South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile reads from his work as part of the Poetry and Poetics Colloquium series.
Keorapetse Kgositsile is a South African poet and political activist whose international influence has spanned decades. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including This Way I Salute You (Kwela, 2004), If I Could Sing (Kwela, 2002), and My Name is Afrika (Doubleday, 1971), as well as the scholarly study Beyond Words: South African Poetics (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2009). He is also the editor of The Word Is Here: Poetry from Modern Africa (Anchor, 1973).
An influential member of the African National Congress and a key figure in the Pan‐African and Black Arts movements, Kgositsile spent three decades in exile from South Africa, studying at several U.S. universities, including Columbia University, where he earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. His poetry, heavily influenced by jazz, merges African and African‐American cultural practices into a modern art of diaspora. Kgositsile's extensive career as a writer, teacher, and activist in the United States, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, and Zambia led to a triumphant return to South Africa after the end of apartheid. In 2006, Kgositsile was named Poet Laureate of South Africa.