Sipho Sepamla (1932 - 2007). Poet, novelist and cultural leader.
Sipho Sydney James Sepamla was born on 22 September 1932 in Krugersdorp (now Mogale City), west of Johannesburg, to Moshe and Mamazana Sepamla. He was an only child. He lived most of his life in Soweto and died on 9 January 2007 at the age of 74 at his home in Atlasville, Benoni, survived by his wife, five children and 11 grandchildren.
Sepamla was a cultural activist who was instrumental in the setting up of the Federated Union of Black Artists arts centre, Fuba. He was passionate about literature. and for him, the pen, “like the bomb, could be used in the fight against apartheid and social injustice in general”.
After completing his Junior Certificate at the Tigerkloof Secondary School in Taung, North West, Sepamla went on to train as a teacher at the Kilnerton Training Institution in Pretoria.
As an author he published several volumes of poetry and novels. He published his first volume of poetry, Hurry Up to It!, in 1975. During this period he was active in the Black Consciousness Movement and his 1977 book The Soweto I Love, partly a response to the Soweto Uprising of 16 June 1976, was banned by the apartheid regime. He was a founder of the Federated Union of Black Artists (now the Fuba Academy of Arts) and editor of the literary magazine New Classic and the theatre magazine S'ketsh.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
A member of Medupe Writers Association, a founding member (and for a while director of) the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) (later the Fuba Academy of Arts) and editor of the literary magazine New Classic and the theatre magazine S'ketsh'.
He received the Thomas Pringle Award for his poetry (1977) and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his writing.
In 1996 he won the Moyra Fine award for outstanding contribution to theatrical life in South Africa (Vita Awards (national).
Sowetan, 1 October 1996.
Tribute written by Tiisetso Makube, published in Sunday Times, 14 January 2007.
SA History Online .
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