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Poet Profile: Xabiso Vili 

Quaz | Sep 20th, 2017 | poet profile | No Comments

Xabiso Vili is an author, performer, TEDx speaker and social activist, born in the Eastern Cape, raised all over South Africa and currently working in the City of Tshwane. He is the Pretoria Spoken Sessions Slam League Champion of 2015/16 and the Speak Out Loud Youth Poetry Competition Champion of 2015.

He has represented the Eastern Cape in the Lover + Another Regional Poetry Slam of 2011 and, in 2013, he won the Gauteng Regional Slam coming in 3rd at the National Slam. Recently coming third in the 2017 National league after standing head and shoulders above the other Gauteng competitors. Xabiso was the Word N Sound poet of the year for two years running in 2014 and 2015 and came 2nd in the first Current State of Poetry One on One league slam of 2016.

Xabiso has also been invited to speak and perform on platforms such as Hello Ambassador and Goethe Institut’s Literary Crossroads. Xabiso has also been published online and in various anthologies including SACE High School Anthologies (‘08, ‘09 and ‘10), Black Communion, Poetry Potion, Badilisha Poetry X-Change, Sky and Dust and most recently, Myesha Jenkins’To Breathe Into Another Voice and released his first collection of poems, Laughing In My Father’s Voice in August of 2018.

He is an internationally acclaimed poet having performed all over South Africa, as well as in Scotland, the UK, the U.S and toured his one-man show Black Boi Be through India and his Re/Member Your Descendants tour of America was highly praised.

One of Gauteng’s top poets, he uses his writings to help him explore his inner world so as to be able to relate to the outer world. His work as a workshop facilitator enables others to access a similar experience. Writing has assisted in producing other award-winning writers and performers. He strongly believes that art has a positive influence on the community and thus is persistently working towards creating alternative spaces and stages for art to be shared in innovative ways. He is currently involved in researching and creating a methodology for how the process of writing can be used as a tool for therapy and healing. He has also worked with various abandoned spaces in Pretoria and converted them into art hubs.

During the South African Covid-19 lockdown period, Xabiso has performed and run various workshops online. He also started the #CovidPoetryCypher, which brings a long list of contemporary poets to perform under the same hashtag on Facebook and is also creating various Masterclass videos on the craft of poetry.

He has released his African contemporary lounge and spoken word fusion album; Eating My Skin, created in collaboration with the Favela Ninjas in 2016 to great reviews which he has performed at festivals such as OppiKoppi and Smoking Dragon.

Having won the Digital Lab Africa Web Creation prize in 2019, Xabiso is now working on an XR poetry-audio-visual project and will spend 2020 working on Re/Member Your Descendants, a digital art exhibition, which will be exhibited in Paris in 2021.

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