Lebogang Mashile

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Lebogang Mashile (1979- ). Writer, performer, life-skills facilitator and actress.

Also known as Lebo Mashile.


Born to exiled South African parents in the United States of America in 1979. The family returned to South Africa in the mid-1990s after the first democratic elections in the country. She currently lives in Johannesburg with her son.


She attended the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to study law and international relations, but found herself drawn to the arts.


She caught the public eye at the turn of the century with her hip-hop inspired poetry. Mashile captured a large audience and was soon a household name. In March 2003, Mashile and fellow women poets Myesha Jenkins, Ntsiki Mazwai and Napo Masheane founded Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective, the first poetry collective of its kind in South Africa. In 2004 they created and performed This is Not An Intellectual Experience.

In 2005 Mashile published her first anthology of poems titled In a ribbon of rhythm, her second anthology, Flying above the sky, was published in 2008. From 2007 to 2008, Mashile wrote a column titled "In her shoes" for True Love Magazine.

She has also recorded live poetry performances, one of which - combined with hip-hop, house music and R&B - resulted in the album, Lebo Mashile Live.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance


Mashile appeared in a number of theatre productions as actress and performance poet. Productions include Threads (a fusion of dance, music and poetry) staged at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

In 2003 she appeared in Roses and Angels, directed by Pamela Nomvete and written by Reshoketswe Maredi, a groundbreaking play focused on mental health in South African communities.

She contributed with her poetry to a performance of Ngiyadansa in 2015 and in 2019 wrote and performed in Venus vs Modernity.


In 2004 Mashile made her first feature film appearance in Hotel Rwanda.

Radio and television

Her first appearance as a presenter was on the SABC documentary series L'Attitude (which she also co-produced.).

Later she presented Great Expectations, a show about pregnancy and motherhood. She is also an ambassador for the Film and Publication Board's Say NO to child pornography campaign.

Awards, etc

Named one of the top 100 youths in South Africa in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Her poetry earned her the prestigious Noma Award for publishing in Africa, and in 2012 she was named one of the top 100 South Africans by New African Magazine.


Profiles:8 South African Women Writers in African Writing Online[1]


Lebo Mashile in South African History Online[2]

Go to South African Theatre/Bibliography

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