National Poet Laureate and liberation struggle giant Professor Keorapetse Kgosietsile has passed away.

The 79-year-old Kgosietsile passed away earlier on Wednesday. He is the former husband of Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete with whom he had three children.

As an influential ANC cadre in the 1960’s, he went into exile in the United States where he made an extensive study of African-American literature and culture.

Speaking to the SABC, his lifelong friend Professor Muxe Nkondo who worked with him for over 40 years says Professor Kgositsile will be remembered for his courage to speak his mind.