Earl Sweatshirt’s father, poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, has died

The former South African poet laureate was 79.

January 03, 2018
Earl Sweatshirt’s father, poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, has died Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Mabuti Kali

South Africa's SABC has reported that Keorapetse Kgositsile, former South African poet laureate and father to Earl Sweatshirt, passed away on Wednesday morning. He was 79.

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According to SABC, the accomplished poet began his work at an anti-apartheid newspaper and became a prominent member African National Congress liberation movement; his work with them led to his exile from South Africa in the early 1960s. In 1969, he published his first book of poetry, Spirits Unchained, while in America. As Pitchfork points out, he had a strained relationship with his son, whose music he once claimed not to have listened to.

On Thursday, Earl took to Twitter to send a message to fans. "Thank yall for your thoughts and love," he wrote.

Watch him discuss contemporary poetry and the state of African culture in 2012 for the Library of Congress below.

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Earl Sweatshirt’s father, poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, has died