Famous South African Poets

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 1 
Keorapetse Kgositsile
(Poet, Journalist, Political activist)
Keorapetse Kgositsile
11
Birthdate: September 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: January 3, 2018

Keorapetse Kgositsile was a South African Tswana journalist, poet, and political activist. During the 1960s and 1970s, Kgositsile played an important role in the development of the African National Congress. Keorapetse Kgositsile helped bridge the gap between black poetry in the United States of America and African poetry. He was inaugurated as the nation's National Poet Laureate in 2006.

 2 
Zindzi Mandela
(Diplomat)
Zindzi Mandela
6
Birthdate: December 23, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 13, 2020

Zindzi Mandela was a South African poet and diplomat best known as the daughter of the famous anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela. From 1996 to 1998, she also served as a temporary First Lady of South Africa. Over the years, she has been portrayed in films and TV films, such as Mrs Mandela (2009), Invictus (2009), and Mandela (1987).

 3 
Breyten Breytenbach
(Poet and painter known for his opposition to apartheid, and consequent imprisonment by the South African government)
Breyten Breytenbach
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bonnievale, South Africa
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 4 
Ingrid Jonker
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Douglas, South Africa
Died: July 19, 1965
 5 
John Langalibalele Dube
(South African Essayist, Novelist, Poet and Founding President of the South African Native National Congress)
John Langalibalele Dube
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1871
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Died: February 11, 1946

John Langalibalele Dube was a South African essayist, philosopher, politician, publisher, educator, editor, novelist, and poet. He served as the president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) from 1912 to 1917. He felt strongly about human rights and founded the Inanda Seminary Institute for Girls. He was passionate about encouraging black people to launch their own businesses. 

 6 
Robert Calvert
(Former writer, musician principally known for his role as lyricist, performance poet and lead vocalist of the space rock band Hawkwind)
Robert Calvert
4
Birthdate: March 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa
Died: August 14, 1988

Better known as the resident poet of the space rock band Hawkwind, Robert Calvert was born in South Africa and later moved to England with his family. Initially a building surveyor, he later joined the counterculture movement of the late ‘60s. He is best remembered for songs such as Urban Guerrilla.

 7 
Roy Campbell
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1901
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa
Died: April 23, 1957
 8 
André Brink
(South African Novelist, Essayist and Poet Best Known for His Novel ‘A Dry White Season')
André Brink
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vrede, South Africa
Died: February 6, 2015

André Brink was a South African essayist, novelist, and poet. Brink used both English and Afrikaans to write. He also worked at the University of Cape Town where he taught English. In the 1960s, Brink played a significant role in a literary movement called Die Sestigers, which sought to use Afrikaans to speak against the apartheid regime.

 9 
Dennis Brutus
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harare, Zimbabwe
Died: December 26, 2009
 10 
Mazisi Kunene
2
Birthdate: May 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa
Died: August 11, 2006
 11 
Tumi Molekane
(Rapper, Poet)
Tumi Molekane
1
Birthdate: August 16, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tanzania
 12 
William Plomer
(South African-British Novelist, Poet and Literary Editor Known for Editing the Diaries of Francis Kilvert)
William Plomer
3
Birthdate: December 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Transvaal, South Africa
Died: September 20, 1973

Born in South Africa, British author William Plomer created controversy with his very first novel, Turbott Wolfe, which had some white characters as villains. His works include poetry, novels, memoirs, short stories, and opera librettos, too. He had also earned awards such as the Costa Book Award.

 13 
Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi
(Known for His Works Which Are Regarded as Instrumental in Standardising the Grammar of 'Isixhosa')
Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
Died: July 29, 1945

The father of Xhosa poetry, Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi was a poet and novelist whose works reflected his love for Xhosa history. His works include biblical tales such as U-Samson and poetry collections such as Inzuzo. He added a few stanzas to Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, the national anthem of several African countries.

 14 
Benedict Wallet Vilakazi
(South African Novelist)
Benedict Wallet Vilakazi
3
Birthdate: January 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: KwaDukuza, South Africa
Died: October 26, 1947

Zulu poet and novelist Benedict Wallet Vilakazi went down in history as the first Black from South Africa to earn a PhD. Initially a teacher, he assisted in compiling a Zulu-English dictionary and also spent most of his life in developing the Zulu language and research and teaching associated with it.

 15 
C. Louis Leipoldt
2
Birthdate: December 28, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Worcester, South Africa
Died: April 12, 1947
Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vryheid, South Africa
 17 
Totius
(Poet)
Totius
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1877
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paarl, Cape Province, South Africa
Died: July 1, 1953
 18 
Uys Krige
(Writer)
Uys Krige
1
Birthdate: February 4, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bontebokskloof, South Africa
Died: August 10, 1987
 19 
Jack Cope
(Novelist)
Jack Cope
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: South Africa
Died: May 1, 1991
 20 
Guy Butler
2
Birthdate: January 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cradock, South Africa
Died: April 26, 2001
 21 
F.T. Prince
1
Birthdate: September 13, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kimberley, South Africa
Died: August 7, 2003
 22 
D. F. Malherbe
(Novelist)
D. F. Malherbe
1
Birthdate: May 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paarl, South Africa
Died: April 12, 1969
William Wellington Gqoba
0
Birthdate: 1840
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Africa
Died: April 26, 1888
 24 
John Eppel
1
Birthdate: September 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lydenburg, South Africa