Mafika Gwala Annual Lecture


Mafika Gwala’s legacy while remembered by an older generation resonates even more louder with a new generation of poets, writers and intellectuals who are inspired by his message that “you cannot divorce language from power”. The theme for this year’s Poetry Africa Festival is “Poetry as a voice for social change”.

Poet, writer and distinguished sociologist, Ari Sitas, who was active in workers’ theatre and the cultural wing of the Congress of South African Writers (COSATU) and now one of the leading figures behind the Insurrection Ensemble, will moderate the panel discussion. 

Sam Moodley is a cultural and political activist in the Black Consciousness Movement and one of the founders of the xxx which played a leading role in establishing the cultural ethos of the BCM in the late 1960 and 70s before the Black Consciousness  Movement was banned. Distinguished award winning author and journalist, Fred Kumalo, was a member of the Mpumalanga Arts Ensemble, which Mafika Gwala started with other activists from his area.

Poet, musician and cultural activist, Eugene Skeef, was one of the founding members of Malopoets before he went into exile and established an independent arts organisation in the United Kingdom (UK). Skeef continues to organise cultural activities in the UK and is working on a  series of projects to keep alive the legacy of the late South African born musician Bheki Mseleku. Bridgit Thompson is a film-maker and activist based in the Western Cape. Writer and columnist for the Sunday Times, Ndumiso Ngcobo, has been working on a biography of his uncle, Mafika Gwala