- Category: PA 2010
Lebogang Mashile has been called the ‘It’ Girl of South African poetry, a wordsmith extraordinaire, a visual verbalist, an icon of modern South African poetry. She is not only a published author, but an executive producer, actress, independent record producer, corporate and independent event MC, life skills facilitator and television series presenter.
Her illustrious career took off in 2002, when she performed at Urban Voices Spoken Word and Music Festival in Newtown, Johannesburg. In the same year, she performed at Robben Island, Cape Town in honor of esteemed writer Chinua Achebe. In 2003, she co-founded the Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective which was the first poetry collective of its kind in South Africa. They performed at the Bassline, Newtown and were part of Poetry Africa 2004.
Lebo debuted as a film actress in the Academy Award nominated Hotel Rwanda, directed by Terry George in 2004. She also toured nationally performing at prestigious events such as Thabo Mbeki’s Presidential Inauguration, and was a nominee for the Daimler Chrysler South African Poetry Awards. She also performed in Bern, Switzerland at the Schlacthaus Festival of South African Contemporary Art and attended the Yarri Yarri Phambari Writers Conference in New York City with writers such as Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Nawal el Saadawi.
Her much-anticipated collection of poetry In A Ribbon of Rhythm (Struik) was published in 2005 and was one of the featured titles for Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign. She self-produced and released an album, Lebo Mashile Live!, which combines poetry with hip-hop, house and R&B.
At present, Lebo is the executive producer and presenter for L’Atitude, a concept of her own creation and she has been touring South Africa as the official spokesperson for the Dawn Nationwide Poetry Competition. She has performed in Vienna, Austria, as part of the Literature Writers Conference; at the Fleur de Cap Award and the Spier Arts Festival in Cape Town; and was a guest speaker on MTV Base with Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Lebo was named by Cosmopolitan as one of South Africa’s Awesome Women of 2005. Hype Magazine sketches her thus: “Her life revolves around words, expression, provoking debate and changing retrogressive mindsets that condone abuse, discrimination and misogyny, amongst other societal vices. Her position as a powerful visual verbalist has gained her national, as well as sizable international, acclaim.”