Mjele Msimang is a writer, educator & photographer living in Tshwane, South Africa. Their poetry work has been long-listed in the Sol Plaatje Poetry Anthology 2018, and the poem “Born(e) to the Grave” appears in the recently published “Years of Fire and Ash: South African Poems of Decolonisation”.

 

Mjele is a strong believer in the spoken word space as a way to further the oral tradition, to push against the confines of silence and elaborate the unsaid through physicality. As such, they took part in the prestigious Word N Sound Slam in 2018 and the Tshwane Speak Out Loud Competition in 2019, positioning as a finalist in both competitions. In 2020, their goal of winning a slam finally came to fruition when they won the Poetry Africa Slam Jam.

 

They recently performed at Constitutional Hill at the Basha Uhuru Festival and make appearances here and there in the South Africa open mic space. They were a guest on the late Myesha Jenkins’ show Living with Jazz and Poetry. They appeared on the show again shortly after her passing to speak to the new host Quaz Roodt. Mjele is also a professional editor and proofreader, who works closely with the established impepho press publishing house. Mjele’s work explores gender, sexuality, abolition and freedom.