Keorapetse Kgositsile, South Africa’s second poet laureate, was a political activist, teacher, and poet. He lived, wrote, and taught in the United States for a significant part of his life and collaborated with many influential and highly regarded writers, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Plumpp, Dudley Randall, and George Kent. This comprehensive collection of Kgositsile’s new and collected works spans almost fifty years.
During his lifetime, Kgositsile dedicated the majority of his poems to people or movements, documenting the struggle against racism, Western imperialism, and racial capitalism, and celebrating human creativity, particularly music, as an inherent and essential aspect of the global liberation struggle. This collection demonstrates the commitment to equality, justice, and egalitarianism fostered by cultural workers within the mass liberation movement. As the introduction notes, Kgositsile had an “undisputed ability to honor the truth in all its complexity, with a musicality that draws on the repository of memory and history, rebuilt through the rhythms and cadences of jazz.” Addressing themes of Black solidarity, displacement, and anticolonialism, Kgositsile’s prose is fiery, witty, and filled with conviction. This collection showcases a voice that wanted to change the world—and did.