South African poet, children’s book writer, and anti-apartheid struggle icon Lindiwe Mabuza and US American writer Greg Tate have both passed on. Mabuza died on December 6 while Tate died on December 7.

Lindiwe Mabuza

Lindiwe Mabuza
Lindiwe Mabuza

Lindiwe Mabuza was a South African politician, diplomat, poet, academic, journalist, and cultural activist. She was an anti-Apartheid activist who went on to serve her country as a Member of the first democratically elected parliament of South Africa. She then proceeded to a career as a distinguished diplomat. The who elder was born in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal on August 13, 1938 edited the poetry anthologies;

  • Letter to Letta (1991)
  • Voices that Lead: Poems 1976-1996. (1998)
  • Footprints and fingerprints, (2008).

She also wrote the children’s book South African Animals with illustrations by Alan Baker in 2007.

Lindiwe was beloved by many who met her and her work. She died on Monday at home surrounded by her family.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our matriarch, ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza. She passed away… in the loving company of her family. The family is grateful for all your prayers and outpouring of love during these past weeks whilst she has been receiving palliative care at home, where she wanted to be,” Mabuza’s family said in a statement.

Sisonke Msimang said, “My first fave has passed on. To honour her is to remember her words:”We don’t just open doors for those who will come after us,we do so for the ones standing right next to us still trying to decide what to do with themselves. If we jump, they might too.” Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza.”

Musician Simphiwe Dana said, “Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza was one of a kind. We thank her for her work, for the arts. May her soul fly free.”

Simamkele Dlakavu said, “Thank you, #LindiweMabuza. We are forever indebted for your sacrifices and the many artistic-intellectual gifts that you shared, which contributed to our collective freedoms. Rest in peace and power, dear #AfriFem”

She was a beloved guest at the Time of the Writer in 2018. Watch her give a speech at the opening ceremony below;

Greg Tate

Greg Tate
Greg Tate

Greg Tate, born on October 15, 1957, was an American writer, musician, and producer. A long-time critic for The Village Voice, Tate focused particularly on African-American music and culture. Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (1992) collected 40 of his works for the Voice. He published a sequel, Flyboy 2, in 2016. Also a musician himself, he was a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition and the leader of Burnt Sugar.

Some of his works included;

  • Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America. (1992)
  • Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture, (2003)
  • Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience (2003).
  • Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader (2016)

Many in the African-American literary community have been mourning the loss of one of the most influential cultural commentators of our time.

Cornell West said, “I am devastated by the loss of my very dear brother Greg Tate! He was a great love warrior, intellectual titan & spiritual genius whose profound commitment & compassion for Black People & Black Culture was absolute! We shall never forget him!”

Lisa Lucas said, “Hip-hop is ancestor worship,” Greg Tate wrote in The Village Voice in the fall of 1988.”

Jelena Cobb said, “Hard to explain the impact that Flyboy in the Buttermilk had on a whole generation of young writers and critics who read every page of it like scripture. It’s still a clinic on literary brilliance. Godspeed, Greg Tate.”

Harmony Holiday said, “No way Greg Tate is gone. Greg Tate is not gone. We’re gonna need a minute, everybody be quiet and listen. Also how? Watch what’s happening around you with total skepticism. Our one email exchange was in part about Bill Gunn and in part about Spirulina.”

Robert Jones Jr said, “Rest In Peace, Brother Greg. We are sad to see you go and grateful for what you left behind for us to remember and cherish you always. May the Ancestors greet you uproariously, with warm embrace, full hearts, and dancing. Ase.”

Desiree C Bailey said, “It hurts to learn that Greg Tate has passed. I was lucky to take an Afro-futurism course with him some years ago at Brown. I’m grateful for all of the sonic + visual pathways he set me on. What an immense loss.”

Hanif Abdurraqib said, “Greg Tate was also immensely generous with his time. That was a big way he was a blueprint for me, beyond the work. To be giving with time and energy when you can.”

Rebecca Carroll said, “”there are other ideas that I discover through writing… and they’re not just about relationships to people, they’re definitely about larger relationships … to the moon, the tides, and you know, mystery cycles.” — Swing Low: Black Men Writing. RIP Greg Tate. An icon.”

Jason Reynolds said, “So grateful for Greg Tate. Most people don’t know but the true beginning of my publishing career was as a music writer for Okayplayer a lonnnnng time ago. Tate was the blueprint. He’s who I (and most of us at the time) emulated. We lost an archetype. Rest well.”