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Koleka Putuma

Mawande Sobethwa

Koleka Putuma (b 1993, South Africa) is a performance poet, playwright and theatre director based in Cape Town.

In 2017, her debut poetry collection, Collective Amnesia, achieved bestseller status and went on to receive the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. It is currently in its ninth print run.

Putuma has been a South African National Poetry Slam champion, and was also recognised with a place on Forbes’ Africa ‘30 Under 30’ list. She has been described as “the groundbreaking new voice of South African poetry” by OkayAfrica, which singled out her “uncompromising fearlessness” for praise. 

A translation of her debut poetry collection into Danish is forthcoming, following previous translations into Spanish and German.

Koleka Putuma uses her work to confront the difficult and sometimes taboo issues of Black people in South Africa. Her aim is to heal through this exploration. And she doesn’t care if she offends you in the process…

OkayAfrica on Koleka Putuma

Her poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing.

Forbes on Koleka Putuma, in the ‘Africa 30 Under 30’ issue
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