S7E6 Barbara Masekela and Sisonke Msimang in Conversation: “The Great Secret of History”
13 Apr 2023
Image credits: Sisonke Msimang by Nick White and Barbara Masekela by Alon Skuy
Sisonke Msimang interviews Barbara Masekela about her memoir Poli Poli.
Barbara remembers her childhood home with her grandmother and honours her generation of Black women. She contextualises her family’s life in the history of dispossession, mobility, apartheid and reflects on her exile in the U.S. and transatlantic cultural ties.
Barbara also mentions her friendship with the late Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile, who is celebrated in episode four of this season.
Sisonke Msimang is the author of two books: Always Another Country: A memoir of exile and home, and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela. She has written essays and articles for a range of international press, and she works as a curator and storyteller. Sisonke is also a member of the board of PEN South Africa.
Barbara Masekela is a South African poet, educator, mother, and activist. She has served as ambassador to the United States and France, and has held various executive and non-executive directorships, including at Standard Bank, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and De Beers. Her memoir Poli Poli was published by Jonathan Ball in 2021. She lives in Johannesburg.
In this episode we are in solidarity with academic and activist Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace. You can read more about his case here. As tributes to Dr Al-Singace, Barbara reads an extract from Margaret Walker’s “For My People” and Sisonke shares a quote about courage from Maya Angelou.
Listen to the episode here: