POET MUSE: Sandile Dikeni(1966-2019)

Quaz | November 11th, 2019 | poet muses | No Comments

( poet, activist, journalist )

My country is for peace

so says the veld

where reptiles caress

its surface

with elegant motions

glittering in their pride

My country

is for joy

so talk the mountains

with baboons

hopping from boulder to boulder

in the majestic delight

of cliffs and peaks

My country

is for health and wealth

see the blue of the sea

and beneath

the jewels of fish

deep under the bowels of soil


the golden voice

of a miner’s praise

for my country

―Sandile Dikeni

Renowned South African Poet and activist Sandile Dikeni passed away on Saturday the 9th of November 2019.

Born in the central Karoo, in Victoria west Dikeni was the author of three collections of poetry- Guava juice (1992, Mayibuye Books), Telegraph to the sky (2001, UKZN Press) and Planting Water (2007, UKZN Press). In 2002 UKZN Press published a collection of Dikeni’s articles titled Soul fire: Writing the Transition.

Sandile started writing seriously in 1986 while detained for his anti-apartheid activities. He would go on to become a sought after performer at rallies and community meetings. His poetry spoke directly to the Black condition and did not shy away from questioning the hegemonic systems of apartheid.

“Sandile was our poet, our storyteller, our griot, our praise-singer of the revolution that was to come. I can still recall the first time I heard him at the University of Western Cape where we were both students, and where he set the room on fire when he read, for the first time, his now-famous poem, called guava juice,which is what we called that deceptively simple device the petrol bomb…” –Rubi Marks[1]https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-11-sandile-dikeni-poet-and-storyteller-who-burned-with-anger-and-love-and-hope/

After obtaining his journalism diploma from Peninsula Technicon, Dikeni worked as the arts editor of the Cape Times, editor of Die Suid Afrikaan and political editor of This Day South Africa.

Sandile Dikeni was a booming, necessary voice at a time when men and women were killed for whispering. His poem ‘Guava juice’ remains one of the most popular poems to come out of the liberation struggle. A genuine, humble soul, who will be missed by the many his words have touched.

Poetry Potion Salutes you.

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1 https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-11-sandile-dikeni-poet-and-storyteller-who-burned-with-anger-and-love-and-hope/