Tag Archives: Vigour

Justine Kakoko

Justine Kakoko, known to many as Brother GSP, is a passionate poet and Pan-Africanist living in Southern part of Tanzania. This 23 year old is a student at the University of Dodoma pursuing Bachelor of Arts and Public Administration.

He was inspired to start writing poetry by likes of Amiri Baraka, Last Poets, Mutabaruka, Alicia Walker, Saul Williams, his Comrade George Kyomushula and other many more.

Although, he does not get many opportunities to perform his work due to the lack of poetry events in his town he is determined to continue writing.

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

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.


“Moving the soul, like she rocks the mic, Motion is a true testament to the power of words.” -Toronto Star

MOTION’s aural/sonic works span the realms of word, sound and drama. Her lyrical agility has taken her to the stages of Manifesto, the Caribbean International Literary Festival, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, CBC Television, Illinois Hip Hop & Punk Feminisms Symposium, Trinidad & Tobago’s Cascadoo Festival and HBO Def Poetry Jam. Her theatrical works have been staged at Factory Theatre, bcurrent’s Rock.Paper.Sistaz Festival, Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Murialle and Obsidian’s International Black Playwrights Festival.

Motion is Resident alumna of the renowned Canadian Film Centre, and has been Obsidian Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence, and a resident of the Banff Centre for the Arts’ Playwrights Colony in 2013, where she developed the dramatic suite 4OUR WOMAN. Her award-winning production ANEEMAH’S SPOT debuted at Summerworks 2012. She went on write the critically acclaimed site-specific theatrical co-creation NIGHTMARE DREAM, which premiered in the 2014 TD Then & Now Festival. The 2nd work in the Nightmare Dream trilogy BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, will have its main stage premier in the 2014-2015 Season. Her inter-disciplinary play ORALTORIO, and films SOUNDGIRL and Aneemah’s Spot are now in development.

Motion has published two collections – Motion in Poetry and 40 Dayz (Women’s Press). Her work has also been featured in Give Voice (Playwrights Canada), The Great Black North (Frontenac), and In the Black: New African Canadian Literature (Insomniac).

Inspired by her initiation as an arts/mentor with the legendary Fresh Arts Movement, MotionLive continues developing young and emerging talent through her presentation/ workshop series in community, creative and educational spaces such as South Africa’s Africa Expo Symposium, Tapestry Theatre, the AMY Project, Trinidad & Tobago’s Cascadoo Festival, Toronto Public Library, York University and the TDSB. This year, Motion joins the Hip Hop Curriculum Project in the newly published Rhymes to Re-Education (A Different Publisher).
Connect:: www.motionlive.com

Jason Nkwain

Jason Nkwain was born in Cameroon, and moved to the USA at the age of thirteen. He has been publicly speaking since the age of seven when he started reciting poems and rhymes for kindergarten events.

Jason became really interested in poetry after moving to the US, and as time went by, he slowly developed a love for performance poetry or as most people call it, spoken word poetry. In 2012, alongside some of his close Cameroonian friends, he co-founded LEGACY ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTIONS, which is a collective of African artist whose main focus is to elevate and expose the beauty and the brilliance of the African Art.

Jason Nkwain’s poems focus on the continent of Africa and especially its people. Looking at the African people through the eyes of an anthropologist, Jason seeks to expose the beauty in Africa’s story. Jason seeks to dispel most myths and to shatter the false His-Stories, creating room for the truth in Our-Stories.

Some of his well-known poems are Thoughts, and Have You Ever Seen An African Dance.

Jason Nkwain is currently a senior at The University of Maryland College Park double majoring in Geographical Information Systems and English. He hopes to become an English professor some day focusing on African studies.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Legacy237

Donna Ogunnaike

Poet, writer and Energy Law expert, Donna is arguably the most compelling voice in Nigeria’s intense performance poetry circuit today. She has been described in the only ranking effort for spoken word in Nigeria (EGC Platform) as the “queen of spoken word poetry in Nigeria” for the year 2013 and ranked amongst the top 20 poets in Nigeria in the year 2012.

She is a Partner in the Law Firm of Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun where she has earned herself the prized ranking of “Rising Star” in 2014 and 2015 from IFLR 1000 for the World’s Leading Lawyers. When she is not providing expert advice to clients, Donna invests her energies in performed poetry and was formerly a co-coordinator of the well established Nigerian platform for art expression, Freedom Hall. She is a regular act on platforms like Taruwa, Freedom Hall and Word Up (where she has been a judge of poetry slams severally and was a facilitator at their event “The Business of Spoken Word in Nigeria, 2014” where she taught a sizeable audience of spoken word artistes on perfecting their act “From Page to Stage”).

Donna has been called upon for landmark events where only the finest acts are selected such as Nigeria’s 1st Cultural Trade Show (2014) tagged “Business Meets Culture” hosted by the Nigerian-German Business Association, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival and the WS 80 (celebrating Professor Wole Soyinka). DONNA was also the only Nigerian and one of 11 women elected by ONE.ORG for the National Month of Poetry, 2014 on its “National Poetry Month: Uplifting Verses From 11 Strong Female Poets”, alongside greats like Maya Angelou and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Her debut audio album “Water For Roses” is now available for purchase, with a formal launch to follow by April, 2015

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo is a lover of words. Her poetry has been published in various volumes of the Timbila Poetry Project. She has contributed to an anthology of poetry by South African Women, Basadzi Voices (UKZN Press, 2006). She also published a Sepedi collection of poetry titled Peu tša tokologoIo (Timbila, 2005). She was also one of the featured poets in Throbbing Ink 2003, a poetry collection by six South African poets.

She has read her poetry on various stages including the following: Polokwane Literary Fair 2014, 95 Poems 95 Poets Long Live Madiba, Polokwane Literary Festival 2012, Poetry Africa 2007, and Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2005, as well as the Beyond Borders Literature Festival in Uganda 2005. Her writing is mainly social commentary.

She’s a mother to Gaositwe, Mukona, and Muwanwa; wife to Segopotso Moshapo; and she holds a degree in physiotherapy

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.


Thabiso Nkoana

Born in Kagiso, raised in Diepkloof, polished in Scummyside and studying in Cape Town. Thabiso is a self proclaimed wordsmith exploring the multiverse one syllable at a time.

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.

Codey Young

Codey Young is a graduate of Ursinus College, class of 2014. He was recently selected as a 2014-15 Watson Fellow by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, for a year of international travel to pursue an independent creative project on art, activism, and Black masculinity in the African Diaspora while also performing his poetry. Codey has also launched a website, the Black M.A.R.S. Project, to highlight the work of Black male artists throughout the Diaspora. He has been writing poetry since the age of 12 and performed his work throughout college, at Ted Perkiomen Valley High School, as well as One World Poetry in Berlin, Germany.

Loyce Gayo

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

Edgar Munguambe

Edgar Munguambe is a Mozambican spoken word artist and aspiring writer with an international perspective. In 2013 he graduated both with a Bachelor’s degree in Media, Communication & Culture from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, and an Honours degree in African Studies from the University of Cape Town. Edgar believes his degrees helped develop his research and analytical skills, as well as flexibility which are vital particularly with regard to his passion – the creative arts.

He writes in both Portuguese and English, about issues that personally affect him; matters of the heart, death and the human condition, stereotyping, alienation, and success are among his themes.

Edgar has performed at various spoken word gigs throughout Maputo, particularly at Noites de Poesia (Poetry evenings) organized by cultural movement Pl’Art D’Alma. He participated in the “The Power of Voice” festival organized by the British Council. Due to the positive feedback on the content of his lyrics, wordplay and delivery with his resounding bass, Edgar decided to take his poetry to new heights.

Internationally he participated in the 2014 Poetry Africa Festival in Durban, South Africa. He will also be featured on Noites de Poesia’s first Anthology featuring local Mozambican spoken word artists, which will be published in 2014.

Professionally, in 2014 he became a candidate of the Barclays graduate programme, a prestigious pan-African development program where he will train as an analyst.

M. Ayodele Heath

An Atlanta native, M. Ayodele Heath is a top-10 finisher at the National Poetry Slam. A graduate of the MFA program at New England College, his honors include: a McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech, an Emerging Artist grant from the Atlanta Bureau for Cultural Affairs, and a fellowship to the Caversham Center for Artists in South Africa.

Ayodele has been a featured performer at such venues as the National Black Arts Festival, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and the TurnerSouth ‘My South Speaks’ television campaign, as well as universities and festivals across America. His first book, Otherness, is available from Brick Road Poetry Press.

Collin the Bushman

Collin the Bushman is an Attaqua bushman from a town called Dysselsdorp, on the outskirts of Oudsthoorn. He grew up in the Boland, Worcester area.

A poet, artist, bushman-blues/folk singer and musician, he is passionate about what he does. Part of his journey has been to rediscover his Khoikhoi roots. Living in a culturally diverse South Africa has inspired Collin to theme his work under the bushman heritage and culture.

Collin has been in the music and poetry industry since 1995. He started out in the hip-hop scene with the help of Black noise, P.O.C, Brasse van die Kaap, and Hip crew. He started out as a B- boy/MC, the culture of self-expression through music & art really inspired Collin to voice issues that were and are still relevant today. The issues addressed in his music & poetry are mostly around cultural & community awareness.

In 2011 Collin met up with rapper/artist/performer Jitsvinger, which led him to also working with the great spirit Jethro Louw aka Tannaman !xam. Combining his work with Jitsvinger and Jethro really took the poetry to a whole new level of Khoikhoi-culture awareness.

Matshedisho Aletta Motimele

Matshedisho Aletta Motimele has been writing poetry for over two decades. She is the author of Peu tsa lerato and Re thankgetse. This talented actor and playwright has also written for radio and television productions.


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.

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.

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.

Bulelwa Basse

Bulelwa Basse is the Founder of Lyrical Base Project, an arts and culture organisation which seeks to elevate the profiles of writers from marginalised communities through community-publishing projects and performance poetry (merged with music, dance, visual arts) at cultural and corporate events.

She has collaborated nationally with various arts education institutions and literary establishments, such as Kgare Ya Africa, Centre for the Book, Iziko Museum’s Education Department, Cape Town Language Committee, Artscape Theatre, Badilisha Poetry and the City of Cape Town, in the capacity of Language Facilitator, Published/Performance Poet, Guest Speaker and Events Co-ordinator.

Her writing has been published by the Poetry Institute of Africa, University of KwaZulu Natal Press, Department of Arts and Culture, The British Council and Oprah Magazine.

Basse is passionate about aligning herself with women empowerment projects such as Bona Magazine’s Women Empowerment Club, True Love Magazine’s Winning Style and Move Magazine’s empowerment initiatives, for which she’s both hosted and performed her poetry as a motivational tool.

Bulelwa is former Editor of Muse, an online poetry publishing and profiling magazine, and has earned herself a performance platform on, Poetry Delight, where she’s affectionately known on stage as, Miss “Sassy” Basse, following her satirical poem entitled: My Lyrical Sass, which confronts the societal nature of portraying women as sex-objects.

Her creative and business path has seen her represent her country as an arts and cultural-exchange ambassador in India (Coimbatore and Kerala) and tour the UK (England). But South African stages have always been her favorite arena of her work at play.

Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian born poet/writer who was a featured cast member of the National Touring Company of the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam. Not a stranger to the stage, her poetry has also opened shows by Grammy Award winning artists. Recently, Bassey appeared on the NAACP Image Awards as part of a tribute to Venus and Serena Williams and was a featured performer for Johannesburg, South Africa’s annual arts festival, Joburg Arts Alive. Bassey has been seen gracing the pages of magazines such as Nylon, Marie Claire, Glamour and Bust.

With social commentary being a focus of her work, Bassey recorded an original poem for the Kaiser Foundation’s, HIV/AIDS campaign, Knowing Is Beautiful. Bassey’s personal and heartfelt work has made her a much sought after performer. She is currently working on various screenplays as well as freelance writing for social media outlets. Her first completed collection of poetry and prose entitled, Blame My Teflon Heart: Poetry, Prose and Post-Its For Boys Who Didn’t Write Back will be released soon. In addition to her writing, this summer Bassey is also embarking on a 5 city tour, appropriately called “Basseyworld Live”, where each show will infuse poetry and interactive panel discussions on everything from politics to pop culture. Not only will she headline each show, but will also moderate the panel discussions, which will include special invited guests from various industries such as art, film and journalism.

Blaq Pearl

Blaq Pearl has performed with her band at Jazzathon and various city concerts particularly in Mitchell’s Plain. Having featured on television program Hectic 9nine and Keeping it Real, she is working on releasing unique designed T-shirt merchandise on www.sabandmerchandise.com. Currently Blaq Pearl is in the studio completing her album to be released this year.

She aspires to contribute to positive change in South Africa’s current state regarding the music industry and youth empowerment. To be successful and inspire upcoming artists & musicians and to to grow immensely and continuously in her musical talents and self.

Her poetry and music entails social content, controversial /tabooed issues and is about empowerment and real experiences + strength and motivation. She describes her music genre as a fusion of African/ Soul / Jazz / Hip Hop/ R&B.

Mojisola Adebayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercy Dhliwayo

Mercy Dhliwayo (better known by her stage name, Xtreme Sanity) is a slam poet, emcee and an emerging writer and photographer. Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Xtreme started off as a rapper in 1997 and later branched off into poetry and spoken word in 2005 as a first year student at the University of Limpopo.

Xtreme has performed on various platforms which include, but are not limited to, the Intwasa Festival, the University of Limpopo Heritage Festivals, The Black Market Ace’s Annual Charity events; the Canimambo Free Form Musical Festival as well as various festivals hosted by Shindig Awe and the Fire on the Mountain Festival. She has also taken part in the SABC 2’s Lentswe Poetry Project Competition in which, through her poem, Survival Techniques, she won under the HIV/AIDS Category in Limpopo Province (2007) and went on to represent the Limpopo Province under the same category at the national level of the Competition (2008).

She has further featured in the Black Markets PLK Hip Hop Mixtape (2006); Face the Music Hip hop Timeless Mixtape (2007), the Essential Words (2011), the Shindig Awe: Have we put out the fire Compilation (2012) and the African Fem MC’s Mixtape (2012).

Apart from recordings, her poetry has been published in the the Have We Put out The fire Journal, and in the Sunday News newspaper as well as online. Apart from being a poet and an emcee, Xtreme also writes short stories.

Mbali Kgosidintsi

Mbali Kgosidintsi graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2004 with a B.A in Theatre and Performance and was on the Deans Merit List for Drama. Her professional debut was on the Maynardville stage where she played the young lead of Hero in
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Fred Abrehemse.

She then went on to do Tall Horse with The Handspring Puppet Company, which opened at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town 2005, before touring to the Theatre de Welt Festival in Stuttgart Germany, followed by an eight state American tour at various prestigious venues, from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York to The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.

In the same year, she joined The Mother Tongue Project who collaborated with members of the Darling community to workshop and produce Breathing Space for the Darling Festival. On her return from Darling she staged her first production, By word of Mouth- A night of Lace and Petals which combines dance, music, poetry and theatrical aspects to tell a story featuring Rite 2 Speak. She is one of the members of Rite 2 Speak, a female poetry collective that addresses identity in contemporary South Africa. They have performed at prestigious events ranging from National Women’s Day 2008 to Heritage Day in Portugal and Urban Voices Festival 2009.

Mbali played the lead of Electra in Yael Farber’s Molora which opened in Yokohama, Japan 2006. She was recruited as one of four writers / adapters to develop two productions for the London/South Africa based company Portobello productions. The writing team, directed by Mark Donford-May, adapted A Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo and it went on to win the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical Revival.

Mbali was awarded a writing residency on the island of Sylt, Germany to develop her autobiographical novel, which formed the basis for her one-woman show, which was then produced by The Mother Tongue Project entitled Tseleng The Baggage of Bags written and performed by Mbali and directed by Sara Matchett. It won the ovation award at The National Grahamstown festival 2010. Mbali was invited to participate in Poetry workshops hosted by Badilisha Poetry X-change featuring internationally acclaimed poets and selected to participate in a two-week workshop with internationally acclaimed poet, Stacey Ann Chin where they investigated themes of the self and the body.

She recently played the character of a modern day Medea in award winning playwright and human rights activist, Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio, at a play reading hosted by the Baxter Theatre.

Mbali continues to write and perform poetry and is working on her first novel.

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.

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is a writer, educator, and performer. She has been a featured speaker at universities, festivals and events throughout Europe and North America. She is the Poetry Editor of the literary magazine African Voices.

Her work  deals with silence, sexism and racism and it has been published in Crab Orchard Review, BOMB, Paris/AtlanticGo, Tell Michelle (SUNY), Listen Up! (One World Ballantine) and Revenge and Forgiveness (Henry Holt). Tallie’s work has been the subject of a short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere.” Her first collection of poetry, Karma’s Footsteps, was released by Flipped Eye Publishing in September of 2011. She is the recipient of a 2010 Queens Council on the Arts grant for her research on herbalists of the African Diaspora. She has taught literature and composition  at York College and Medgar Evers College in New York City.

Malibongwe Omega Snyman

Malibongwe Omega Snyman, also known as “The Lazzy Poet” was born and raised in Eastern Cape, South Africa. He has performed his “street poetry” on various platforms.

Lazzy Poet’s latest brainchild and achievement has been his collaboration with, LoveLife, an NGO that deals with HIV, teenage pregnancy and various other social issues.

He is also the founder of Poetic Expressionz, a platform established to showcase the artistic work of the youth in his home town.

Maakomele Manaka

Maakomele Manaka , was born in Diepkloof zone 6, Soweto in 1983. The first of two boys born to artistic parents. Mak, as he is widely known is the son of the late Matsemela Manaka a well known visual artist, poet, play write and black consciousness activist . His mother, Nomsa Kupi Manaka is a pioneer of African dance, an established dancer,choreographer, and actress in South Africa. With a natural artistic gift as a poet and writer and a strong artistic heritage , Mak was destined to be an artist.

South African icon Don Mattera says, “If genius can be genetically connected and if it flows from generation to generation, then Mak Manaka is the epitome of it. He comes from a dynasty of talented, creative and gifted people Nomsa and Matsemela”.

At the age of 5, he received a Young Artist Award at the once famous Funda Arts Center in Soweto . He started writing poetry at 14 yrs old , just two years after his near fatal accident which left him in a wheelchair for a year and a half. He started performing at the age of 15 on crutches, debuting in 1998 in Lugano, Switzerland at a tribute for his late father.

In 1999, he performed at the Windybrow Arts Theater with British poet Benjamin Zephaniah and South African poet Dr Don Mattera. In 2000 he performed for Arnold Shwaznager on his visit to South Africa at the Takalani Home for the mentally Handicapped school.

In 2001, he performed at Horror Café in a show called Urban Voices with Grammy award winning American poets Sarah Jones and Steve Coleman along with other young and aspiring South African poets. This was to become a milestone poetic performance for Mak – as it formerly introduced him as an integral part of the local spoken word scene .

In 2002 he performed for the former president of South Africa Mr. Thabo Mbeki at the SABC in a live program called In conversation with the President hosted by Tim Modise and during that year he compiled all his works for publication of a poetry book, If Only. During the subsequent years he become a sought after poet as well as headliner for various festivals and events including the annual international Urban Voices Poetry Festival which took place nationally in SA. Over the years on various Urban Voices stages he has performed with international and locally acclaimed poets including the likes of Mutabaruka, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Saul Williams, the Last Poets, Ursula Rucker, Lesego Rampolokeng , Keorapetse Kgositsile and various other poetic icons.He was commissioned to perform for the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela at the launch of a primary school in Soweto. Later that year, Mak toured Cuba and Jamaica with poets Don Mattera and Lebo Mashile representing South Africa in celebrating 10 years of democracy. .

In the 2004 he was nominated for The Daimler Chrysler Poet of the Year 2005 Award. This year also saw Mak Performing in Holland, at the Crossing Borders Festival.

In February 2005 he spent a month in Germany on an island called Sylt and performed in Hamburg and Berlin. Later that year he played a character also called Mak and who was facing disability issues in the children’s television program Soul Buddies on SABC.

In June 2006 he performed at schools around Soweto as part of the campaign for the We Remember June 16. In the same year, he performed in Germany, Berlin for the
heads of state at the closing ceremony of the 2006 World Cup. In Kohln he shared the stage with talented poets, Lebo Mashile and Gcina Mhlophe, He also shared the stage with some of South Africa’s legendary artists, Johnny Clegg, Jabu Khanyile, HHP and
Freshly Ground.

In 2008, in pursuance of this goal, Mak launched his debut cd entitled Word Sound Power!!Word Sound Power!!  an album of quality music and Conscious lyrics, was certainly a milestone album for spoken word in South Africa. Produced by Melody Muzik Sound Productions, the music reflects a deep range of reggae rhythms together with hip hop and jazz. International and local musicians have contributed and collaborate on Word Sound Power!! including The Royal Kushite Philharmonic Orchestra featuring L Michell, H Izachaar, L Beckett and mixed by K M Tafari

In 2009 Manaka launched his second anthology In Time, in Italy at a Literature festival in Mantova. The anthology sold out months after its release.

In 2010 he performed at the Zwakala Festival for deaf children, and he also performed at the annual languages awards, The Pen-Salb Awards. He also launched a writers program in the same year to encourage self-esteem in young people

In 2011 He performed at the MNET awards, the Television awards for Good (TAG).

In 2012, Mak performed in Padova, Italy at the Porsche Live Festival. In June 2012, Mak represented South Africa at the 18th Genoa International Poetry Festival in Italy. In the same month he performed at the Listros Gallery in Berlin, Manaka also facilitated workshops at the prestigious Humboldt University called Poetry 101 with Mak Manaka. He also performed at The Moving Poets in Berlin with an installation of a Berlin based South African visual artist, Liz Crowley. He also performed at Badilisha Poetry X-change’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

Mutombo Da Poet

Mutombo Da Poet, a spoken word artist, emerged on the burgeoning alternative scene in 2006. This Ghanaian has since earned his stripes as an insightful, humorous and captivating performer across the nation. His new spoken word album is called Photosenteces.


Mufasa is a spoken word artist, actor and singer born and raised in Kenya. He popped into the spoken word scene after winning a spoken word slam competition. Since then Mufasa has been performing in all major poetry events in Kenya. Raised by a single mother, Mufasa is a passionate performer on stage and hides no emotions when he speaks about his life and disturbing issues in the society.