An Open Letter to TEDxStellenbosch by KOLEKA PUTUMA

Whiteness (as in white fragility) shows its colours at Stellenbosch again… How can we not problematise such things? I commend Koleka Putuma, one of the greatest young poets in South Africa at this point, for calling this out… We must stand strong, and call out such things out. Stellenbosch is suffocating for anyone who isn’t white, student movements such as Open Stellenbosch have been saying this, and have been trying to break this. Koleka’s poem “water”, which she refers to in her post here, is an amazing piece… and it needs to be heard, read, and felt!

Word N Sound Live Literature Movement


Dear TEDxStellenbosch Organisers

I trust this finds you we

I am writing to you concerning your request to publish my TEDx talk with the exclusion of my last poem “WATER”. The talk, which was filmed at the TEDxStellenbosch “Think. Experience. Discover Africa” event on 05 September 2015, consisted of three of my poems which were all selected to begin a dialogue around the event’s theme, and draw attention to a movement such as #LUISTER which was and should have been at the centre of the town’s focus and conversation (including the TEDx event).  My form of articulating thoughts or ideas is through the spoken word medium. When invited to give a talk in the form of my preferred medium: poems, there was no conversation about the kinds of poem(s) I was permitted or not permitted to share. Prior to the event I emailed one of your team members an outline…

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