Category Archives: South Africa

Nkateko Masinga

Nkateko Masinga is a medical student, poet and writer. She has been writing poetry since primary school and her earlier work has been published in various school yearbooks and anthologies.
Her more recent work has been published in an anthology called “Dear South Africa” in conjunction with Poetry Potion, an online poetry journal in South Africa.

In August 2015, she entered the Speak Out Loud Youth Poetry Competition in Pretoria and was placed in the top 30. In the same month, Nkateko self-published her first poetry chapbook, titled “The Sin In My Blackness.”

She is currently working on an audiobook to accompany her chapbook, as well as writing new poems for her second chapbook.

Christine Coates

Christine Coates is a poet and writer from Cape Town. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has an interest in life-writing or memoir, and the recovery of personal history through public and private imagery. She makes hand-wrought books from found objects, paper and leather. She has undertaken the 800km pilgrimage across Spain, on the Camino de Compostela, and written an account of it.

Her stories and poems have been published in various literary journals; New Contrast, New Coin, Deep Water Literary Journal, scrutiny2, Stanzas, McGregor Poetry festival anthologies 2014, 2015. Found Poem was a finalist in the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry Review 2002, Africa Focus. Her poems were selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry anthologies 2011 – 2015, and the Best “New” African Poets 2015 Anthology. Her debut collection, Homegrown, published in 2014 by Modjaji Books received an honourable mention from the Glenna Luschei Prize. Of the Prize judge Gabeba Baderoon said, “I read these books and many of the poems again and again. The [finalist books] feel thoughtfully shaped, rivetingly intelligent and superbly crafted.  I found them a pleasure and an education to read. Indeed, my horizons were vastly expanded by the extraordinarily well-realized poems in these collections.”

Her short stories have been highly commended; “The Cat’s Wife” in ADULTS ONLY, the Short.Sharp.Stories anthology 2014, and “How We Look Now” in WATER, the Short Story Day Africa anthology 2015. 

She has also written a cookbook: From the Heart; family, food and memory. Christine belongs to Finuala Dowling’s monthly poetry group and a women’s writing collaborative; The Grail Women Writers. She has worked as a teacher and adult educator. Now she freelances as an editor and writing coach. 

Nomangesi Kelemi

Nomangesi was born in 1966 in the Eastern Cape in the Grahamstown district. She can speak two languages, English and IsiXhosa. She started writing poetry in 2007, which are in isiXhosa and are unpublished.

Mangaliso Buzani

Mangaliso Buzani was born in New Brighton in 1978. He is a versatile artist who excels in the creative world of art as a whole, be it painting, installation, jeweller design and manufacturing and writing. He has just finished his Masters of Art in Creative Writing with a distinction at Rhodes University.

Buzani is an award winner of Dalro Prize (2014) and a finalist of Plat Africa (2007), and Anglo Gold Riches of Africa (2004). He teaches Martial art (Judo), art, creative writing in local schools when ever time presents itself. Buzani has exhibited his work across the country. He was first encouraged to experiment with poetry writing when he joined Uncwadi Writers Association in the late 90s and he has not turned back since then.

Mhlobo Wabantwana Jadezweni

Mhlobo Wabantwana Jadezweni was born in Xawuka in Dutywa and spent many years teaching isiXhosa in Stellenbosch. He now teaches isiXhosa literature at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Some of his work is published with other poets the anthology Umdiliya wesihobe (Oxford University Press). He has edited numerous isiXhosa literature books and is the author of a children’s book entitled UTshepo Mde/ Tall Enough/ Groot Genoeg (these works have been translated into a few languages).

He runs creative writing workshops for aspiring writers who are still at school in the Northern Cape Province. These workshops are run during the annual Writers’ Festival held in Kimberley.

Siyabonga Ngcai

Siyabonga Ngcai, better known as Gqobhoz’imbawula, is an ambitious poet, story teller, song writer, performing artist and Architectural Technologist by profession, born and raised in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. He grew up as a fine artist, Traditional and Pantsula dancer, and later found himself attached to writing short stories and poems.

Gqobhoz’imbawula writes his poetry in his mother tongue, isiXhosa, addressing matters concerning physical and emotional abuse against woman and children, African history, traditional and cultural backgrounds, and other pertinent stories involving the people in our communities. He has shared his craft in countless events, poetry festivals and musical sessions along with national and international artists.

Gqobhoz’imbawula represented the Eastern Cape in a Word’N’Sound Poetry and Live Music Series slam competition called Slam for Your Life in Grahamstown in 2014. He has also contributed his song entitled Ingoma from his album Ukholo lwemveli to the Current State of Poetry, SADC Love Poetry Mixtape which features amazing poets from different regions across the African continent. The mixtape was released on the 14th of February 2015 online for downloads on

Ayanda Billie

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.

Madoda Ndlakuse

Madoda Ndlakuse was born in Mdantsane and bred in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Madoda is a writer, poet, interpreter, reading initiatives activist, the founder of Eastern Cape Book Festival and Cream of Literature (Ingqaka Yoncwadi) both initiatives seeks to revitalise culture and the future of reading. His dream is to help primary school children with expertise in poetry, theatre , storytelling so as to spark their love for reading.

He is well known for his social commentary poetry and he is regarded as one of the best Isixhosa performance poets nationally. He is invited to perform and MC in weddings across the country. His latest poem ‘Imihlinzo’ is currently enjoying airplay @SABC Umhlobo WeneneFm’B.E.E show.

Ayob Vania

Ayob Vania is a Content and Communications Architect with a passion for community development [analogue and digital] and has a writing and performance history dating back to primary school when he plagiarized lines from different poets to write love letters.

Since then Ayob has been an integral part of the development of the Poetry Community in Johannesburg, both as a writer/performer as well as an activist/administrator/promoter.

Having started performing in early 2000’s when there were few platforms available, Ayob has devoted much of his efforts in developing performance platforms as well as developing content and communication initiatives around these platforms.

Over the years Ayob has used his skills as a writer for both print and broadcast mediums as well as in the fields of Public Relations, Online Content Development and Corporate Communications.

Ayob is currently the head of Content and Multimedia at the Word N Sound Live Literature Company where he is intimately involved in the developments and dissemination of poetry related content as well as conceptualizing and managing poetry and live literature experiences.

Selome Payne

Selome Payne, better known as Poet Flow, is a writer and publisher from the coastal city, Port Elizabeth – now based in Johannesburg.
Her journey with poetry began at the tender age of 12, when she wrote her first poem based on a
painting called Two Moons, for 1996 talk show, Indwe. From then on, writing and storytelling became an
integral part of what defines her.

Flow began publishing at the age of 18, then under the pseudonym, Kizee – short for her given Xhosa
name, Cikizwa. She further published in numerous anthologies including the Poetry Institute of Africa up until 2006.
In 2003, Flow ventured on to stage performance and found an even greater love for the arts through
Spoken Word and Hip Hop.

With performances ranging from various Nelson Mandela Bay fundraisers and poetry and hip hop
events to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Flow has expanded her audiences from Street
Culture to corporate functions; sharing her thoughts across all media platforms. A key element in her
journey was the time spent as part of Eastern Cape record label, TrueSight Music.

Since moving to Johannesburg in 2011, Flow established Poetree Publications. The company has
published 5 books thus far, including a collection of her own poetry called The Undelivered Score:
Letters from a poet’s heart which was reviewed by the internationally acclaimed Rita Golden Gelman,
author of Tales of a Female Nomad. All publications can be purchased online from Her
company focuses on giving a publishing platform to young and aspiring writers, as well as community
development through arts and literature. Flow is also co-curator of the fast-growing, annual
Eastern Cape Book Festival and has recently had a feature interview with Urban Tymes magazine in California.

She describes her relationship with her writing as her greatest love; personifying Poetry as her universal,
higher power from which she draws all strength and energy. She lives by one simple philosophy: we are
greater than our biggest dream, and infinite are the capabilities of our minds.

Phomolo Flex

Born in a township called Thabong in the Free Ste, Phomolo Sekamotho, better known as Flex, is a South African poet that fuses spoken word poetry with various elements of art. His craft has seen him travel and share himself all across Southern Africa. In 2012 he headlined the House of Hunger Poetry Slam in Zimbabwe. Phomolo recorded a debut digital album titled in Between the lines EP and is currently working on a live poetry in Music album.

Nape Nino Senong

Nape ‘Nino’ Senong is a spoken word artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nino started experimenting with the pen during his early stages of high school. Born and bred in the dusty province of Limpopo, the 22 years old wordsmith draws inspiration from the ever changing urban spaces of Johannesburg. Nino serves as a resident poet at the University of Johhanesburg’s Fore.Word Poetry society. He infuses abstract representations and dreamy imagery to re-imagine and comment on society.

Gérard Rudolf

Gérard Rudolf was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in the year Verwoerd was assassinated.

He spent most of his childhood in Cape Town. When he was a boy, he was convinced the world had been monochrome before he was born—all the photographs in the family albums, the old movies on TV, all of it black and white. He spent hours trying to figure out how and when the world changed to colour. He roamed the neighborhood with friends creating strange worlds in empty lots—Cowboys and Indians, Star Wars, Huck Finn. School bored him. He mostly stared out the windows. His head was never where his body was. It still isn’t. His teenage years were spent in Johannesburg.

After school, he joined the military for 2 years because it was compulsory and because his family wasn’t rich enough to send him into exile in order to dodge the dictates of the Apartheid regime. At 18 he did a tour of duty in the Angolan War. After his discharge he resolved never to wear a uniform or take up arms again. (so far, so good) He studied acting, moved to Cape Town and became a successful actor. He loved the collaborative nature of acting, all the oddballs and geniuses, and that no two days were the same.

In 1998 he co-founded a professional acting school in Cape Town because he wanted to give something back to the industry that had saved him from the 9-5. By 2002 he was utterly burnt out. His life was burning down around his ears. He felt as if he were sitting in a deck chair with a cold beer watching everything go up in smoke. He quit acting, got divorced, and moved to the UK where he started writing full-time as a means to orient himself on the map. He moved back to Johannesburg in 2010.

He is not as dark and moody as people think. He blames this misconception on his face.

Lebohang Nova Masango

Lebohang ‘Nova’ Masango is a writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker – living her best life, in love and service to girls and women. She writes for Essays of Africa magazine and the acclaimed website for teen girls, Rookie Mag. She is currently featured on musician, Reason’s song “Endurance” alongside Hip Hop Pantsula. She is the ambassador of the ‘Zazi’ campaign, the official sexual health programme for girls and young women across all higher education institutions in South Africa. She has also collaborated with Zonke Dikana on the ‘Zazi’ theme song. She was the youth representative at the UNAIDS’ November 2014 meetings in Geneva, Switzerland to address sexual health programming concerns with global stakeholders. Nova has been invited as a speaker at the 7th Annual South African AIDS Conference in Durban. She has been published in the July/ August 2015 edition of the renowned Poetry Foundation’s publication, Poetry Magazine.

Nova is regularly called upon to provide social commentary on varying topics including Feminism, identity politics and youth culture. She has been featured on Kaya FM, Radio 702, Y FM, Power FM and on television shows such as SABC 1’s Shift, eNCA’s live debate with Trudi Makhaya and performed on the country’s most popular music programme, Live Amp. She was a panellist on Global Shapers Johannesburg’s #AreOurGirlsback? panel with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Steve Letsike and Live Mag’s #VIPDebateclub with Panashe Chigumadzi. She has been published in Mike Alfred’s “Twelve Plus One” – an anthology containing the works and interviews of several South African poets and in 2014, she wrote the Nelson Mandela tribute that was performed at the Metro FM Music Awards. Nova is currently a member of recently founded organisation of South African feminists, the Feminist Stokvel and is studying towards her Honours degree in Social Anthropology.

Twitter: @NovaHerself
Instagram: NovaHerself

Kela Griot

“Kela Griot is a creative, radio head, writer, poet and lover of humanity. She has been writing for more than 15 years but it wasn’t until four years ago that she was drawn out of her shell to set foot on a stage.

She has been on numerous platforms since: the Basadi Jam With A Purpose, Writers Lounge, Kagiso Arts Expo, Art by Night, The Bangkok Sundays, Snapshots, Restorative Justice Women’s Fair, Show Face, Poetic Joint and Fanatic Poetry Sessions to name a few. She has gone on to be one of the founding members of the New Age Poetry Movement, as well as co-founder and host of the Juiced Poetry Sessions.

She describes herself as deep empath and suspects that’s why she is a medium for poetry and other stuff. She hopes to help humanity art itself back to love, one poem and outlandish creative disruption at a time.”

Twitter: @KelaGriot

Arja Salafranca

Arja Salafranca has published two collections of poetry, A Life Stripped of Illusions and The Fire in which we Burn; a third, Beyond Touch is published by Modjaji Books in 2015 and a collection of short stories: The Thin Line. She has participated in writers conferences, edited two anthologies and has received awards for her writing. More at:

Mpho Khosi

Scribe, Poet, Author, Story Teller and Father.

Born on the 11th of July 1982, a product of Wattville in Benoni to start school and that is where he discovered his love for poetry.

Mpho co-published a poetry and art anthology with Frank Lekwana “PORTRAITS OF PROPAGANDA”; as a test to see if the two could self-publish. In 2011 After a 5 year break he returned to poetry and mid year in 2011 he put his words to the test on the Word N Sound stage, he emerged as one of the top ten performers with poems such as ”Encounter with love” and “I refuse”, these would also appear in his anthology “QUIETLYloud” in the same year. He also performed at the first Word N Sound festival and also went to perform in Swaziland, State Theatre in Pretoria, Durban. He also performed at different slam competitions and open mic events.

In 2012/2013 Mpho Khosi has performed on different stages, from performing at the Words Up event hosted by Linda Gabriel and the Goethe institute at the King Kong Theatre. He was recently invited to be part of the Read-a-thon and Literacy Celebration week hosted by the Ekurhuleni library. He also took part in the first ever “Slam For Your Life” event; where he went up against 5 of the current hottest poetry slammers in Johannesburg.

He is a mentor for up and coming Poets from around Westonaria High Schools, giving back to them and tutoring them, while they are also teaching him a thing ot two. He has also been a part of the DoGoodInc, which deals in giving back to the community, by donating books and other reading material.

Social activity
@Ralentswe (twitter)
Ralentswe (instagram)

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.

Tshepo Blackhole

The name, Tshepo Molefe. Also known as Blackhole on stage. This pseudo name is a reflection of who and what I am, from my short nature (which I inherited from my mother) to the anger that I bring on stage and the hatred I am still trying to extinguish with my pen.

I write to change perceptions and hopefully to inspire change in a person’s life and view on things such as love, what poetry is and the misconception of man being invulnerable. I feel like as poets, it’s our duty to not only just write to be dope or to compete, but we need to touch life with our craft and build a better society through our wordsmith. That is what my art aims to do, and one day will.

Khulile Nxumalo

Khulile Nxumalo was born in Diepkloof, Soweto, in 1971. He completed school at Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland and went on to attend the University of Cape Town, the then University of Natal and the University of the Witwatersrand, where his studies were focused on media and cultural studies.

Nxumalo has worked as researcher, writer, producer and director for various production houses in Johannesburg. He has directed inserts for a magazine television programme, a short documentary on young, up-and-coming opera singers and for national education broadcasts.

In 2004, Nxumalo’s first collection of poetry titled Ten Flapping Elbows, Mama, was published. That same year, he produced a documentary titled Nabantwa Bam (With My Children) as part of the SABC 1 Project 10 series.

Nxumalo has twice been the recipient of the DALRO award for poetry. His work has appeared in several literary journals in South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2013, Nxumalo launched his poetry collection, Fhedzi.

Fellow poet Robert Berold says of Nxumalo: “[He] is one of the few poets in South Africa using longer experimental forms. He has found a creative way of breaking up the English language and fusing it with other languages. He is also capable of intense lyrical expression.”

Nxumalo lives in Johannesburg with his two children.

Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile

Professor Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile, considered one of South Africa’s most distinctive poetic voices since the l960s, is South Africa’s National Poet Laureate. Gwendolyn Brooks, the late poet laureate of Illinois, said of Kgositsile’s work almost forty years ago:

I would say that he is a ‘master’, if it were not for my belief that no one ‘masters’ anything, that each finds or makes his candle, then tries to see by the guttering light. Willie has made a good candle. And Willie has good eyes.

Kgositsile left South Africa in 1961 as one of the first young cadres of the African National Congress (ANC) instructed to do so by the leadership of the national liberation movement. While doing his MFA at Columbia University in 1969 he started teaching literature and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He has also taught at a number of other universities and colleges in the USA, including: Queens College, Bennett College, State University of New York at Stonybrook, University of Denver, Wayne State University, New School for Social Research, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1975 he returned to Africa and taught at a number of universities, including: the universities of Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Fort Hare.

Professor Kgositsile has worked in various departments and structures of the ANC, both above and underground. He was one of the founding members of the ANC’s Education Department (1977), and the Department of Arts and Culture (1982). He was also a founding member of the ANC Veterans League in 2009 and was a member of the ANC National Centenary Task Team.

He was Special Adviser to former Ministers of Arts and Culture, Mr. Z. Pallo Jordan and Mr. Paul Mashatile.

Kgositsile is one of the most widely published South African poets. His work has been translated into many languages. He has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, among them: the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize; the Harlem Cultural Council Poetry Award; the Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Poetry Award; the Herman Charles Bosman Prize. In 2008 he was awarded the National Order of Ikhamanga: Silver (OIS).

THIS WAY I SALUTE YOU – Kwela Books & Snailpress, Cape Town, 2004

IF I COULD SING – Kwela Books & Snailpress, Cape Town, 2002

TO THE BITTER END – Third World Press, Chicago, 1995

APPROACHES TO POETRY WRITING – Third World Press, Chicago, 1994

THE PRESENT IS A DANGEROUS PLACE TO LIVE – Third World Press, Chicago, 1993

WHEN THE CLOUDS CLEAR – COSAW Publications, Johannesburg, 1990

FREEWORD (with Katiyo, Davis, & Rydstrom,eds.) – Writers’ Bookmachine, Stockholm, 1983

HEARTPRINTS – Schwifstinger Galerie-Verlag, 1980

PLACES AND BLOODSTAINS – Achebe Publications, San Francisco, 1976

H. Madhubuti, D. Randall, eds.) – Broadside Press, Detroit, 1975

THE WORD IS HERE (ed.) – Doubleday, New York, 1973

MY NAME IS AFRIKA – Doubleday, New York, 1971

FOR MELBA – Third World Press, Chicago, 1970

SPIRITS UNCHAINED – Broadside Press, Detroit, 1969

Mandi Poefficient Vundla

Mandi Poefficient Vundla is a writer and spoken word ambassador, born in Soweto, Johannesburg.

She made her debut in the world of competitive poetry in 2011. Since then, she has appeared at different events on various stages, including the State Theater’s Night of the Poets, and the Jozi Book Fair, where she was part of the protest poetry panel discussion hosted by Poetry Potion, a monthly online journal that profiles poetry communities.

Vundla has shared the stage with Myesha Jenkins, Natalia Molebatsi, Lebo Mashile, Phillippa
Yaa De Villiers, Napo Masheane, Afurakan, Tumelo Khoza, Keisha Monique Simons, UK’s Yrsa
Daley-Ward, Chanelle Gabriels (U.S), Joshua Bennett (U.S), Busiswa qulu, Kabomo Vilakazi , Neo Muyanga, Muta Baruka, Tumi of the Volume and many more. She has also performed alongside the legendary Pops Mohammed and opened the stage for Ian Kamau (U.S), career highlights include her appearance on e-tv’s breakfast show, Khaya fm, Power fm, Sunrise, 702, Radio 2000, shiznizz, and opening for Tedx Johannesburg, she went on to co-hosted Tedx Soweto.

Performances Include:
-Action aid’s 5 year country strategy launch
-KPMG women’s breakfast
-The screening of the ‘Girl Rising’ documentary, hosted by Intel Africa.
-Commemorating 20 years of the Native land act in Nasrec .
-Bertha Gxowa Memorial Lecture
-Smac Gallery

-The Citizen
-The Star
-True Love Magazine’s September edition, where she dedicated a poem to South Africa for
Heritage month.
-Twelve + One Botsotso Anthology featuring Jo’burg poets
-News Day [Zim]

-Poetry Africa
-Arts Alive
-The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown
-The Spoken freedom fest, hosted by Word n Sound in conjunction with the Market Theater.
-Afr(we)ka Festival in conjunction with WordNSound and The DAC
-Harare International Festival
-Venice Biennale in Italy, where she opened for the South African Pavilion

Vundla is the co-editor of an international anthology that features 24 young influential writers titled ‘ HOME IS WHERE THE MIC IS’ published by Botsotso

Vundla is currently a member of the Word N Sound content production team.
Dubbed Queen of the Word N Sound Mic 2012 in Johannesburg’s prestigious Slam, she went on to win the Poet of the Year award, and broke her own record by defending her own WordnSound queen of the mic title.

She is the undisputed queen of the word n Sound mic 2012+2013

Gary Cummiskey

Gary Cummiskey is a South African poet and publisher living in Johannesburg. He is the editor of Dye Hard Press, which he started in 1994.

He is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Romancing the Dead (Tearoom Books, Durban 2009), Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, India 2011) and I Remain Indoors (Tearoom Books, Stockholm 2013). In 2009, he published Who was Sinclair Beiles?, a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. An expanded and revised edition of the book was published in 2014.

Also in 2009, Cummiskey compiled Beauty Comes Grovelling Forward, a selection of South African poetry and prose published on the US literary website Big Bridge.

His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 2014.

His work has been translated into French, Greek and Bangla.

He is currently editor of the South African literary journal New Coin.

Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa

Dr. Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa is a performing poet, medical doctor and an activist for womyn’s issues born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1984. She studied medicine, completing her MBBCh early in 2011. The time & emotional commitment required for this, however, would never see her second-guessing her place in the performance poetry zeitgeist. The major themes of her written work centre around the issues of womyn in the setting of modern South Africa. She works intimately with womyn on a daily basis as a medical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She discovered stage poetry in 2005 when she met and joined a 7 member poetry collective and inspiration, T.O…T! Together they introduced poetry to different audiences and challenged the status quo by performing fluid collaborative pieces that matched different styles of poetry and used the physical movement of 7 poets to tell a single story.

She has performed poetry for international movement to stop violence against womyn, One Billion Rising (2013, 2014). She was part of the cast of a workshopped theatrical poetry performance called Secret With the Moon; part of the Arts Alive festival (2013) and was invited to perform at the Melville poetry festival (2012).

She has judged various poetry slams like Word n Sound (2014), Drama For Life, Lover and Another (2013) and has helped in preparing prolific, talented poets for the stage for Drama for Life (2014) by conducting workshops to observe and guide their performance technique and discuss and impart knowledge on the subject matter–sex and sexuality.

She has a collection of published poems called One Big Word and has been published in an online magazine and in the Saturday Star lifestyle segment (2008?). She has performed her poems on various radio stations (VOW, ukhozi) and TV shows (etv sunrise, shiz niz, creations).

She has opened for Simphiwe Dana and shared stages with various successful artists like Lebo Mashile, Tu Nokwe, Myesha Jenkins, award-winning poets Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Vus’muzi ‘Romeo the Poet’ Phakathi. She planned and hosted a poetry and discussion seminar called SPEAK for 16 days of activism.

She is a few months from completing her second collection of poems.

Kaizer Mabhilidi Nyatsumba

Kaizer Mabhilidi Nyatsumba was born at White River, in the province of Mpumalanga, in White River, South Africa. He is the son of the late Silverton Manikani Nyatsumba and Maria Ntombizodwa Nkambule.

Kaizer went to a number of schools – Entokozweni Primary School at Ngodini (KaBokweni), Lwaleng Primary School outside White River, Ngodwana Primary School, Mshadza Secondary School outside White River and Dlangezwa High School in the Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal area – before proceeding first to the University of Zululand and later to Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA.

He started writing plays, acting in them and directing them when he was still at Ngodwana Primary School, and continued to do the same at Mshadza Secondary School and at Dlangezwa High School. Some of his published poems were written when he was in Standard Seven (Grade Nine) at secondary school, and his first published newspaper article was in the now-defunct KaNgwane Times in Nelspruit when he was in the same grade.

A born leader, Kaizer was appointed Deputy Head Prefect at Mshadza Secondary School, Deputy Head Prefect at Dlangezwa High School, Editor of UNICOM at the University of Zululand and Chairman of the University of Zululand chapter of the African Writers’ Association, which he launched. Upon his return to South Africa upon completion of his studies at Georgetown University, he was elected Assistant Secretary of the African Writers’ Association at national level.

Kaizer worked for 15 years as a journalist, a profession in which he excelled and rose meteorically to become South Africa’s first African Political Correspondent and first black Political Editor on a formerly white newspaper, The Star in Johannesburg, and the country’s first African Editor when he was appointed founding Editor of The Independent on Saturday in Durban. He also edited the Daily News in that city, before being posted to London, with his family, where he was Associate Editor on The Independent.

Kaizer was one of seven South African journalists sent by Independent Newspapers to the Harvard Business School and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University for an intensive, two-month-long Senior Leadership Develop Program in 1996. He is also the only journalist within the Independent Newspapers Group to have been seconded to The Independent in London, then the international flagship within the Irish-owned media group.
Kaizer left journalism at the end of 2002 and joined Anglo American South Africa in January 2003 as Vice President: Corporate Affairs, with responsibility for marketing. In that capacity, he persuaded Anglo American to back South Africa’s bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and represented the company on the Board of the 2010 Bid Company. He travelled to a number of countries – where Anglo American also had a presence – with then 2010 Bid Company CEO Danny Jordaan to campaign for South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

With Jordaan and then First National Bank Marketing Director Derek Carstens, Kaizer visited Barcelona and Madrid – where they met Barcelona FC and Real Madrid FC players, including Ronaldinho – in an attempt to get either one of the Spanish giants to visit South Africa to play against the country’s top teams, Kaizer Chiefs FC and Orlando Pirates FC, as part of the promotion of South Africa’s candidature for the World Cup. They even travelled to Valencia to watch Real Madrid beat Valencia FC 1-0, thanks to Ronaldo’s goal, and flew back to Madrid with the team in its plane.

Regrettably, the two Spanish teams could not accommodate a visit to South Africa, thus opening the way for London-based Tottenham Hot Spur to play against Pirates in Durban and Chiefs in Cape Town.

Kaizer has also worked for Coca-Cola South Africa as Public Affairs and Communications Director, Sasol Ltd as Group General Manager: Corporate Affairs, Marketing and Black Economic Empowerment, KMN Consulting as Managing Director and PetroSA as Vice-President: Corporate Affairs and Shared Services. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg-based Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa.

A Certified Director (IoDSA), Kaizer holds a BA Honours from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of Hull, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand, an Advanced Management Programme Diploma from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science and a Journalism Diploma from the Newspaper Institute of America. He has served on the Boards of Business Against Crime (South Africa), the National Business Initiative, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, the 2010 Bid Company, the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, the Anglo American Medical Aid Scheme and the Sasol Social and Community Trust and the PET Recycling Company, among others.

Kaizer has published seven books: When Darkness Falls (poetry), UMLOZI (Zulu poetry), A Vision of Paradise (short stories), In Love With A Stranger (short stories), ALL SIDES OF THE STORY: A Grandstand View of South Africa’s Political Transition, as well as Silhouettes (poetry). His seventh book, Incomplete Without My Brother, Adonis, was published in July 2014

Siza Nkosi

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.

Livhuwani Mashao

Livhuwani Mashao was born Livhuwani Takalani Mashao on March 8, 1993, in Vosloorus, Gauteng. As a young boy he was exposed to Edgar Allen’s anthology and he grew up with a great passion for poetry and music. At the age of 15 he was introduced to Nasir Oludara Jones’, Nas, music and he fell in love with his writing style, fashion sense and demeanor.

Livhuwani began to write poems and raps, performing at school and church as he was being inspired by the divine life of Jesus Christ. Still growing and studying theology, Livhuwani hopes to reach out to his peers in style using witty rhyme schemes and word play. Livhuwani is currently taking theatre classes at Johannesburg theatre with the well known Souht African film director, Mr. Duma Ndlovu, being his lecturer. “Stage presence is a good trait to an all-round performer” Livhuwani alludes in most of his interviews.

Peter Esterhuysen

Peter Esterhuysen was born in 1963 and died in 2004. As a founding member of the StoryTeller Group, he scripted highly successful educational comics on environmental health, HIV/Aids treatment and gender relations in rural settings. He storyboarded short stories by three South African writers, Can Themba, Bessie Head and Alex la Guma. He scripted theatrical productions for the Handspring Puppet Company and anchored the writing team that produced the TV series Soul City, Gazlam and Yizo Yizo I and II. The latter won multiple local and international awards. In 2002 he co-wrote a feature film with Tebogo Mahlatsi titled Scar. The script was selected for the Sundance Writers Festival held in Utah, but he was too ill to attend. His short stories and poetry reviews were published in local literary journals. Five years after his death, a selection of his poems was published in Comeback: Poems in Conversation 1984-1989.

Paul Mason

Paul Mason is an English Teacher, workshop facilitator and published poet. Paul has published poetry, short stories and critical reviews in South Africa and the United States.

His and Peter Esterhuysen’s dialogue of poems – Comeback – was published by Botsotso Press and Bodhi Books in 2009.

Colleen Higgs

Colleen Higgs is the publisher and founder of Modjaji Books, a small independent feminist press based in Cape Town. Inspired by Modjadji, the Rain Queen of Limpopo, Modjaji Books aims to fill a gap by taking seriously women’s writing from southern Africa.  As a powerful female force for good, growth, new life, and regeneration, the press works at creating a space for those experiences and voices that may not fit in to the constraints of more mainstream publishers.  Many Modjaji titles have gone on to be nominated for and some to win prestigious literary awards.

A writer herself, Colleen Higgs’s poems and stories have been published in literary magazines, women’s magazines and in academic journals, and she has had stories published in collections such as DinaaneJust Keep Breathing Home, Away; and Stray. Colleen’s own books include the poetry collections Halfborn Woman, Lava Lamp Poems, and a collection of short stories, Looking for Trouble.

Colleen is a publishing activist and has long been a supporter of small, independent publishing; through her previous work at the Centre for the Book, she managed the award-winning Community Publishing Project, and she has written numerous articles, pamphlets on writer development. She also compiled two Small Publishers’ Catalogues of African publishers (2010 and 2013) and wrote A rough guide to Small Scale and Self-Publishing (2005) which was translated into 4 South African langauges and sold thousands of copies.

Chris Mann

Chris Mann, a South African of English, Dutch and Irish descent, was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. He started his working life in rural development and poverty alleviation projects, such as low-cost water-supply and sanitation, small-scale agriculture and labour-intensive public works including secondary road and pipeline construction. This multi-faceted, multi-talented writer has also taught English in a rural school, lectured in English at Rhodes University and worked in teacher development and job creation. He has volunteered for various trusts, has been a parish councillor and was a founder and song-writer of Zabalaza, a cross-culture band performing in English and Zulu.

His formal education includes a BA from Wits majoring in English and Philosophy, an MA from the School of Oriental and African Languages (London) in African Oral Literature and an MA from Oxford in English Language and Literature. Now based at the Institute for the Study of English in Africa at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, he is the founder and convenor of Wordfest, a national multilingual festival of South African languages and literatures with a developmental emphasis. Chris Mann’s poems have appeared in a wide range of journals, textbooks and anthologies in South Africa and abroad. He performs his work at various festivals, schools, churches, universities and conferences around the country as part of a life-long passion to promote poetry in the public domain. Able to converse in Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, Mann writes poetry influenced by the richness of the different languages he speaks and which reflects the diverse work experiences and social encounters he has had. Keenly narrative, his poems convey to the reader the textural details of the South African landscape and the intimacy of its people. As he examines his own spirituality, which appears rooted in the history, place and potential that is contemporary South Africa, his practical musicianship emerges clearly in the lilting lyricism and rhythm of his poetry.