Keorapetse Kgositsile, acclaimed poet and father of Earl Sweatshirt, has died, SABC News reports. He was 79 years old. Kgositsile, who is a Johannesburg native, began his career as a writer for the politically-driven newspaper New Age. Along with reporting and sharing poetry for the publication, he also was a member of the African National Congress liberation movement.
The activist was later urged by the political party in 1961 to leave South Africa in exile. Kgositsile then made America his home, eventually receiving an MFA in poetry at Columbia University. He also published his first collection of poems, Spirits Unchained, in 1969. After graduating from Columbia in 1971, Kgositsile quickly made his voice a staple in New York City’s poetry scene. The writer was named South Africa’s poet laureate in 2006.
His love for jazz was threaded throughout his poetry, referencing famed artists like John Coltrane in 2002’s “The Gods Wrote.” “Don’t you know this is a love supreme! / John Coltrane, John Coltrane, tell the ancestors / We listened, we heard your message,” it reads.
Despite Kgotsitsile leaving Earl and his mother when when the rapper was 6 years old, the impact his father had on his life is evident through Earl’s music. The rapper touches on their relationship in songs like songs “Blade,” “ Burgundy,” “Grown Ups,” “Off Top,” and “Chum.” Kgotsitsile’s passing comes after Earl’s New Year’s Eve promise about dropping new music in 2018.
source: complex.com BY BIANCA GRACIE