Wednesday, February 14, 2018



Essays on selected works of disparate African writers, like:

Cyprian Ekwensi
Ferdinand Oyono
Peter Abrahams
Flaxman Qoopane
Lola Shoneyin
Khanyi Mbau
Maria Sharapova
Charles Mungoshi
Wole Soyinka
Nadine Gordimer
‘Efunsetan Aniwura’
Leseli Mokhele
Tiisetso Thiba
O Bolaji
Shehu Sanni,
Memory Chirere
Ellen Banda-Aaku,
Dillibe Onyeama
Vonani Bila
Maxwell Kanemanyanga
Richard Rive
Laureta Ngcobo
Elechi Amadi
Adebayo Faleti
Buchi Emecheta
Isidore Okpewho
Heidi Holland
Flaxman Qoopane
Keorapetse Kgositsile

Mr Mzwandile Soqaga is the acclaimed author of works like Promoting Quintessential African Writing and Glimpses into African Literature. Chief O Bolaji is the illustrious author of the Tebogo Mystery series, as well as striking books like Windmills of the Dames, People of the Townships, The Ghostly Adversary, and It Couldn’t Matter Less

Monday, January 8, 2018

Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938 - 2018)

A minuscule tribute by O Bolaji

South Africa's greatest Black poets? One's mind automatically goes to Mongane Wally Serote, and Keorapetse Kgositsile, who has just died.

I have been lucky enough to meet both exalted bards over the years. Kgositsile epitomized poetry and was a warm, affable, eclectic  presence who graced poetic and literary occasions with elan.

Prof Kgositsile always exuded bonhomie despite his awesome credentials as international academic, wordsmith and author of several works distributed in hundreds of literary centres worldwide.  He would very warmly hold hands with much younger burgeoning poets, joking with them, showing them many of his published works in deprecating fashion.

His face always creased with smiles; evoking laughter and applause, Bra Willie was nevertheless a tough literary critic who would attack the works of the literary greats like Achebe and Ngugi. But of course in fairness to him, he was critical of his own works too. "One might find out that what one has written is a can of worms" he would say.

He was a well travelled, polished bard, highly respected globally.  I recollect Mr Malcolm Hacksley, former Director of NELM Grahamstown telling me some intriguing anecdotes about Bra Willie. The late Flaxman Qoopabe was also well enamoured with prof Kgositsile. His pungent criticism often upset much younger bards at literary occasions, but nevertheless they all warmed to him and admired him.

The late prof Kgositsile early in his career was something of a journalist; he went on to study at Columbia University in the USA, where he was influenced by Black poetry, with strong musical - jazz - elements integral to his poetry. He published over ten revered works on poetry, and was named as South African National Poet Laureate in 2006.

Books published by Keorapetse Kgositsile

The word is here: poetry from modern Africa

My name is Afrika

Spirits Unchained

For Melba

The present is a dangerous place to live

If I could sing: Selected poems

This way I salute you: Selected poems

When the Clouds clear

To the Bitter End

Approaches to Poetry Writing 

Places and Bloodstains: notes for Ipelang

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


By Raphael Mokoena

The publishing industry continues to trundle on, despite travails. Even here in Africa progress continues to be made in unearthing new literary gems, bringing out new works by the established wordsmiths etc. The year 2017, now reaching its end, has not been different. 

But to be honest, for me the year 2017 in respect of African literature was outstanding mainly because of the demise of three exceedingly revered, highly talented writers, all of them belonging to the pantheon of our all time literary greats: Peter Abrahams, (above) Miriam Tlali and Buchi Emecheta.

Peter Abrahams, and Miriam Tlali, both from South Africa were pioneers and trail blazers.  Abrahams a 'coloured' writer left SA as a very young man and went on to the dazzle the world with a string of superb novels and general works, making the horrors of racial discrimination known globally via his writings. Works of his like Mine Boy, and Tell Freedom live on in World consciousness. 

Miriam Tlali (above) was the first black woman from South Africa to publish an excellent novel, Muriel at Metropolitan, or Between two Worlds - the title she preferred. She went on to write and publish several other creative works, including short stories.  Her name is etched in gold in African literature. 

As for the loss of Buchi Emecheta (below) - what a wonderful writer! Never mind that she was female.  A Nigerian by birth, she did wonderful things for African writing. She published at least twice the number of novels that the illustrious Achebe published. Her works are all powerful in their own way, pushing feminine writing and ideas to the fore. Emecheta was world class, focused, brilliantly creative and was a pioneer too.

So, three great African writers left us in 2017, all of them pioneers and world class to boot.  We should continue to read their literary works and celebrate them! But this 2017...

Thursday, November 30, 2017


The literary fraternity has been reeling with the recent death of Flaxman Qoopane, a long standing flamboyant journalist, author, poet, and literary activist.

The award winning, incredibly prolific writer, Chief O Bolaji, whilst wrapped in sorrow over Qoopane’s death, briefly went down memory lane this week as he reflected on his close association with the late writer over the decades.  Bolaji said.

"When I first arrived in South Africa over 20 years ago Qoopane was the one who took me under his wing, showing me the ropes as it were. We were so close that many people used to refer to us as twins! Qoopane himself used to say that I was the only real friend he had.

“But this was not strictly true of course, as he was a friendly man, ebullient and effervescent to boot, with so many people he was quite close to. There was the great Gilbert Modise for one; and other people strutting their stuff in arts and culture.

“But it was true that in terns of working together and letting our hairs down too, I was the closest to him,” Bolaji continued. “ Professionally we worked on countless stories, news, articles, features and the like. We wrote for publications like Next, Realtime, Hola, Daily Sun, Mangaung News, Free State News, Kopanang, E and E magazine…

Bolaji laughed lightly, going on:  “You know he (Qoopane) was a born journalist. His glee knew no bounds after his writings came out in any publication – he would issue whoops of delight and canter around like the free spirit he was. He meticulously kept hundreds of stories we wrote over the years; whilst I do not even have just one, myself now!

“As regards relaxation, we did that a lot. He was so generous that whenever any remuneration came in he would insist on buying us drinks first with his own share of the money. We would go to many joints or centres, enjoy beers and fine food (laughing). He has written about this in some of his books like Adventures in Journalism

“We’ll return to the books presently, but I must also stress that he used to be something of a ladies’ man too… as he was so famous,” Bolaji pointed out. “He knew I was very shy but yet he would introduce ladies to me and encourage them to follow me to my place…with that prodding, authoritative baritone voice of his!”

Talking about books, Bolaji stressed: “As for Qoopane’s books, he published over ten of them, more or less all of them important for historical, scholarly, sociological or journalistic reasons. The books included A poet abroad, The Conference, Macufe 2001 and his favourite work, Reneiloe-Mpho’s story which involved his beloved daughter, now a beautiful young woman. I will give you a full list of his books at the end…”

“To be honest, I would need a book to talk about Mr Qoopane, but let me just stress two other things briefly. Firstly at the latter part of his life he was blessed with a wonderful wife, Mme Emily (a writer herself), who gave him much happiness. Secondly, he was a very versatile, finicky, punctilious writer; he published biographies, fiction, criticism, poetry, general works, and lots more. His departure is horrific for arts and culture”

- Feature by Dan Xangaza


A Poet Abroad
Memoirs of a Cultural Activist
Adventures in Journalism
Reneiloe-Mpho's story
Macufe 2001
Women of Talent
Gilbert Modise: the man and the myth
View from my Window
Omoseye Bolaji: Perspectives on his literary work
The Conference
City of Roses and Literary Icons
Scintillating stars from the vibrant soil