Keorapetse William Kgositsile
Abrahams, Mishkah H.
Makhanya, Nondumiso B.
Format Extent1 artwork
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Copyright Stellenbosch University
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Description of Artwork Keorapetse Kgositsile, also known as Bra Willie, was an anti-apartheid activist as well as a writer and prolific poet. Born in Johannesburg, he started writing as a hobby and eventually wrote for the radical newspaper, The New Age. As a member of the African National Congress during apartheid, he was forced to flee to Tanzania and eventually the United States. He found much success there. He moved back to South Africa in 1990, where he was inaugurated as South Africa’s first National Poet Laureate. His work includes This Way I Salute You (2004), If I Could Sing (2002), To the Bitter End (1995), Approaches to Poetry Writing (1994), The Present is a Dangerous Place to Live (1975), Freeword – with Katiyo, Davis & Rydstom – (1983), Heartprints (1980), Places and Bloodstains (1976), A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing – with Brooks, Madhubuti and Randall – (1975), The Word is Here, ed. (1973), My Name is Africa (1971), For Melba (1971), Spirits Unchained (1969). Kgositsile lived a full and prosperous life, despite the dominant and oppressive powers of the time. His work is a celebration of black culture and freedom. His achievements and international recognition stand as a reminder to celebrate and cultivate young artists in the country. As he once said, “And if we take control to shape our attitude and reshape our memories, that time is always now – our time for the best possible uses of our lives.”
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