The first collection to give an overview of the work of poet Keorapetse 'Willie' Kgositsile. The poems, many written in exile, span four decades and explore a wide spectrum of emotions and an earlier need to participate in the struggle to liberate the poet's land of birth. In the stunning and original rhythms of the poems, the subtle influence of jazz and the Setswana language can be felt. The 69 poems have been selected by the poet from six previously published collections, as well as from new work. With one exception (When the clouds clear), all of Kgositsile's earlier collections - among them five of the collections represented here: For Melba, Spirit unchained, My name is Afrika, The present is a dangerous place to live and To the bitter end - were published in the USA and are now out of print. The title was co-published with Snailpress.
Born in 1938, Willie Kgositisile left South Africa in 1961 as one of the first young ANC members to go into exile. He has studied and taught literature at various universities in the United States, East- and Southern Africa. Kgositsile is the recipient of a number of poetry awards, including the Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Poetry Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Poetry Grant (both 1969), the Artists' Public Service Poetry Award (1974) and the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize (2000). Since his return home in 1990, Kgositsile divides his time between Mafikeng and the University of California in Los Angeles.