Lewis Nkosi
Name: Lewis Nkosi
Occupation: Poet
Birth Day: December 5, 1936
Death Date: Sep 5, 2010 (age 73)
Age: Aged 73
Country: South Africa
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

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Lewis Nkosi

Lewis Nkosi was born on December 5, 1936 in South Africa (73 years old). Lewis Nkosi is a Poet, zodiac sign: Sagittarius. Nationality: South Africa. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.

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Does Lewis Nkosi Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Lewis Nkosi died on Sep 5, 2010 (age 73).


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Biography Timeline


Nkosi in his early twenties began working as a journalist, first in Durban, joining the weekly publication Ilanga lase Natal ("Natal sun") in 1955, and then in Johannesburg for Drum magazine and as chief reporter for its Sunday newspaper, the Golden City Post, from 1956 to 1960.


Nkosi faced severe restrictions on his writing due to the publishing regulations found in the Suppression of Communism Act and the Publications and Entertainment Act passed in the 1950s and 1960s. His works were banned under the Suppression of Communism Act, and he faced severe restrictions as a writer. At the same time he became the first black South African journalist to win a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University to pursue his studies. When he applied for permission to go to United States, he was granted a one-way exit permit to leave South Africa, thus barred from returning. In 1961, accepting the scholarship to study at Harvard, he began a 30-year exile.


In 1962 he attended the African Writers Conference at Makerere University, along with the likes of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Ezekiel Mphahlele. He was an editor for The New African in London and the NET in the United States. He became a Professor of Literature and held positions at the University of Wyoming and the University of California-Irvine, as well as at universities in Zambia and in Warsaw, Poland. He appeared in Three Swings on a Pendulum, a programme about "Swinging London" in 1967 which can be viewed on BBC iplayer.


As opposed to apartheid, Nkosi's work explores themes of politics, relationships, and sexuality. His works, possessing great depth, received less recognition than they had actually deserved. In the post-apartheid era, his works are gaining critical attention across the third world. Nkosi joined forces with African powerhouse authors Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka in an interview in the third chapter of Bernth Lindfors' Conversations With Chinua Achebe. In 1978, Nkosi and composer Stanley Glasser wrote a collection of six Zulu-style songs called Lalela Zulu for The King's Singers, a group of six white British, male a cappella singers.


Though Nkosi started his literary career in the 1960s, he entered the realm of fiction much later than his Drum colleagues. His first novel, Mating Birds, was published in 1983. His next novel, Underground People, came out in 2002 and his third novel, Mandela's Ego, in 2006.


The novel generated a controversy and received critical attention, being awarded the Macmillan Silver Pen Prize in 1986. The New York Times declared the novel one of the best hundred books of 1986.


Nkosi wrote a good number of short stories. His story of police violence and popular resistance in a black township, "Under the Shadow of the Guns", appeared in the 1990 anthology Colours of a New Day, the book taking its title from an optimistic phrase used by one of the characters in Nkosi's story.


Lewis Nkosi returned to South Africa in 2001, after a gap of nearly four decades. His final years before his death in 2010 were passed in financial difficulties and ill health. He was apparently injured in a car crash in 2009 and spent his time on the bed, slowly recovering from the wounds; however, that never really happened and he drifted towards death. One of the African literary legend's efforts in literature did not give him any economic relief and his friends and fans gathered a charity fund to pay his last medical bills. He died on Sunday, 5 September 2010, at the Johannesburg Wellness Clinic.


The first comprehensive and critical review on Nkosi appeared in 2006, edited by Professor Lindy Steibel and Professor Liz Gunner, entitled Still Beating the Drum: Critical Perspectives on Lewis Nkosi, published by Wits University Press.


In February 2011, wordsetc.co.za published a commemorative volume entitled The Beautiful Mind of Lewis Nkosi.

On 13 June 2011 Nadine Gordimer participated in a colloquium to commemorate the life and works of Lewis Nkosi.


On 12 April 2012 the Durban University of Technology (DUT) conferred on Nkosi a posthumous honorary Doctor of Technology Degree in Arts and Design in recognition of his significant contributions as a prolific and profound South African writer and essayist. The award was accepted by Professor Nkosi's widow, Professor Astrid Starck-Adler, at the graduation ceremony at the DUT Midlands Campus. She was also the guest speaker during the ceremony.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Lewis Nkosi is 85 years, 8 months and 6 days old. Lewis Nkosi will celebrate 86th birthday on a Monday 5th of December 2022.

Find out about Lewis Nkosi birthday activities in timeline view here.

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