South Africa: Sandile Dikeni, Poet and Storyteller Who Burned With Anger and Love and Hope


Sandile Dikeni died on Sunday, November 10, 2019. A student anti-apartheid activist, he went on to rock the establishment with his poetic words in a career that included being arts editor at the Cape Times and political editor at This Day.

Say his name: Sandile Dikeni. Child of the Karoo. Beacon of the Oppressed. Poet of the People.

I woke up to the news that Sandile Dikeni, a poet and wordsmith who reflected the zeitgeist of our anti-apartheid struggle, who went on to write about our difficult transition into democracy while working for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and bore witness to all that remained and still has to be resolved, has passed through.

Oh, what a life he had lived. This boy, born into a poor household in the dry and barren landscape of Victoria West in the Karoo, literally known as the "place of thirst" by our Khoi ancestors. And where the unforgiving landscape was shaped in its contours by race, poverty, exclusion. And with a personal history that must have seared his soul and burned deep scars into his psyche.

In a 1996 Mark Gevisser article, Sandile spoke about his father who was falsely accused during apartheid...

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