Lebo Mashile

Lebo Mashile

An award-winning writer, performer, producer, actress and activist, Lebo Mashile is a South African household name who is most recognizable for her lyrical and gutsy poetry which has captivated audiences in 28 countries worldwide. Mashile is a sought after social and political commentator, speaker, and master of ceremonies whose infectious enthusiasm is infused into every platform she has touched over the last 20 years.
Mashile graced South African television screens for 14 years as a presenter of shows such as L’atitude (SABC1), Drawing The Line (SABC2), and Great Expectations (Etv). To date, the poet has authored two books. Her poetry collection In A Ribbon of Rhythm (2005) won the 2006 NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa. In 2008, Mashile published her second collection Flying Above the Sky. In 2017, Mashile released her second studio album titled, Moya, in collaboration with singer/songwriter Majola. Her first studio album, Lebo Mashile Live! was produced in 2006. The poet is currently working on her third collection of poems, due out later this year, with Blackbird Books.

Mashile is also an actress who has appeared in the Academy Award nominated film Hotel Rwanda as well as several stage productions.
Her theatre acting credits include the stage adaptations of K. Sello Duiker’s the Quiet Violence of Dreams and Pamela Nomvete’s Ngiyadansa, as well as Threads, a fusion of poetry and contemporary dance.

She is a commissioned writer who regularly creates work for a wide-ranging list of clients including fellow artists, public institutions and corporates alike.  

2019 saw her debut an original theatrical piece on the life of Saartjie Baartman, the Venus Hottentot, titled Venus vs. Modernity which was staged in Johannesburg at the Market Theatre and in Amsterdam, Holland. The production has been nominated for 5 Naledi Awards, South Africa’s premier theatre awards, for 2020. For the past three years, she has been a voice over artist for CNN’s Inside Africa.

Mashile is a mother of two and in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Below please find a few links to various examples of Mashile’s work:

  • December, 2018: TedXEuston, London https://youtu.be/q_73IDC9G8c
  • October, 2018: Lagos International Poetry Festival https://youtu.be/jQ4q1TZkMhE
  • May, 2018: Oslo Freedom Forum https://youtu.be/7w3IkAUQ2q0
  • April, 2018: Requiem for Winnie - This is a televised recording of an original poem written after the death of Winnie Mandela. The price was recorded at Constitution Hill, a former colonial and apartheid prison which has been transformed into the seat for South Africa’s highest court. The poem was broadcast on eNCA, South Africa’s largest news network, on the day of Winnie Mandela’s funeral. https://youtu.be/h5RB0Hlrje4
  • 2018: Hyundai Creta television advert: https://youtu.be/68mztwImARs
  • 2016: Poetry Performance at The Gathering - This is a 15-minute performance of poetry which took place at The Gathering, an annual platform where thought leaders, politicians, and artists, debate their views on topical South African political issues. This performance took place six days before the arrival of Mashile’s second child. https://youtu.be/BwoBqdAWC_g
  • 2014: The Big Debate - This is a link to an appearance that I did on a social justice town hall television debate show called The Big Debate. Each season of this show is watched by 10 million people in South Africa. The clip I am sharing is from an episode on racism where I was invited to speak both as a guest and also to perform my poetry. My clip went viral on different social media platforms, both at home and internationally. To date, it is the most watched online excerpt of this show. http://financialjuneteenth.com/watch-whites-and-blacks-in-south-africa-d...


Monique Wilson
Hope Masike
Sara Curruchich
Lebo Mashile
iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ
Rosa Chávez | k’iche’
Liza Jessie Peterson
Be Steadwell
Nona Hendryx
Angela Davis
Divinity Roxx
Sophia Ramos
Joy Harjo