son as she spreads her wings as filmmaker, producing and co-directing the film. One of her well- loved music collaborations is an ongoing project called Womantide, where she joins forces with two other phenomenal female artists: singer/songwriter, Tina Schouw and playwright/performance poet, Malika Ndlovu. Womantide’s debut album, Yemenya’s Call, was launched in August 2009 at the Women Speak Festival, Artscape Theatre, Cape Town.

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.

Dorian Haarhoff

Dorian Haarhoff (1944- ) a South African/Namibian poet, facilitates creative writing, and story-telling wordshops and acts as a one-on-one writing mentor. In a past life, a Professor of English Literature (Namibia), Dorian now tinkers his trade in the street markets of the world. Mythology, creation spirituality, whole brain theory, the new Physics, narrative therapy, Ubuntu, Eco and Jungian psychology and the poetic tradition influence his writing and work.

Passionate about developing innate creativity and imagination, he believes in the power of poetry to create new realities. He has been participating poet at Poetry Africa, SA and at the International Poetry Festival in Colombia, South America.

Selected publications:

Creative Writing teaching text

The Writer’s Voice: A Workbook for Writers in Africa (Zebra Press, Johannesburg 1998.)


Wrist and Rib (own publication, Cape Town, 1978.)

Stickman (own publication, Windhoek, 1981.)

Bordering (Justified Press, Johannesburg, 1991.)

Aquifers and Dust (Justified Press, Johannesburg, 1994.)

Tortoise Voices (Mercer, Cape Town, 2002.)

Drawing Water (Leopard Press, Durban, 2007.)

Poemegranites (Leopard Press, Durban, 2012.)

Editing of Poetry (Student Writing)

The Writers Eye: Namibian Poetry in Process (ed. D. Haarhoff, Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 1997.)

Drama Scripts:

Goats, Oranges and Skeletons (ed. T. Zeeman, Gamsberg Macmillan, Windhoek, 2002.)

The Missing Namibian, SAMP – (Swedish African Museum Project) performed in Sweden and Namibia , 1996 (unpublished.)

Children’s Stories/ Drama:

Desert December (Songololo, Cape Town, 1991, Clarion, New York, 1992 and Pan Macmillan, U.K., 1993.)

Water from the Rock (New Namibia Books, Windhoek, 1992.)

Legs, Bones and Eyes (New Namibia Books, Windhoek 1994, Puffin, 1996.)

Guano Girl (Justified Press, Johannesburg, 1994.)

Space Racer, graded reader (Kagiso, Cape Town, 1996.)

Grandfather’s Enoch’s Pipe, graded reader (Gamsberg Macmillan, Windhoek, 2002.)

The Water Diviner, short list top 3 African Baobab competition 2011

Alice in Welwitschialand (Environmental Play) Performed 1992, 1993 and 1994 NTN (National Theatre Namibia) and Grahamstown Festival. (unpublished)

The Colour of Water, Children’s Radio Drama Serial. Namibian B C, 1993.

Camille T. Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is author of Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010) and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006), a finalist for the PEN Center USA 2007 Literary Award and the Library of Virginia 2007 Literary Award.

She is editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009), coeditor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea, 2009) and assistant editor of Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006).

Dungy has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem, the Dana Award, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Once the Writer-in-Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park, Dungy has also been awarded fellowships and residencies by The Corporation of Yaddo, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Norton Island/Eastern Frontier Society, and the Ragdale Foundation.

A graduate of Stanford University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro’s MFA Program, Dungy is currently Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University. Her poems have been published widely in anthologies and print and online journals.

Helen Moffett

Helen Moffett is a freelance writer, editor, academic and poet, whose lectured as far afield as Trinidad and Alaska. Her academic writings include a great deal of gloomy but necessary work on sexual violence in the post-apartheid context. She writes about cricket because it reminds her why she likes men (and because she loves the game with a passion).

She has also published a university textbook on poetry, an anthology of South African landscape writing and several short stories. Poetry is her first and last love, she went from teaching it to students to eventually writing her own. Her debut collection of poems, Strange Fruit, was published by Modjaji Books in 2009.

Aka Teraka

Aka Teraka has been described as “a postmodern polyglot, a man of many forms” who writes in three languages: Igbo, English and German. He is the author of several poetry collections and works of prose.

He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and worked for over ten years in the aviation industry before recently turning his attention fully to literature and the arts. He currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany.

Ife Piankhi

Ife Piankhi is a versatile artist whose creativity knows no bounds. An accomplished poet, singer and dancer Ife has collaborated with artists such as Keko, Nneka, Mamoud Guinea, Geoff Wilkinson, Michael Franti, Jonzi D, Wynton Marsalis, Floetry to name but a few.

Ife has toured internationally for the past 22 years visiting Canada, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Zambia, Romania, Italy, Holland, and USA.

Always an inspirational artist whilst living in London she was a regular on Colourful Radio founded by Henry Bonsu. She has been featured in the documentaries 500 years later by Owen Shahadah and Nubian Spirit by Louis Buckley which highlight her knowledge of Nile Valley Civilisations.

Her music and poetry is influenced by African Stories of migration, relocation and the search for identity.

A formidable educator and creative facilitator, Ife fuses her knowledge of Ancient Africa, esoteric teaching and environmentalism with her music/poetry which is a rich blend of jazz, reggae, and soul. Her stage persona is confident, humorous and participatory with the audience always learning something new. This ability to naturally interact with the audience saw her not only collaborate, but MC the concert of International Artist Nneka who made her first visit to Uganda in 2012.

Ife Piankhi is also a social entrepreneur. Seeing the need for different performance platforms for emerging Ugandan artists Ife created Ife’s Fusion Party (Tilapia, Bunga) and Triple C (Kawa Lounge, Nakumatt). She is also resident poet and MC for Poetry in Session the longest running poetry event in Kampala to date.

Phyllis Muthoni

Phyllis Muthoni has contributed poems to Kwani? and the Black Arts Quarterly magazine (Stanford University). She has been writing poetry ‘seriously’ since 2003. Her investment in time and thought shines through her recent collection, Lilac Uprising , which has been likened to ‘a cool drink of water: clear, spare, fresh and vital’ (Doreen Baingana, author, Tropical Fish). Lilac Uprising, the title poem, is part of a four-piece poem that utilizes the life stages of a Jacaranda tree to highlight how she deals with the loss of her grandmother. Phyllis works part-time as a poetry editor.

‘Phyllis Muthoni has written and courageously self-published a book that redefines how Kenya can be viewed…It is a thrilling read, a collection of fantastic poems that converts what we see from the corner of our eye into something kaleidoscopic…’

Tanisha Bhana

Tanisha Bhana is a contemporary South African visual artist, poet and an established attorney in the financial services industry of South Africa.

She is a visual art finalist of the Thami Mnyele competition and a winner of the Lovell Gallery National Art competition in 2011.

She has displayed artwork from the ‘Transience’ portfolio for the Economic and Infrastructural Development Conference in Johannesburg (April 2012) and delivered a speech and poetry reading at the Climate Leadership Programme, sponsored by the German Development Corporation, at Rustenberg, South Africa, (May 2012).

Inspired by the desire to contribute towards the growth of a society which is free from historical constraints and fear-based conditioning, Tanisha expresses the freedom to explore authentic dreams towards achieving a shifting human potential.

Mentored by Gordon Froud (Senior Lecturer, Curator and Judge, University of Johannesburg) and Les Cohn (Managing Director, ArtSource South Africa) her work is a celebration of the values of freedom of expression and has the potential to be a conduit of change by sharing a unique visual and poetic perspective, recording our human trail and aiding in perceiving different possibilities.

Tahiru Hamid Seinu

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

Tinashe Tafirenyika

Tinashe Tafirenyika is currently a student at the University of Zimbabwe studying Medical Laboratory Sciences.  She is one of the newest spoken word artists in Zimbabwe having stepped onto the scene less than a year ago.  A regular at the House of Hunger Poetry Slam and Sistaz Open Mic sessions at the Book Café. She has already been the “Luckiest Poet” five times in a row a feat that saw her performing at the Shoko Slam in September, 2013.  In November Tinashe travelled to perform at the Word N Sound Festival in Johannesburg.

Timothy Wangusa

Timothy Wangusa (born 1942) is a Ugandan poet and novelist.

Wangusa is an ethnic Mumasaaba, born in Bugisu, in eastern Uganda. He studied English at Makerere University where he later served on faculty, and the University of Leeds (UK). He wrote his MA and PhD on British and African poetry, respectively.

Wangusa started working at Makerere University in 1969. He was appointed as Professor in 1981 (the first from his Bugisu. In his acceptance speech ‘A Wordless World’ he looked at how words were starting to lose meaning and there was a continuous shift from words and speech. Later Wangusa served as Head of Department of Literature and Dean of Faculty of Arts. He was also Minister of Education in the Ugandan Government (1985–86) and Member of Parliament (1989–96). Presently, he serves as Senior Presidential Advisor In Museveni’s government. Wangusa played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Languages and Literature at Uganda Christian University, an Anglican University in Mukono.

His collection of poems Salutations: Poems 1965-1975 (1977), reissued with additional poems as A Pattern of Dust: Selected Poems 1965-1990 (1994), reflects his rural origins. The novel Upon This Mountain (1989) tells the story of Mwambu, who is determined to touch heaven, and describes his journey towards adulthood. The novel combines African folklore and proverbs with Christian symbolism. Its main theme is that of growing up in the Ugandan society and what challenges come with growing up in the traditional setting.

Wangusa was chairman of Uganda Writers Association and founder president of International PEN  Uganda Centre.

Tania van Schalkwyk

Tania van Schalkwyk is the hybrid of a Hamburg sailor and a Mauritian artist, born in Africa, raised in Arabia and matured in Europe. She has studied, taught, edited, served tea, busked, sold useless things, given famous statues make-overs and even tried (and failed fabulously at) a couple of less interesting but ‘serious’ jobs. She has published, performed, exhibited , directed, curated & collaborated on various multi-media artworks across the globe with a sculptor, a choreographer, a carpenter, DJs, photographers, film makers, artists, dancers, musicians,scientists, poets, famous statues, cows, horses, turkeys, sheep and her dog Elvis ; read and performed in theatres, bars, bookstores and bathtubs around the world; written columns, scripts, shopping lists, love letters and once upon a wonder-full time– food reviews.

Tania holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCT and a natural ability to watch the day go by. She is a proud founding member of SEWS (The Society for the Erection of Women Statues). When she’s not writing, Tania reads and reads and reads, and engages in the gentle art of omphaloskepsis. Her work is inspired by the places and spaces in between, the hyphen-states of life, love and home. She currently lives between Cape Town and the Piketberg mountains.

UCT Writers’ Series recently published Tania’s first book of poems, Hyphen. Her poetry has appeared in the following publications: UK: Agenda, Orbis, Decode, South, Focus on Farmers Anthology ( Aune Head Arts),Citizen 32, Intellect Quarterly South Africa: New Contrast, Carapace, Green Dragon, Ons Klyntji, Laugh it Off Annual Online: Triplopia, Muse Apprentice Guild, Itch, Litnet, Unlikely 2.0, Incwadi.