Lewis Nkosi dies

07 September 2010 - 14:24 By Sapa

Writer, composer and journalist Lewis Nkosi has died at the age of 73, the communications company, wRite Associates says.

It said he died on Sunday after a long illness.

Starting his career as a journalist at the Zulu-language newspaper Ilanga lase Natal, Nkosi joined Drum magazine in the early 1950s.

When he received a Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University in 1960, he was forced to leave South Africa on a one-way exit permit, exiling him from his country of birth for the next 31 years.

He held teaching posts at several universities including Zambia, Warsaw, Wyoming, London and Brandeis.

Among his works are the novels Mating Birds, Underground People and Mandela's Ego. plus several volumes of essays.

His plays include The Black Psychiatrist, We Can't All Be Martin Luther King, and The Rhythm of Violence.

Project director of the South African Literary Awards Raks Seakhoa said on Tuesday that Nkosi was "part of those talented few who took South Africa's literary heritage to greater heights".

"He was among the pioneers of South African writing during his stint at the Drum magazine," he said.

A memorial service would be held on September 8 at the Museum Africa, Newtown Cultural Precinct, in Johannesburg at 5.30pm.

The funeral would be in Durban on September 10.

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