This year I plan to shine a light on some notable Africans. If you consume mainstream media, you realize that the creative and intellectual life of African nations is almost entirely hidden from us. And that sucks.
So let’s talk about spoken word. While the entire planet has embraced the aesthetics and dialectics of hip-hop, American-style performance poetry hasn’t spread quite so conspicuously.
Except in South Africa, where a spoken-word scene is flourishing.
Lebo Mashile, a month shy of 30 years old, is a television personality and an actress. (She portrayed Odette Nyiramilimo in the movie “Hotel Rwanda.”) She is also one of South Africa’s leading performance poets.
On my Vox blog, I’m streaming a couple of tracks from Ms. Mashile’s 2005 CD “Lebo Mashile Live!” (I purchased it from OneWorld.co.za, my sole source for South African music.)
Click here to hear “I Like It Deep Sometimes.” Apart from Lebo’s poetry, you have got to hear the groove her live band puts down.
Click here to hear “Tell Your Story.”
I’m also streaming a brief excerpt from an interview Mashile did last year on South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio. To listen, click here.