28/11/2019

Sandile Dikeni (1966–2019)

Blog / By ZAM Reporter

Using his pen as a weapon against injustice and a tool to express his love for life.

The ZAM Team is saddened by the passing of South African poet, journalist and activist Sandile Dikeni at the age of 53. Dikeni suffered from tuberculosis.

In 2001, Dikeni took part in the documentary Korreltjie Niks is my Dood by filmmaker Saskia van Schaik on the South African poet Ingrid Jonker. With his assistance the producers of the documentary managed to trace the sister of a child who was shot by the police and who Jonker attributed a poem to, a poem that became a much quoted protest verse against Apartheid. President Nelson Mandela read this poem in his inaugural speech to the first democratically elected parliament of South Africa.

In the documentary, Dikeni shows the Zulu translation of the poem to the family who was up to then completely unaware of Jonker’s piece. While the sister reads the poem, Dikeni struggles to suppress his tears. “I cannot explain but I do understand what the poem means”, the sister says.

Watch the documentary here.
Check out Ruby Marks’ impressive obituary Sandile Dikeni, poet and storyteller who burned with anger and love and hope.