Mokae Latest Distinguished South African at Prestigious Iowa Writing Program

Author of the poetry collection Escaping Trauma and the biography The Story of Sol T. Plaatje. His debut novel in Setswana, Ga Ke Modisa won two national awards; the youth novella Dikeledi [Tears] was launched in 2014 [Photo: Douglas Mthukwane]
Author of the poetry collection Escaping Trauma and the biography The Story of Sol T. Plaatje. His debut novel in Setswana, Ga Ke Modisa won two national awards; the youth novella Dikeledi [Tears] was launched in 2014 [Photo: Douglas Mthukwane]
Nic Mhlongo… Kgebetli Moele…Pieter-Dirk Uy… James Matthews—some of South Africa’s most acclaimed writers have participated in the University of Iowa’s renowned International Writing Program.  Award-winning author Sabata-mpho Mokae becomes the latest to inscribe his name in the rolls, as he joins 28 writers from around the world in the 2014 program. The ten-week residency in America’s heartland unites emerging creative writers for workshops, public presentations, and roundtables with American cultural figures and at literary events across the U.S.

Mokae, originally from Taung and now based in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, is one of South Africa’s most ardent proponents of African-language literature. He writes about social issues that matter to his community, like gender violence, race relations, poverty, and corruption.  He has published several works of poetry and fiction in both English and Setswana, including Ga Ke Modisa [I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper], which won two national awards, and a youth novellaDikeledi [Tears] which was launched earlier this year.  His poetry has appeared in several collaborative works as well as in his own collection,Escaping Trauma. He has a Masters in creative writing from Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Mokae is a familiar name in the Kimberley area through his weekly columns and stories for the Diamond Fields Advertiser newspaper, and he is a recognized authority on the South African literary giant Sol Plaatje.  Founder of the Sol Plaatje Literary Festival, Mokae is also the author of the biography,The Story of Sol T. Plaatje, for which South Africa’s former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe penned the foreword.

The International Writing Program helps participants bring their countries’ literary works to a wider audience and provides them with an opportunity to learn more about American literature. Mokae participates courtesy of the U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town.

For more information see http://iwp.uiowa.edu