Mirna Kabwe

Mirna Kabwe is a 22 years old born in the DRC but based in Johannesburg South Africa. She is currently a third year student at the University of Monash studying computer sciences. She enjoys writing and listening to poetry. One of her poems was published in Sakaza Mngani (A Kidz Community Radio Handbook) in 2007.

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.

Bilkis Moola

Bilkis Moola is an Educator who works as a Head of Department in Languages at a school in Vukuzakhe, a township located in Volksrust, Mpumalanga province, South Africa. Her first anthology of poetry Wounds & Wings evolved as an introspective quest for recovery from her personal narrative of an abusive relationship. Bilkis presently divides her time between professional responsibilities and post-graduate studies in Education.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva is the founder of Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award and Babishai Niwe Literary Foundation which means Creating with You, in a mixture languages. It Babishai Niwe has been coordinating annual poetry awards for Ugandan women since 2008 targeting hundreds of women country-wide over the past 5 years, being the only award o its kind in the country. In 2014, the award will extend to the entire continent, targeting both men and women. In 2013, the foundation will publish an anthology of poetry from poets of Africa. Beverley Nambozo is also the author of Unjumping, a chapbook collection of poetry which was published by erbacce-press in 2010 after she emerged a joint first runner-up in their annual poetry competition. She has a Masters Degree from Lancaster University and devotes a lot of time to being a stay-at-home mum. Beverley currently lives in Kampala and looks forward to travelling far corners of the world with her husband and children.

Beverly Rycroft

Beverly Rycroft’s debut poetry collection, Missing, recently won the Ingrid Jonker Award. In 2011 she was awarded second prize in the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Competition for her poem Has your Dad got a Bird yet? In 2000 she was joint winner of the Femina/Sensa Features Competition.

Beverly is a graduate of UCT and Wits. A qualified teacher, she has written for both local and international magazines. Her poems have appeared in Carapace, New Coin, scrutiny2, New Contrast and the anthology Difficult to Explain. She has performed readings of her work in Cape Town, Hermanus, The Franschoek Literary Festival, East London and Johannesburg, many of them with the poet Finuala Dowling. She is currently setting up the poetry section of the 2013 Franschoek Literary Festival with Dr Dowling. Beverly lives in Cape Town with her family.

Bernedette Muthien

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

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.

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.

Moses Serubiri

Born in 1989, Moses Serubiri took to writing poems while in high school, for the AIDS Club. His poems and prose were first published in the Kibuli Secondary School Magazine in 2005. More recently his poem I Remember was selected for the Hay Poetry Festival’s Shortlist. He is a poet, photographer and pianist currently living in Kampala, Uganda.

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.

Megan Hall

Currently Publishing Manager at Oxford University Press, Megan Hall has also edited poems and short stories for New Contrast. Her poetry was extensively published in numerous journals, before she launched her debut collection Fourth Child. The work received widespread acclaim, winning the 2008 Ingrid Jonker Prize for a debut collection. Her poems have been described as “moving and cathartic”, exploring emotions of despair, loss, love, resolution and healing.

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.

Mahogany L. Browne

The Cave Canem Fellow is the author of several books including Swag & Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & listed as About.com Best Poetry Books of 2010.

She has released five LPs including the live album Sheroshima. As co-founder of the Off Broadway poetry production, Jam On It, and co-producer of NYC’s 1st Performance Poetry Festival: SoundBites Poetry Festival, Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee.Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics.

Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary Brown Girl Love and Up The Staircase. She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country.

She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, a small press for performance artists and owns PoetCD.Com, an on-line marketing and distribution company for poets. Mahogany is currently host and curator of the Friday Night Slam at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Mzi Mahola

Mzi Mahola was born in 1949 as Mzikayise Winston Mahola. Mzi Mahola is his nom de plume. He started writing while he was at school. The Special Branch confiscated his first poetry manuscript in 1976 (That year, South African students rebelled against the government, which cracked down without restraint. Read more about the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Ed.) and he lost interest in writing for twelve years. After this period he started writing again, submitting work successfully to national and international journals, magazines and publications. His work has been published in more than eight anthologies.

His first book with poems is titled Strange Things and was published in 1994 by Snail Press. This volume received positive reviewing and was amongst those to represent South Africa in Geneva in a World Book fare in 1995. There was interest in translating the book into German and Danish, but this has not materialised to date.

His second volume When Rain Comes was published in 2000 by Carapace and won the Olive Schreiner Book prize.

At the moment he is editing and finalizing a semi-biographical novel called The Broken Link.

He has presented papers and given speeches at the National Arts Festival and at other venues for school children. He gives poetry readings for University groups and community projects. Now and then he runs poetry workshops for interested groups of writers.

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.

MP Mkhize Da Bee

MP Mkhize Da Bee is a poet based in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. This young poet has extensive writing and performance experience. Highlights of his career have been performing with veteran South African storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, performing at the Africa Cup of Nations and at the ANC’s 101 Years Celebration.

Morongwa Matsau

Known on stage as Messenger, Morongwa is a 30 year old  born in Maun, Botswana. He is a trained and professional accountant. Messenger’s interest in poetry started in the year 2000. However, the realisation of becoming a full-fleshed writer and performer began 9 years later when he joined Poetavango Spoken Word Poetry.

Messenger’s influence comes from everything he sees, touches and smells. He derives inspiration from the creatures he meets – in reality and in dreams and the sounds and voices he hears.

He has performed at all installations of the Maun international Poetry Festival. He also took part in the 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Maun 2012.

Morongwa Matsau is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel manuscript.

Memory Chirere

Memory Chirere has been writing poetry since his boyhood in the Zimbabwean countryside.  His poems were first published in Tipeiwo Dariro (1994). He has also published three short story books in English and Shona. His short-short stories estimate the delicate midway between prose and poetry. He has read his poems at festivals and conferences in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi and Germany. He lives in Harare where he teaches Creative Writing at the University of Zimbabwe.

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.

Mandlenkosi Bewuzana

Mandlenkosi Bewuzana is an artist, a poet, short story writer, novel writer, inspirational and general philosophy book writer based in Eastern Cape, South Africa. He contributed to Ingqaka Yesihobe published by Oxford University Press. He also contributed to Isingqi Sesihobe which is still to be published by Oxford University Press.

Njeri Wangare

Njeri Wangare is a multi talented Kenyan poet and performer, IT specialist and arts blogger whose collection of poetry was recently published under the title Mines & Mind Fields; My Spoken Words. The 114 paged book contains over 40 poems that explore themes on Urban Blues, Love, Identity, Traditions, Cultural changes, Exploitation and Politics among others. Though most of the poems are in English, there are a few in Kiswahili, and Sheng

“She is one of the most respected female poets in Nairobi today”, The Sunday Nation writer Joseph Ngunjiri says of Njeri, “Njeri Wangari has a powerful voice, and she knows how to put it to good use. Whenever she takes to the podium to recite a poem, she has her enthusiastic audience applauding all the way.”

Njeri’s love for the arts began at an early age through her appreciation of African culture. This, she found to be well expressed in many of the books that she started reading while still young and they have shaped the person she has now become.

The year 2004 is when she penned down her first poem and 3 years later she made her first attempt in front of an audience to start performing her poems. She has now among some of the most talented Kenyan poets.
She has been running her blog, www.kenyanpoet.com since 2005,a project that she initially started in order to publishing her poetry online. It has since grown to incorporate other forms of art as well as host other poets. She has contributed immensely to the promotion of Kenyan Poetry not only on stage but also through the internet through her reviews on art performances and by encouraging up and coming poets to start blogs and eventually share their work through performance. She is currently part of the Global Voices Online-An online portal for citizen journalists, as a writer on African Arts.

Njeri has come to be known as the voice of reason and change in the Kenyan poetry circles due to the content and theme of her poems which range from culture, religion, human rights, technology and everyday challenges in the Kenyan society.

She performs regularly at various poetry spots in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi as well as in institutions and companies where she is invited from time to time.

Njeri is currently working on her 2nd poetry collection.

Nana Korantema Hanson

Nana Korantema Hanson is an actress, a writer (poetry, anecdotal essays, and novel), blogger, television presenter, and an entertainment journalist based in Ghana.

Kolade Arogundade

Kolade Arogundade is a land economist, poet, world music aficionado, writer, political animal and football fiend. Recently he has started an initiative called Giants in the Land which has so far published two books of poetry. He is currently working on his first novel.

Kobus Moolman

Kobus Moolman was born in 1964 in Pietermaritzburg. He is a senior lecturer in creative writing in the Department of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. He holds a PhD in English Studies from UKZN.
In 2013 he received the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union poetry award. In the same year, he was the Mellon Writer in Residence at Rhodes University for three months, and he also published his most recent poetry anthology, Left Over (Dye Hard Press). The collection has been widely acknowledged as his strongest to date.

In 2012 he was commissioned by the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State to adapt  Zakes Mda’s the novel, The Madonna of Excelsior, for the stage. The production has travelled to several theatres in the country, including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the State Theatre in Pretoria.

In 2010 he published Light and After (Deep South Press). The collection was launched at the 14th Poetry Africa festival in Durban. In the same year he received the South African Literary Award for Poetry for his collection, Separating the Seas. Founded by the national Ministry of Arts & Culture, the South African Literary Awards honour South African literary practitioners, while encouraging the advancement of literary heritage and practice.

In 2010 he was a special guest, for two months, of the Creative Writing Research Group of the University of Calgary in Canada. During this period he gave readings of his work and lectured, including at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He was also an invited guest at the 2010 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, during which time he performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts and in Canmore. In the same year he edited and published, Tilling the Hard Soil: poetry, prose and art by   South African Writers with Disabilities (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press). He was also the invited dramaturge on a two-week residency for South African and Dutch scriptwriters organized by the Twist Theatre Development Project during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He was invited back as dramaturge in 2011 and 2013.

In 2009 one of poems was nominated for a US Pushcart Prize. At the beginning of 2008, he participated in a three-week collaborative residency at the Caversham Centre for Writers and Artists in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. During this residency he produced a limited edition, hand-bound collection of poems entitled Anatomy. This cycle of poems was later published in the Journal of Disability Studies (OhioStateUniversity). It also won the Dramatic and Literary Rights (DALRO) Prize for the best poem to appear in New Coin magazine in 2008.

A collection of his radio plays, Blind Voices, was published by Botsotso Publishers in 2007. The collection is sponsored by the British Council and features a CD of the BBC production of his earlier award-winning play, Soldier Boy.

In 2008,  he was on the panel of adjudicators for the Ingrid Jonker award, and in 2009 he was a judge for the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry.He was the founding editor of the annual KwaZulu-Natal poetry journal, Fidelities, which ran from 1995 until 2007.  As co-ordinator of the Fidelities Poetry Project he conducted creative writing workshops and readings for a variety of interest groups, from offenders in prison to high school youth.  From 2000 to 2009 he edited the poetry titles for the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, working on collections by Karen Press, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Kelwyn Sole and Makhosazana Xaba, amongst others.

In 2007 he was also named joint winner of the 2007 NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings of New Writing for his new play, Stone Angel. This is the second time he has won this major South African award for theatre writing. In the same year he was the chairperson of the selection committee for the Olive Schreiner Poetry Prize sponsored by the English Academy of Southern Africa.

In 2004 his play, Full Circle, was awarded the Jury Prize for Best Script in the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) Festival of Reading of New Writing. The play premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2005, directed by Charmaine Weir-Smith, and was critically acclaimed. It was subsequently produced at the Hilton College Theatre in Pietermaritzburg and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The play was also produced as part of the Southern African theatre season at the Oval House Theatre in London in 2006. The script was published in 2007 by Dye Hard Press.  And in 2008 it was produced by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

In 2004 he was commissioned by Bush Radio (Cape Town) to adapt Gomolemo Mokae’s short story, Milk and Honey Galore, for the radio.

In 2003 he was a runner-up in the BBC African Performance radio drama competition. His winning play was produced for the BBC World Service. In the same year it was also read at the Moscow Theatre Festival of New Writing. His collection, Feet of the Sky was published by Brevitas Press.
In 2001 he was one of five South African poets featured in a collection by Botsotso Publishers, entitled simply, 5 Poetry.

In 1998 he was awarded the Helen Martins Fellowship which enabled him to spend a month in the Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda working on an anthology of poetry.  This collection, entitled, Time like Stone was published by UKZN Press in 2000. The collection was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for 2001, the premier South African award for a debut anthology.

In 1992 he was a finalist in the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award. He is the recipient of the BBC African Radio Theatre Award (1987), the Macmillan Southern African Playwriting Award (1991) and in 2000 he won a merit award in the Noupoort Reward for Playwriting.

Khadijah Ibrahim

Khadijah Ibrahiim is of Jamaican parentage, born in the city of Leeds, England. Educated at the University of Leeds; she has a MA in Theatre Studies. She is the Artistic Director of Leeds Young Authors and the Producer of Leeds Youth poetry Slam festival. Peepal Tree press published her poetry collection Rootz Runnin in 2008 that same year she toured the USA with the Fwords Creative Freedom writers. As a delegate for the Art Council England (Yorkshire) she attended Calabash International Literature Festival in Jamaica. She became one of the first international writers to attend the El Gouna Writers Residency in Egypt, 2010.

She was a member the advisory group that organized some of the events, which marked the visit of Dr Nelson Mandela to the City of Leeds. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s ‘most prolific’ poets by BBC Radio, she continues to make various stage appearances across Britain, the USA, the Caribbean and Africa. Peepal Tree Press will publish her latest collection of poems later this year

Kai Lossgott

German-born, Kai Lossgott lives and works in Cape Town. In search of poetry, he travelled from paper to canvas, from theatre to film, and into digital media. In his performances, poems, experimental films and plant leaf engravings, he investigates biophysical language patterns and the vulnerable instincts which drive them sensitivity, silence, and acts of sensing. In a human-centred world, his aim is most often to work from a life-centred perspective.

Liam Kruger

Liam Kruger is a 22-year-old writer and student living in Cape Town South Africa.

Laud de Poet

Laud de Poet is a contemporary poet from Ghana who resides in Tema. His real name is Laud Kweku Halm-Quartey affectionately addressed as Laud de Poet or Ldp. A Pan-African, Ldp is a poet and a poetry promoter.

He is also the founder of modeconceptz, an association that supports anything about poetry and the elements of poetry.

Linda Kaoma

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

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

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

She has contributed to various publications and continues to freelance.