Renowned South African writer, activist and poet Sandile Dikeni has died. He was 53.
“I think Sandile for me was somebody who was able to reflect the mood of the nation in poetry in a way very few people would. He was an amazing poet, but also a truly remarkable human being,” said Ryland Fisher, the former Cape Times editor who knew Dikeni since the 1980s.
Fisher said he was unique in his expression of words and art.
He employed Dikeni as the newspaper’s arts and lifestyle editor, describing him as a talented artist and leader.
Fisher said that when he appointed Dikeni, there was controversy in the newsroom.
“It caused a huge outrage and uproar. We have to remember that during that time, there were 90% white people in the newsroom. He was also not a journalist, but a poet.”
Fisher added that he and Dikeni discussed the backlash.
“I remember him realising there would be a backlash. We talked about it a lot because I was in the same situation. We spent many moments together talking about these issues and the complexities behind them.”
However, Dikeni soon proved his detractors wrong.
“He ended up being an amazing addition to the newspaper and helped the lifestyle section grow greatly. He went far beyond anyone’s expectations. We became a lot closer during that time.”‘