Keorapetse William Kgositsile (19 September 1938 – 3 January 2018), also known by his pen name Bra Willie, was one of the most internationally acclaimed and widely published South African poets. Some of his work has been translated into many languages. His poetry collections include My Name is Afrika, The Present is a Dangerous Place to Live, Heartprints, When the Clouds Clear, To the Bitter End, If I Could Sing, This Way I Salute You. He has been the recipient of a number of literary awards including the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Harlem Cultural Council Poetry Award, the Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Poetry Award, the Herman Charles Bosman Prize. In 2008 he was awarded the National Order of Ikhamanga: Silver (OIS). He was awarded the degree Doctor of Literature and Philosophy (DLitt et Phil) (honoris causa) by UNISA in 2012. He was inaugurated as South Africa’s National Poet Laureate in 2006 by the wRite associates in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture.
Kgositsile has worked in various structures and departments of the African National Congress (ANC). In exile he was a founding member of the ANC’s Department of Arts and Culture and that of Education. He was also the Chairperson of the Regional Political Committee in Zimbabwe. In Botswana he worked in the underground structures of the Political/Military Council (PMC). He is a founding member of the ANC Veterans League and was a member of the ANC National Centenary Task Team and was a Special Adviser to the Minister of Arts and Culture.
He has taught at a number of universities in the United States and in Africa including the University of Denver, Wayne State University, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and the universities of Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Fort Hare.
In pursuance of this need to celebrate this icon, the wRite associates, the premier literary art, strategy development and project management agency, conceptualised and established the Keorapetse Kgositsile Annual Lecture, and inaugurated it in partnership with and at the National Library of South Africa on 21st September 2013.
The inaugural keynote speaker was Mr Pallo Jordan, with Prof Muxe Nkondo as the respondent.
The 2nd Keorapetse Kgositsile Annual Lecture was presented and hosted by the wRite associates and the University of South Africa (UNISA), at the Miriam Makeba Hall, UNISA Tshwane Campus, on 19th September 2014.
The main speaker is Prof Muxe Nkondo and Ms Gail Smith will be the respondent.
The 3rd Keorapetse Kgositsile Annual Lecture was also presented and hosted by the wRite associates and the University of South Africa (UNISA), at the Bamboo Lecture Hall, Kgorong Building, UNISA Tshwane Campus, on 19th October 2017, Delivered by Prof Andries Oliphant.
Our country, indeed, our Continent, deservedly take pride in having birthed a world renowned author, scholar and activist of note in Prof Kgositsile.
It is thus imperative that such wealth of legacy is properly archived in the world’s annals of history and made available to the current and generations to come.