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Keorapetse Kgositsile: A Life in Quotes

Keorapetse Kgositsile: A Life in Quotes

On 3 January 2018, Keorapetse Kgositsile died after a short illness. Kgositsile was a South African poet laureate and political activist.

Below are some of his greatest quotes:

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“I suppose it goes back to one thing: to play with language [when asked about the relationship between art and activism, meaning, him being both a writer and a political activist]… It shouldn’t just be a question of what to say but how to say it.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile, Kalamazoo College, 15 October 2014.

“After exile, I realized there are advantages of poetry, of poems. For those of us banned by the apartheid regime that is almost like being exiled to silence. Because poetry can be memorized, can be passed around orally, it rendered the banning irrelevant. When I returned home, I found there were some younger poets who welcomed me in different parts of the country by reciting my work.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile, Kalamazoo College, 15 October 2014.

“[When asked what would freedom in South Africa look like] For me it would be when there is no exploitation of any one group of people by another. It would be when capitalism is a way of the past because I think it should be clear to us that unless we change the economic system, which determines social relations, we’ll always have problems. If we continue along a capitalist path, it means we are saying the majority of the people will remain exploited and how do we talk of freedom then? So for me, it would be without that kind of environment; we would have created a new one, in which case then we’d be able to laugh and celebrate life.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile, Kalamazoo College, 15 October 2014.

“What you know is merely a point of departure. So let’s move.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile, Writers Write, 19 September 2014.

“All things come to pass‚ when they do. If they do. All things come to an end. Whenthey do.” – Keorapetse Kgositsile, Writers Write, 19 September 2014.

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