Natalia Molebatsi, South African Poet

Natalia Molebatsi is a Pan-Africanist cultural worker who has been responsible for introducing the work of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to the post-apartheid generation in South Africa. She has published an award winning book, We Are…A Poetry Anthology, and has sponsored and produced poetry salons with audiences of thousands for over a decade.

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Natalia Molebatsi is a writer and poet (and often experiments with jazz and hip hop). She is an events coordinator, programme director and host of PoetryLives on Unisa Radio. She was born in 1981 in Tembisa Township in apartheid South Africa and now lives under the lights of Johannesburg. Natalia is the author of Sardo Dance published in 2009 by Ge’ko, and her CD Natalia Molebatsi & The Soul Making was born in 2015. Her poetry can also be found in Letter to South Africa: Poets Calling the State to Order, Happiness the Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, New Coin, and the Anthology of World Poetry (2010), among others.

Her academic writing appears in Scrutiny2, Rhodes Journalism Review, and Muziki. Beyond South Africa, Natalia has performed poetry and facilitated creative writing workshops at a number of universities and festivals in among others Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Zimbabwe, England, Italy, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Palestine and Germany. She has been part of the organization of multiple film and music festivals in Senegal and music and arts festivals in Italy, the Netherlands, and Senegal.

Molebatsi has also hosted and organized numerous conferences of academics, artists, and literary figures in South Africa. She has also been critical in the promotion of literary arts in South Africa especially for the generation born after apartheid. Not only this, but Molebatsi has been incredibly attentive to the politics of publishing and been responsible for the publication of numerous South African poets and short story writers. Her position at the UNISA Press was central to that press becoming a signature venue for the scholars, artists, and academics conducting work on the post-apartheid present and the generation of young people exploring South African social identities in South Africa, in Southern Africa, and the meanings of the post-apartheid moment globally.

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2016