- Category: PA 2001
Sandile Dikeni was born in Victoria West, North Cape Province in 1966 and studied Law at the University of the Western Cape and Journalism at Peninsula Technikon.
Dikeni was active in the student parliament and served on the SRC at the University of Western Cape. Avidly drawn into the vortex of violent conflict during the mid 1980s, it was during his detention in 1986, that Dikeni discovered the power of poetry as a means to achieve political ends.
Readings in prison and at political and cultural events after his release, such as a public performance in London in 1990, made Dikeni an important poet of freedom.
At the turn of a democratic South Africa, Dikeni worked as a journalist and press spokesman, turning to broader human themes, which he would express in a distinctive style.
Dikeni’s articles have featured in newspapers such as the Cape Times and he has also published collections of poetry, including Guava Juice (1992) and Telegraph to the Sky (2002). Dikeni’s viewpoint on what it is to be human in South Africa has underpinned all his reflections on the society he yearns for. This perspective is reflected in the thought-provoking collection of Dikeni’s prose,Soul Fire: Writing the Transition (2002). With the launch of his latest collection of poetry, Planting Water (2007), Dikeni announced his recovery and return to his craft, after suffering an accident two years prior.
When Dikeni recites his poems in public, he always does it from memory, spontaneously, and with variations on the printed texts.