Tag Archives: Peace

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 Bozza.mobi.

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.

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.

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.

Ntsika Tyatya

Ntsika Tyatya is a writer, poet, spoken word performer who is from Nelson Mandela Bay, he has been active in the poetry scene for the past 12 years. After co-producing weekly poetry sessions in Port Elizabeth in 2006, he created SLAM ( Student’s Literature and Arts Movement) in 2008, which was the first slam poetry society at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He was the headliner and finalist in the Cape Town poets search competition, Poetry Delight, as well as a headliner at the East London weekly poetry sessions; Brute Force. 2012 he was one of the headlining poets at the National Book Week. He has graced the stages with Luka Lesson (AUS), Lesego Rampolokeng, Lebo Mashile, Ntsiki Mazwai, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Don Mattera, Afurakhan, The Brother Moves on, Zubz, Mxo, Tumi to name few. In 2014 he partnered with Word and Sound, as the Eastern Cape facilitator in their Slam Your Life national competition that was held in Grahamstown.

He currently pursues a BA in Corporate Communication and has assisted with conceptualising both Maxhosa exhibitions in 2013 and 2014. He was part of the company that assisted in bringing Ian Kamau (Canada), Tutu Puoane (Holland) Vatiswa Ndara (SA), to Nelson Mandela Bay. He freelances in communication for various artists and businesses.

Lesedi Thwala

Lesedi Thwala is a 20-year-old female, born in Itsoseng but grew up in a small town called Lichtenburg in the North West Province. She is currently doing her first year of her Bachelor of Arts at Rhodes University. A die-hard feminist, Motswako rapper and recovering book worm, Lesedi’s love for poetry began as an escape from the challenges she faced in life until a friend discovered one of her poems and forced her to recite it for a group of people. Lesedi is passionate about South African literature and dreams of becoming an author someday.


Sisonkepapu is a dynamic personality. Close observers of his work claim that he has a provocative poetic skill and has established himself as a prominent poetic voice within the Eastern Cape. Being a professor of literature, his focus extends beyond the academy and community, and has a penchant for critical engagement through writing and development of budding writers like himself. His poem was added into the syllabus for a Poetry course at NMMU in 2014 and 2015, and offered his insights into the critical revelation in the piece, and the art of poetic writing and literary interpretation in the Poetry lectures. The Resonance Poetry Movement, a poetry society he co-founded, facilitates creative writing workshops and has published an anthology, hosted local and International acts such as Ian Kamau and Luka Lesson.

TJ Dema

TJ Dema is a Botswana based poet who runs SAUTI, an events, arts and performance management organization. She was the Chairperson of The Writers Association of Botswana from 2010 to 2012 and a founding member (alumni) of Botswana’s acclaimed Exoduslivepoetry! collective, who coordinated Botswana’s sole annual poetry festival between 2004 and 2009.

A 2005/06 participant in the British Council’s Crossing Borders project, she has since participated in a number of their initiatives including the 2007/08 Power in the Voice(PIV) initiative as mentor to the PIV national champions.

In 2010 she was guest writer for the University of Warwick’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth program. In 2008 she was in India for the Delhi International Festival of the Arts, and in 2010 she was a main stage act at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Shakespeare and co’s Festivalandco in France as well as the World Wide Words festival in Denmark. In 2011 she was part of the Poetry Africa tour, a 5 city Southern African initiative of the University of Kwazulu Natal’s Center for Creative Arts. She is part of a bi-continental, multi country eclectic ensemble called Sonic Slam Chorus who debuted their poetry infused soundscapes at HIFA 2011 and returned in 2012. Recently she participated in a series of events linked to the London Cultural Olympiad.

Between August and November 2012 I was based out of Iowa City as one of the International Writing Program writers-in-residence.

Harold Lee Rush

Harold Lee Rush appeared in the first Black-produced dramatic TV series in the U.S., “Bird of the Iron Feather” on Chicago’s Public Television Station WTTW. During this time, he also performed with various Black theatre organizations in a variety of roles.

In 1982, Harold’s broadcasting talents were discovered at Chicago’s WGCI radio as the producer and co-host of the powerhouse morning show, first with Bob Wall (as the only Black-White morning duo in a major market), then with Doug Banks, where Rush created the “Front Page” segment, which has been copied in morning shows across the country. In the decade at the Gannett-owned company, Rush hosted broadcasts all over the U.S. and around the world, including London, Senegal, Jamaica and the Bahamas, becoming one of the most well-known media personalities in Chicago.

Rush has also authored internationally award winning poetry and is much in demand as a Spoken Word artist. 2005 brought Rush to WKKC FM, the official radio station of the City Colleges of Chicago as a Broadcaster and Instructor for students in the Media Communications Programs.

You can hear “Live with Harold Lee Rush” Tuesdays & Fridays 10AM – 2PM CT on 893FM WKKC and www.WKKC.FM.

Website: www.HAROLDLEERUSH.com 


Tapiwa Mugabe

Tapiwa Mugabe is a writer who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in England, UK. As a writer and poet he has recently published his first collection of poetry titled Zimbabwe. Tapiwa’s poetry introduces a fresh and bold voice into the rich current that is emerging from young African millennial artists.


Mmakgosi Ophadile Anita Tau

Mmakgosi Ophadile Anita Tau was born in  1989 in Botswana.
Her first poem was published in 1999, for a school magazine. In 2007 she won a poetry competition at the Monash University, and after this triumph she was asked to help head the Poetry Association of Monash. This role helped her secure  many opportunities such as, her performance at the Women’s Day Celebrations.

During her time in South Africa she performed at open mics held in places like House of Nsako in Bree, Shivas in Newtown and in Johannesburg.

Mmakgosi was featured on the Word Of Mouth-Audio compilation, and she is a member of the Poets Circle Movement and MO Scripts.

MO Scripts is a group advocating for growth and awareness in Botswana literature. they
have four mobile applications published for Android, Symbian, Blackberry and Java enabled phones and they can be downloaded free of charge. To date, more than 250 000 people have downloaded their app. For more on the applications please check out Facebook page MO Scripts: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MO-Scripts/338887719546526?fref=ts

Darren Carolissen

Darren Carolissen was born and raised in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He started writing at the age of 13. He started writing lyrics and eventually found his way to poetry. Since then he has been chasing this form of storytelling with a fierce passion.

Javier Perez

Javier Perez is a poet, performer, and teacher. Born in the U.S., his family immigrated from El Salvador during a violent civil war. Growing as a “Latino” in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in America, Javier always came face-to-face with questions surrounding identity, masculinity, class, and heritage. 

As a first generation university student, he studied political science, while quickly developing a passion for spoken-word poetry on the side. With some friends, he started Swarthmore College’s first spoken-word collective, OASIS (Our Art Spoken In Soul), and competed at local and national poetry slam competitions. After graduating, he was awarded the Thomas J Watson Fellowship to travel internationally for a year in pursuit of an independent project: an exploration of how poetry can empower, heal, and give voice to criminalized youths in light of the massive growth of prison systems worldwide. After traveling to South Africa, Australia, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Brazil, Javier concluded two main things: crime and incarceration are global phenomena intimately linked to histories of colonialism, racial violence, and inequality; and poetry provides a transformative space for communities to challenge, reimagine, and change the status quo. He now lives and works in Cape Town as a resident poet for Usiko Trust, facilitating poetry workshops alongside youths from the townships to create a space for exploring their voices and (re)writing their narratives. Javier is very keen to foster stronger connections and dialogue between communities in Latin America and Africa that share common roots, histories, and struggles.

Anna Varney-Wong

Anna is a mother, a yoga and art teacher who runs writing workshops and self growth courses. One of her passions is counselling and she sees life as a spiritual journey. Her poetry has been published in various literary magazines including: COSAW Gauteng Cultural letter, HerStoria Volume 1 NO. 3, Something Quarterly Volume 2 No 4, New Coin, Ear, Bleksem. Botsotso Contemporary Cultural Magazine. Anthologies which published her poetry- We Jive Like this, Dirty Washing, IsisX [Botsotso Publishing], Like a House on ire [Cosaw].

She recently completed a Self Growth Workbook, Walking the Labyrinth which has not yet been published. She has participated in various poetry readings and performances.

Fatou Dioffé Bâ

Born in the 1988 on Saint-Louis in the Senegal, Fatou Dioffé Bâ first started dabbling in poetry in college. Although she is a graduate of a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Finance, poetry is her number one passion.

Ka Mau

Ka Mau is a multidisciplinary performance artist born and raised in San Francisco, California. For the last ten years Ka Mau has lived in Bali, Indonesia and traveled throughout Asia, using the art of poetry, rap and dance to connect cultures, inspire creative thought and action and motivate youth to use their creativity as a means of personal and collective empowerment.

Ka Mau was named Best Poet in the 2002 Oakland, California Slam Finals. He is the winner of the 2004 & 2005 Ubud Writers Festival International Poetry Slam where he has also been the host and featured performer in 2010 & 2013. Ka Mau was selected as Artist Ambassador to represent the San Francisco Bay Area and perform at the 2004 World Social Forum in Mumbai, India. He has also been invited three times as a guest artist, lecturer and workshop coordinator, to board the Japanese activist/educational cruise ship Peace Boat.

He currently hosts Bali’s longest running open mic and produces eclectic performance productions in Bali incorporating music, dance, poetry and visual arts.

Amira Ali

Amira is a creative artist, poet, writer and educator, born in Ethiopia, based in the U.S.

She focuses on using creative mediums as a narrative tool, with a particular interest in alternative narratives of the global south: “owning and telling our ‘own’ stories while advocating for viewing ourselves through our own lenses, recognizing that stories are born with a right to be told”. Her creative artistry deals with promoting the African cultural aesthetics, documenting narratives of journey -stories we live in. While producing and curating these stories, she hopes to assess social issues, explore the beauty of arts, culture, and wisdom of the global south, in connection to the world.

She is a regular contributor to Pambazuka News and chief writer, as well as editorial team member at AfricaSpeaks4Africa.org. She is currently at work on, in collaboration with a South African poet and Kenyan writer, producing Podcast stories (Afro’pick and coffee) that accentuates the everyday stories of the African disaporans, residing in America.

Hazel Tobo

Hazel Tobo also known as Fasaha Mshairi was born in Tembisa Gauteng but grew up in Polokwane Limpopo. She started writing at the age of 11 and writing has since grown into a great passion. She has a published an audio book entitled Have we put out the fire? compiled in collaboration with SHINDIG AWE. She has performed at a number of events in her home province Limpopo, including Kgorong Poetry and Sound, Arts summit, Woman’s Conference, and Fire on the Mountain Annual Festival.

She has also performed outside of Limpopo; she slammed at the 2014 Windybrow Theater Freedom Friday Poetry Festival, she has also taken part in UJ’s events as a resident poet, performed at The Izimbongi Festival 2013 and Poetry Africa Slam 2013. She plays the recorder and harmonica and also does photography as a hobby


Ndivhuho Aluwani Mabonyane, popularly known as Dzomolavenda, is an award winning traditional praise poet from Limpopo, South Africa. His talent and passion were evident from a very young age; in grade three he could effortlessly recite poems like Ramaremisa written by legendary Z Matsila.

In 2006 he started penning his own poems including Tshivhoni and Zwa lino shango. After graduating from high school in 2010 he trained and mentored people in poetry and stage drama and still continues to do so now.

His first poetry album titled Vhalemba includes hits like Shandukani, and Luvha la Africa. In 2013 he won an award for best poetry song/album at the prestigious Tshivenda Music Awards.

Peggie “Umind” Shangwa

Peggie Shangwa known as Umind is a spoken word artist who thrives on word passion and speaks her mind in connection with her spirit, laying down heart issues on any platform. She is a performance poet as well as a slam poet. She started performing poetry in October 2012 at the House of Hunger Poetry Slam and has graced platforms like FLAME PAMBERI’s Sistaz Open Mic, International Poetry Celebrations, national television, national radio stations to name just but a few. Peggie has also performed at the National youth Slam at Shoko Festival 2012 and Jacaranda Young Women’s Festival in 2013. She opened for Grammy nominee, Da TRUTH at his Love, Hope and War Tour Africa and featured in a music album with Zimbabwean Artist Ney. Some of her poetry has been published in Nigeria and in local Magazine, The Voice.


Keith Oleng

Keith Oleng also known as K.O.K.O is a 29 year old poet, performer and creative director from Kenya.

His journey into the arts started when he was in the theatre arts club at Kakamega High School, where he learned about theatre directing, acting and creative writing. He then went on to study mass communication and film arts in Cetral TAFE College [Australia] and New York Film Academy [USA].

Later he started a communication organization called Oleng Communication, which focuses on understanding and communicating the interests of young people in Africa.

His first poetry collection, titled LOVE, Taken to a Mysterious Place is available for free download on his artist website.


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.


Blackheat is a young, multi-talented and passionate poetess, singer and percussionist from Zimbabwe. She exploded onto the poetry scene in 2006 after being discovered by renowned poet, Chirikure Chirikure who introduced her to the Book Cafe in Harare.

Her talents are far-reaching and amazing to say the least. In the short space spanning her performance career, she has performed at the echelons of performance poetry in Zimbabwe. She has also spread her wings and delved into radio broadcasting, acting, publishing, advocacy and cultural activism.

Her poetry is pregnant with abstract and surreal imagery, chronicling the social goings-on of contemporary Africa flawlessly on the traditional African beats of Zimbabwe and beyond. Speaking passionately on consciousness, love, revolution, individuality, freedom, culture and the delicate, critical balance of the mind and soul, her poetry appeals to people of color and light.

Not surprisingly, she is inspired by the Malinke jelis of West Africa, the nomadic Wolof and the Tuareg people of Senegal and Niger, who have kept their heritage intact through the spoken word and music. This inspiration led her to form the band, Blackheat in 2011. She felt the need to preserve the traditions of her Shona people through the fusion of folk music, poetry, dance and thought-provoking lyrical content.

With Samson Gohwa (percussion, vocals), Prince Zhuwao (mbira, balafon, vocals) and Itai Karuza (djembe, percussion), and herself on hwamanda-a traditional Zimbabwean horn, she started a journey that has given birth to a different understanding of spoken word, African music and dance.

Billene “Bilu” Seyoum

Billene “Bilu” Seyoum – avid word lover and travel enthusiast has been splashing words to paper since the age of twelve capturing her experiences of faces, places and spaces. Her poetry aims to take listeners and readers on a journey of re-imagining different imaginings of everyday existence. Having lived in five countries and traveled wide, Bilu’s poetry embraces her global identity.

Boonaa Mohammed

Dubbed the “voice of a generation,” Boonaa Mohammed is a critically acclaimed award winning writer and performer with accolades including a playwright residency at Theatre Passe Muraille, a short story published in a Penguin Canada anthology called Piece by Piece and various slam poetry titles including winner of the 2007 CBC Poetry Face-Off “Best New Artist” award. As an Artist he has toured and traveled across the world and frequently conducts writing workshops and seminars, sharing his experience and expertise in social justice based story telling with mainly youth from all walks of life.

Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye

Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye is one of the most prolific women writers, not only in Kenya, but also in Africa. She has distinguished herself as a writer of novels, poetry, and children’s stories. She was born in Southampton, England, in 1928 and came to Kenya as a missionary bookseller in 1954. She married D.G.W. Macgoye in 1960 and subsequently integrated into her husband’s extended family and the Luo community. This feature is well manifested in her literary works which have been acknowledged all over the world. Coming to Birth won the Sinclair Prize for fiction in 1986, while Homing In won second place in the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 1985.

Marce Underwood

Marce is a poet and classically trained singer from Cape Town, South Africa. Some of her poetry has been published in Sugar and Spice,  a South African Anthology. She is aslo a member of a trio called Project Escape, which fuses poetry and music.

Mama C

Charlotte Hill O’Neal aka Mama C is an internationally known visual artist, musician and poet with more than two decades of experience. She was born in Kansas City, KS in 1951 and has lived in Africa with her husband Pete O’Neal since 1970. She is the mother of two children, Malcolm and AnnWood “Stormy”. She is co-director of the United African Alliance Community Center UAACC located outside of Arusha, Tanzania. www.uaacc.habari.co.tz
Mama C was greatly influenced in her early years by the jazz, blues and gospel that Kansas City is famous for and integrates elements of that experience in both her music and the rhythm of her poetry along with the African beats and hip hop vibe of her spirit. She explores the reality of her life as a Diaspora born African who has lived most of her years in Tanzania in many of her poems, one of the most famous being I Almost Lost Myself.

“As a member of the Black Panther Party I was taught the importance of building international solidarity among all people while honoring my Ancestral roots. That philosophy has never changed and many of my poems and songs reflect this burning desire and mission to spread peace, love and unity through my art”, Mama C reflects. “The spontaneous release of love that comes from poetry and music and art, in general… that thing that binds us all together and builds solidarity and understanding among all people no matter where they are from or what language they speak, is like magic!”

Her song writing and performing talents have been showcased on stage, television and radio in many cities in Africa and in America during the annual UAACC Heal the Community Tour. She launched her book of poetry, Warrior Woman of Peace in 2008 and plans to launch her second book of poetry titled Life Slices – a Taste of My Heaven, in 2013. Mama C debuted several of her newest poems during the Poetry Africa Tour 2010 to Cape Town – South Africa, Harare – Zimbabwe and Blantyre – Malawi and the 14th Annual Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, all sponsored by the Creative Arts Center at University of KwaZulu Natal.

Mama C is co-director along with George Kyomushula, of the newly established Arusha Poetry Club in Arusha, Tanzania which serves as a platform for East African poets and artists around the planet.
She recently completed her 4th music/spoken word album produced at Peace Power Productions studio at UAACC and she has directed and appeared in several music videos featuring East African artists, YouTube channel: mamacharlotteuaacc

Mama C and Pete O’Neal are the subjects of two award winning documentaries about their lives and activism including American Exile narrated by Hollywood actress Alfre Woodard and the PBS documentary, A Panther in Africa by Aaron Matthews and she is one of the featured artists along with M1 of Deadprez in a newly released documentary on art and activism by Michael Wanguhu titled Ni Wakati, http://www.pbs.org/itvs/globalvoices/pantherinafrica.html, http://www.niwakatithefilm.com/

Mama C has learned to play the Obokano, an ancient African eight string lyre that originates in the Gusii community in western Kenya. Even though the instrument was considered taboo for women to play, one of the recognized masters of obokano, Dennis “Grandmaster Masese” Mosiere, felt that things should change and taught Mama C. She is the first woman to play professionally and finds that, “mixing obokano with poetry and song brings me so much pleasure and adds to the scope of my creativity!”

She is presently working with several artists to establish an indigenous music school and archive/museum at UAACC. They have already begun building instruments like the kiteníge from the Maasai community; umakhweyane from the Zulu community; obokano from the Gusii community; the marimba and the kalimba thumb piano that is played in nearly every country in sub Saharan Africa,Youtube channel: Wakunga zamani

Mama C: Urban Warrior in the African Bush is a new documentary about Mama C’s life as an artist activist by film maker, Dr. Joanne Hershfield who is a professor of Womens Studies and Department Head, at North Carolina State University Chapel Hill.
A trailer and more information about the film can be found at www.mamacurbanwarriorfilm.com

Mbali Vilakazi

Mbali Vilakazi is a child of the city by the sea, who came into being under the watchful eye of a silent mountain. She is born on the 9th day of the 9th sign. The Archer.

She is Nona’s daughter, Mzamo’s sister and Avumiles aunt. A woman who holds the gaze and the spectator in her own life.

Tracing her beginnings as a patient journey into herself, she holds the dream of a youth that rises to assume both its relevance and place. Touched by the wisdom in children, she remembers that it is always the little things.

Soul Activist, Poet, Flower. She is a Fairy. And the Queen in exile. With pen as sceptre and her throne a cloud. On a mission to answer the call.

She hears voices, sees in the dark and when she gows up, she wants to be Sade.

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.”