Photographer: Iskeem Semincibi
Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright and theatre director.
Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia has taken the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 9th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. It was recently awarded the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. The collection was named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It has been translated into Spanish and released in Madrid by Flores Rara. A German translation is forthcoming from Wunderhorn Publishing House later this year, and a Danish translation will be published by Rebel with a Cause in Denmark in 2020
Her theatre works include UHM (2014) Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8), her theatre plays for young audiences include Ekhaya (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 month old.
Putuma was recently appointed as creative director for the 2019 Design Indaba Conference, She is a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwrighting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, CASA playwrighting award and the 2019 Distell Playwrighting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers, which will also be published by Junketts later this year. She has been named one of the young pioneers who took South Africa by storm by The Sunday Times, one of 12 future shapers by Marie Claire SA, the groundbreaking new voice of South African poetry by OkayAfrica, and one of 100 young people disrupting the status-qou in South Africa by independent media.