Keorapetse William Kgositsile. Picture: ANA

Cape Town - The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday also hailed the contributions of internationally renowned writer, activist and revolutionary, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, who died in a Johannesburg hospital earlier in the day. He was 79.

In a statement, the ANC said the tributes pouring in from around the world for the national Poet Laureate, fondly known as Bra Willie, was an indication of the breadth of his influence on young and old alike – and the impact of his work.

"Comrade Kgositsile has left an indelible mark on the cultural and artistic life of not only the land of his birth, but also of Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia and Harlem, New York," the party said. 

Read more: Poet and political activist Bra Willie dies at 79

The ANC said Kgositsile was an ANC stalwart who dedicated his life to the liberation of South Africa, and that he was a founding member of the ANC’s Department of Education in 1977 and Department of Arts and Culture in 1983.

"A prolific and celebrated writer and poet, he was bestowed with the Order of Ikhamanga in 2008. During his time in the United States he wrote extensively on the influence of jazz music on African-American culture and on the unity of the African diaspora. He was a passionate pan-Africanist whose work was infused with his commitment to the ideal of a free, prosperous and united African continent."

"The tapestry of South African cultural life is all the poorer at his loss and the ANC joins all South Africans in mourning the passing of this great man."

The ANC called on government to forge ahead with its quest to make more African literature available in the country's schools in order to expose new generations of South Africans to the works of Bra Willie and many others. 

The ANC extended its condolences to the Kgositsile family and wished them strength during this difficult time. 

"Hamba Kahle Bra Willie; legend, patriot, revolutionary."

African News Agency/ANA