S7E4: Celebrating Keorapetse Kgositsile: “Without Love There Is No Revolution That Matters”

30 Mar 2023
S7E4: Celebrating Keorapetse Kgositsile: “Without Love There Is No Revolution That Matters”

Image credits: Sandile Ngidi by Hugh Mdlalose

Sandile Ngidi and Uhuru Phalafala honour the life and legacy of Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile.

Sandile asks Uhuru about Kgositsile’s exile in the U.S., his impact on the Black Arts Movement and the significance of Pan-Africanism. Uhuru also emphasises several influences on Kgositsile’s poetics and politics: his mother and grandmother, Setswana literature and language, music, as well as Amílcar Cabral. 

Sandile reads Kgositsile’s “June 16 Year of Spear”, Uhuru reads “For Gloria Bosman” and they both reflect on his poems “Red Song” and “No Serenity Here”.

Sandile Ngidi is a poet, art critic and Zulu/English literary translator. He is committed to researching the role of black intellectuals as critical producers of emancipatory knowledge, practices and thought especially in colonial and apartheid South Africa. In 2018, Mahlephula Press published his poetry chapbook, You Can’t Tell Me Anything Now.

Uhuru Phalafala is a senior lecturer in the English department at Stellenbosch University. She is a co-editor along with Phillippa Yaa de Villiers of Keorapetse Kgositsile: Collected Poems, 1969–2018 (University of Nebraska Press, 2023). Uhuru is the author of Mine Mine Mine (University of Nebraska Press, 2023), a mythopoetic epic on the migrant labour system. One of her forthcoming books is a monograph on former national poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile.

In this episode we stand in solidarity with Chinese poet, Zhang Guiqi (known by his pen name Lu Yang). You can read more about his case in an article by PEN America and an interview with his daughter.

As tributes to Zhang Guiqi. Uhuru reads “I Belong There” by Mahmoud Darwish and Sandile reads one of his own poems in Zulu and English.

Listen to the episode here: