Malika Ndlovu

Writer * Poet* Project Manager

Malika Ndlovu's words and productions have appeared on pages and stages all over South Africa, in Austria, Uganda, USA, UK, Holland, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Ethiopia, India and the Philippines. As a poet, playwright, performer and arts project manager, Malika’s contribution to (South) African poetry and literature, via numerous writing groups, workshops and festivals spans over 25 years. Between 2007 and 2011 she was project manager, then guest curator/podcast presenter of the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change, supporting its evolution from live international festival to the first ever Africa - focused poetry podcasting platform. She was a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers' collective WEAVE between 1998 and 2004, and co-editor of their trailblazing multi-genre anthology WEAVE’s Ink @ Boiling Point: A selection of 21st Century Black Women’s writing from the Southern Tip of Africa. In 2004 she initiated And The Word Was Woman Ensemble. Listed as a 2011 British Times’ Top50 contemporary African artists to look out for Malika was also a. 2015 DAC’s Mbokodo Awards finalist. Her poetry collections include Born in Africa But (1999) Womb to World: A Labour of Love (2001), Truth is both Spirit and Flesh (2008), Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (2009) and two published plays A Coloured Place (1998) and Sister Breyani (2010), CLOSE (2017). She was 2018 National Book Week project co-ordinator, curated the 2018 SA Book Fair’s #OURSTORIES Storytelling Festival and the Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Café. Most recently she co-ordinated the CoCreate –Poetica site-specific poetry journeys, was a panel host for the 2019 Open Book Festival events and is featured in Our Words, Our Worlds: Writing on Black South African Women Poets, 2000-2018 a her-storical, groundbreaking multi-genre anthology compiled and edited by poet, anthropologist, writer Makhosazana Xaba and published in July 2019 by UKZN Press.

Applied Artist * Arts Activist 

Creative performance rituals and writing specifically, whether as journaling, socio-political narratives, plays or poetry has proven to be a profound medium through which “holes” in our personal and collective histories can be addressed. Through such creative expression, shattering experiences which reshape our lives, can be unpacked, embraced and integrated."

Via her poetic memoir Invisible Earthquake: a Woman’s Journal through Stillbirth (Modjaji Books, 2009) and website, Malika has become a passionately vocal advocate around pregnancy-related loss, bereavement support and maternal health. Some presentations and collaborations: the BAHI (Borrowed Angels Healing Initiative) annual concerts, Saving Newborn Lives, Compassionate Friends CT Chapter, Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Cape Town Midwifery & Birth Conference, Zulu Birth Project at the Human Rights in Childbirth (HRIC) 2015 Africa Summit and the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the world's largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, held in Vancouver, Canada. Malika‘s story and insights on this subject feature in internationally published articles and interviews incl. the Lancet Medical Journal, SANDS (Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Newborn Death Support) newsletters, BBC World Service, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimist” and WHO’s April 2017 World Health Day online campaign on depression & other mental health issues. She has worked as drama therapist assistant at De Lorentz psychiatric day hospital, for Drama for Life at WITS University, with Zakheni Art Therapy Foundation, the Wellness Foundation and is the only applied artist presenter on UCT’s Arts and Medicine: Humanizing Healthcare MOOC, which has fueled a growing global conversation on the multiple merits of an interdisciplinary approach using the arts within clinical settings. In December 2018 Malika presented a WITS Drama For Life annual conference keynote address and performance entitled Poetic Navigation: Mapping creative pathways through trauma, grief and re-membering, using poetry as an integrative process of release, documentation and memorialization. In late 2019 she joined the newly established Arts in Psychosocial Support CoP (community of practice) – a South African national network and facilitated two stakeholder seminars in the Western and Eastern Cape, towards widening its membership and developing its first collaborative research project.