Tributes continue to pour in for National Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile.
Kgositsile died at the Milpark hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday at the age of 79 after a long illness.
He is the former husband of Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete with whom he had three children.
As an influential African National Congress (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.
South African poet Lebo Mashile has described Kgositsile as a master of poetry.
“I met Kgosietsile as a poet and I had read his work, I admired him deeply. By the time I shared a platform with him I was like this man is a rock-star, he is a poetry god in my eyes. He was a father to me, a mentor, a friend, genuine template for what you can do with a creative life,”says Mashile.
Publisher, Raks Seakgwa, who has worked with Kgosietsile for many years, says he will be missed for his wisdom.
“Bra Willie was a rounded individual, a poet, a political activist, a soldier, a teacher. Conversations with bra Willie will be about anything and everything around particularly arts, culture and heritage with specific emphasis on the literary arts but also politically. We will miss him dearly, particularly his wisdom, ”says Seakgwa.
[Watch] Prof. Kgositsile was a founding member of the ANC’s Department of Education
It is with great sadness that we have learnt of Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile’s passing. He was with us just the other day at Abantu Book Festival & his event -which was his last ever- was one of those the audience wished would never end. RIP National Poet Laureate. #NoSerenityHere pic.twitter.com/nGNCt4v3Yu
— Abantu Book Festival (@Abantu_) January 3, 2018
In the 1950’s Prof Kgositsile discovered a book by African American writer Richard Wright published in 1945 titled “Black Boy”, which went on to greatly influence Prof Kgositsile and helped him realise that he did not have to be a typical English writer. pic.twitter.com/rvFIbVJsiD
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) January 3, 2018
Keorapetse Kgositsile has departed.
— Mathanda (@MathandaNcube) January 3, 2018
comrades and friends, it is with a heavy heart to inform you about the sad news of the passing Prof William Keorapetse Kgositsile, Bra Willie, the National Poet Laureate and a giant of our struggle for liberation. #RIPProf pic.twitter.com/Feu7nGHgM3
— ANC Greater Johannesburg Region (@ANCJHB) January 3, 2018
— EFF (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 3, 2018