- Category: PA 2009
Lesego Rampolokeng (1965), belongs to the "Children of Soweto" generation, and was part of the Black Consciousness Movement demonstrations against apartheid. He grew up and still lives in Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg, establishing a writing and performing lifestyle with original rap and blues poems. His early work reflects influences from diverse sources: the reggae of dub Caribbean poets, like Linton Kwesi Johnson, the strident political rap of North Americans such as Gil Scot-Heron, street poetry, as well as elements from talking dithoko songs, stemming from seSotho traditions. Increasingly Rampolokeng has emerged from being labeled the "enfant- terrible angry- voice" and his incisive bitter-sweet bite has made this wordsmith one of the most widely sought after of South Africa’s contemporary poets on stages around the world.
Sometimes called a city poet, Rampolokeng comments on in-your-face existence with a rhythmically crafted mix of subtleness and brazen bravado.
Sometimes called a city poet, Rampolokeng comments on in-your-face existence with a rhythmically crafted mix of subtleness and brazen bravado. ‘One measure of a poet is what he is prepared to take on, and Rampolokeng is prepared to take on everything: history, politics, religion, war, economics, obscenity, consumerism, silliness, sexual hypocrisy and his own contradictions…He embarrasses people whenever he opens his mouth, one of the time-honoured functions of the poet. The listener is not sure whether he/she is being insulted or entertained, but maybe, because of this uncertainty, starts, possibly, hopefully, to think’ (Berold/Sunday Independent).
On the relationship between performing and publication he has this to say: "I’ve always tried to tread the midline between the word in motion, the word free – I mean without bounds – and the written word. I’ve always tried in a way to marry the two: tried to make poetry that would leave a smudge on the page as it would on the stage." (New Coin)
Horns for Hondo, Cosaw (Johannesburg), 1991
Talking Rain, Cosaw (Johannesburg), 1993
End Beginnings, CD/MC Shifty Music (Pretoria), 1993
Rap Master Supreme - Word Bomber in the Extreme: Lesego Rampolokeng; texts and an interview, edited and translated into German by Thomas Brückner, 1996
Bavino Sermons, UNP Press, 1999