Lebo Mashile

Poet / Performer

Based: Johannesburg

Popular poet, performer, actress, presenter and producer Lebogang Mashile‘s hip-hop inspired poetry has been inspiring a large audience in South Africa and beyond since 2002.

Career highlights include a role in the Oscar nominated film “Hotel Rwanda”, and performing at the inauguration of former president Thabo Mbeki. Lebo was also the presenter and producer of the television programme “L’Atitude”, a series which reached an audience of over two million households and went on to be nominated for two South African Film and Television Awards.

Her lyrical and gutsy poems in the collection “A Ribbon of Rhythm” (2005) speak about life in the new South Africa. Issues such as the diversity and unity of the “Rainbow Nation”, the status of women, violence and the fragility of individuals are all treated with a sense of urgency, humour and at times with melancholy and a certain rawness. Mashile’s self-produced album “Lebo Mashile Live!” combines her performance poetry with hip-hop, house and R&B.

Mashile’s written views and opinions have been published in City Press, O magazine (South Africa), Ymag, True Love magazine and Mail & Guardian, and she is often invited to offer social commentary on a wide range of issues in the South African media.  She has also featured on numerous covers of South African entertainment and lifestyle magazines and enjoyed significant coverage throughout all South African media.

She has appeared beyond South Africa, to date in Kenya, Austria, Germany, Cuba, Jamaica, Ireland, Zimbabwe, the United States, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Britain, Mozambique, Algeria, Malawi and Switzerland.

RELEASES, WORKS, PERFORMANCES AND PRODUCTIONS

  • In March of 2010, In a Ribbon of Rhythm, Mashile’s first award winning collection of poetry was published in Germany in translation.
  • “Flying Above the Sky” (June 2008) – her second anthology, dealing with Mashile’s signature themes of gender, identity, spirituality, love and sociopolitical conditions in South Africa.
  • Mashile co-wrote  ‘Threads’, a fusion of poetry, music and dance, created in celebration of Moving Into Dance Mophatong’s 30th anniversary. In July of 2009, ‘Threads’ was staged at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and Mashile was bestowed with the honour of being the keynote speaker at the National Schools Festival. In 2010, ‘Threads’ was performed in Zimbabwe at the Harare international Festival of the Arts and in Durban at the Jomba Dance Festival.
  • Wrote the ‘The State of the Nation’ address for Mail & Guardian in 2009, a parallel commentary to the president’s annual highly anticipated address.
  • Performed at the opening of Parliament
  • performed for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Mahlambandlovu, the presidential guesthouse.
  • In November of 2009, Mashile participated in Beyond Words, a ground – breaking, cross-generational fusion of South African poetry that travelled to six cities in England. Mashile performed alongside celebrated South African poets Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, Dr. Don Mattera, and the Poet Laureate of South Africa, Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile.
  • The year closed with Mashile performing for more than 200 million people worldwide at the FIFA World Cup Draw
  • In 2003 she co-founded the “Feel a Sistah!” Spoken Word Collective alongside Myesha Jenkins, Ntsiki Mazwai and Napo Masheane, which rapidly gained widespread popularity.
  • Presenter of ‘Drawing the Line’, a game show on SABC2 that examines the moral fibre of South Africa. In 2010, the show’s second season was nominated for a South African Film and Television Award.
  • In 2009 and 2010, Mashile was a judge for the Sunday Times Literary Awards in the fiction category, the most prestigious literary prize in South Africa.
  • Her soul-stirring poetry can be heard every week on Kaya FM’s ‘Soul Inspired’ 
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