Esteemed South African poet and political activist Keorapetse Kgositsile, also the father of rapper Earl Sweatshirt, has passed away at the age of 79. Also known by his pen name, Bra Willie, he scummed to a short illness at a Johannesburg hospital on January 3rd.
Kgositsile became an “instrument of liberation” in the wee days of his teen years due to his experience with apartheid in South Africa through his unforced wisdom of poetic narratives. He became one of the most phonic members of the African National Congress, and such connection leads to his quest of exile to the United States in the early 1960s. The poetic activist gained an abundant amount of scholarship in the states and eventually became a staple in African-American poetry. Hip-hop precursors and iconic Black Arts Movement collective, The Last Poets retrieved their moniker from Kgositsile’s notable My Name is Afrika collection.
He found his revolutionary mark in America through artistic measures which were prominent in Black American culture in the likes of jazz and theater. A frequent jazz club goer, Kgositsile was keen on writing poems for jazz artists, extending his works to class acts in the likes of Nina Simone, B.B. King and Billie Holiday. Formulating and maintaining the black sound of the black man and woman in America, was worthy to the now late Kgositsile.
Keorapetse Kgositsile is survived by his three children, his daughter journalist and fiction writer, Ipeleng and two sons Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future and Randy Mafalanka, who currently resides in Belgium.