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11 November 2019
UWC mourns the passing of celebrated poet, Sandile Dikeni

(Published - 11 November 2019)

Sandile Dikeni was born in Victoria West in 1966. His father was tortured by the Special Branch in the early 1960s for his role in Poqo-PAC.

Sandile started reciting poems when he was detained without trial in Victor Verster prison and Lwandle police station. He became Cape Town's most popular poet during the 1980s struggle. Huge crowds of thousands would cheer his poems at UDF-ANC rallies, always asking for encores of "Guava Juice" and "The Spear". He was the People's Poet.

Sandile started studying at WIts, then at UWC, where he was elected to our SRC. Political activism interrupted his studies, but he graduated with a National Diploma in Journalism at Pentech, today called CPUT.

During the 1990s Sandile was appointed Cape Times Arts editor, Die Suid Afrikaan editor, and later as political editor of ThisDay SA. He was an astute commentator of politics. 

His first poetry collection, "Guava Juice", was published by the Mayibuye Centre at UWC in 1992. His next poetry collection was "Telegraph to the Sky" in 2002. His newspaper columns were published in the same year as "Soul Fires: Writing the Transition".

During 2005, when Sandile was the spokesperson for the Housing minister, he was the sole survivor of a car crash which killed four other people. He was in a coma for months, and suffered permanent, severe brain injuries. He passed away from his third bout of TB at the weekend. Sandile is survived by his sister, Nomonde, and his brother, Charles.

The University of the Western Cape is mourning the passing of Mr Dikeni and sends its condolences to his family. A memorial service will be held at 19h00 on Monday, 17 November at the Chimurenga Factory, 157 Victoria Road, Woodstock. His funeral service will be held on 23 November in Khayelitsha, Z-Section.