Mongane Wally Serote
Mongane Wally Serote was born in Sophia Town, Johannesburg in 1944. He was drawn to poetry and writing towards the end of his high-school career following his connection to the ‘Township’ or ‘Soweto Poets’, a literary group involved in the development of Black Consciousness and who produced creative works which centred around themes of political activism, and featured images or revolt and resistance. He was arrested by the apartheid government in 1969 under the Terrorism Act, following which he spent 9 months within solitary confinement. He was later released without charge, and went on to obtain a fine arts degree in New York at Columbia University in 1979. For a time he was unable to return to South Africa due to exile, and so he began living in Botswana and London, where he became involved with the Medu Arts Ensemble. He is the recipient of the 1993 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, and was also given the Pablo Neruda Award from the Chilean government in 2004.