National Poet Laureate and political activist dead at 79

2018-01-03 16:58

Johannesburg – Poet and political activist Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile has died at the age of 79.

Affectionately known as "Bra Willie", the liberation struggle stalwart with a broad smile died after fighting a short illness at Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital on Wednesday morning.

Family spokesperson, Terry Fowler, told News24 that Kgositsile had undergone surgery after suffering from circulatory problems.

Kgositsile had the prestigious order of Ikhamanga bestowed upon him by then acting President Kgalema Motlanthe in 2008.

The presidential honour is granted for achievements within, but not limited to literature, music, arts, and culture.

The celebrated poet was prominent in literature circles and could be seen at literature and arts developments events such as the Jozi Book Fair, Abantu Book Festival, and poetry sessions such as those hosted by Cape Town based InZync Poetry in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.

The national Poet Laureate is also the former husband of National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, having married her in 1978. He is also the father of American rapper, producer and former member of hip hop group Odd Future, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile who goes by the stage name Earl Sweatshirt.


Fowler told News24 that funeral arrangements would be communicated at a later stage.

"We are still in the process of planning given the wide circle of friends and colleagues that he had," said Fowler.

Kgositsile is survived by his wife, seven children and well as several grandchildren.

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