Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meet an African: Lebo Mashile

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, 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.


Matt and Vince Spence said...

She appears to be speaking English

bumpster said...

That is a lean yet funky groove.

AQUILOGY said...

She appears to be speaking English
^^2009 and people still have the audacity to make such obnoxious statement*sigh*

First heard of Lebogang Mashile when I saw her show L'Atutude way back in 2003, I've been sort of a fan of hers ever since.

Bafana Madida said...

I won't even comment on the remarks posted - however I admire the lady to the full. I also heard of Ms Mashile whilst she was the presenter on Latitude. I was engulfed by how powerful she comes across and constantly looked forward to the end of the show where she would deliver a mind blowing poem - rif with soul and emotion. I was rather disapponted when the season was at its final and ended however I understand that she has aq journey to fulfill and Latitude was a stepping stone to greater things come for her - and I do say, she has definately achieved magical accomplishments.

I constantly look forward to true love where she publishes her article - my mom has a problem with that. I am always the first to poen the packaging !!! I am Lebo fan - that will not change anytime soon