South Africans Honor the Life and Work of Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile
The celebrated South African poet, and father of rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 79.
There's been an outpouring of love and recognition following the death of South African poet laureate and anti-apartheid Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 79.
The celebrated poet and father of rapper Earl Sweatshirt, was born in Johannesburg in 1938. He began his career working as a journalist before taking on a career as a political activist with the African National Congress. He lived in exile in the Untied states between 1962 and 1975—It was during this time that his exemplary literary career burgeoned. He became poet laureate in 2006.
Kgositsile, influenced artists, activists and fellow writers alike, most notably The Last Poets—considered the grandfathers of hip hop—who spoke about how he was an inspiration for their name in an interview with The Guardian last year. It's no secret that his talent for wordplay, was inherited by his son, hip hop artist Earl Sweatshirt, though the two shared a complicated relationship.
Earl has rapped about his father's absence on tracks like "Off Top" and "Grown Ups." In a 2011 interview with The New Yorker, Kgositsile admitted that he had never listened to his son's music, "When he feels that he's got something to share with me, he'll do that," he said. "And until then I will not impose myself on him just because the world talks of him."
The writer did express his feelings for his son, in perhaps, the way he knew best: through his writing, particularly in the poem Random Notes For My Son.
Kgositsile's death is a major loss to the black literary world, many South Africans and followers alike, have taken to social media to pay their respects to the poet, share personal accounts of their time with him, and pay homage to his contributions, not only to the literary community, but also to the South African freedom struggle, and even the founding of hip hop music.
We begin 2018 on a very sombre note with the passing of one of South Africa's most influential and exceptional poet… https://t.co/d2NXt1YSE6— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@Min. Nathi Mthethwa) 1514987107.0
Beware, my son, words that carry the loudnesses of blind desire also carry the slime of illusion dripping like pus… https://t.co/3yKtNVBhOw— aja monet (@aja monet) 1514993700.0
RIP, Keorapetse Kgositsile. thank you for being kind to me. “no frightened tear ever rolls on to the elegance of f… https://t.co/Dd66G1Wn4X— Safia Elhillo (@Safia Elhillo) 1514996112.0
For those who don't know Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, I'm just going to thread one of my favourite things about… https://t.co/d9vDQACXMt— Aunty Noba♡ (@Aunty Noba♡) 1514986116.0
Our laureate is gone. On being a refugee he wrote these words we can all recognise: Perhaps I should just borrow… https://t.co/O3IFyrOG0I— Sisonke Msimang (@Sisonke Msimang) 1514984289.0
"Need I remind Anyone again that Armed struggle Is an act of love" -The poet Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938-2018) https://t.co/oH7q3wClto— IG: @Africasacountry (@IG: @Africasacountry) 1514996373.0
I took this portrait of Keorapetse Kgositsile at the Bushfire festival in Swaziland. A definitive moment with his t… https://t.co/4jUn5JW7X6— Victor Dlamini (@Victor Dlamini) 1515009149.0
It is with great sadness that we have learnt of Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile's passing. He was with us just the othe… https://t.co/jvhtfvAJMb— Abantu Book Festival (@Abantu Book Festival) 1514984330.0
My last assignment as DM in the Presidency was to engage with these giants on how the new laws will improve the liv… https://t.co/aJ5tFJdq1N— DM Higher Education (@DM Higher Education) 1514991199.0
"Though you remain Convinced To be alive You must have somewhere To go Your destination remains Elusive."… https://t.co/OGZuCkVSxm— Mmabatho Montsho (@Mmabatho Montsho) 1514990398.0
R.I.P. to Keorapetse Kgositsile aka Bra Willie, Earl Sweatshirt's father & a revered South African poet and an anti… https://t.co/T119fXIpf8— HIP HOP FACTS (@HIP HOP FACTS) 1515098404.0
Africa has lost one of its greatest poets, Prof Williams Keorapetse Kgositsile (Bra Willie); an anti-apartheid acti… https://t.co/wDmU9YsL7f— Facts About Africa (@Facts About Africa) 1515085828.0