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Dennis Brutus
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    (November 28, 1924-December 26, 2009)
    Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe)
    Poet and anti-apartheid activist
    Poetry collections include 'Sirens Knuckles and Boots' (1963), 'Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison' (1968), 'Stubborn Hope' (1978), 'Salutes and Censures' (1982), 'Still the Sirens' (1993) and 'Remembering Soweto' (2003)
    Imprisoned in the cell next to Nelson Mandela (1963-65)
    Founded the South African Sports Association and South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee
    Successfully campaigned to have South Africa banned from the Olympics
    Asked if it was hypocritical of African nations to boycott South Africa while supporting dictators like Idi Amin, he replied, 'Let me abstain on that.'
    He ticked off many of his former comrades by claiming that South Africa's post-apartheid government had betrayed the people to support 'the whole corporate global agenda.'
    He supported Mumia Abu-Jamal.
    He said he would not pay the part of his income tax that was used for 'immoral and unjust actions,' particularly the war in Iraq.
    The South African government banned him from teaching and from publishing his poems.
    After he was shot by police, he almost bled to death waiting for an ambulance that accepted blacks.
    He turned down the Mbari Poetry Prize, given to a black poet of distinction, for being racially exclusive.
    He was an active protester well into his 80s, saying 'This is no time for laurels. This is no time to rest.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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