Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
6 Dec 2021
3:18 pm

Award-winning poet Don Mattera hospitalised after suspected stroke

Citizen Reporter

Bra Zinga was admitted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Saturday.

Don Mattera at an event in Maboneng on 28 October 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

Award-winning South African poet Don Mattera is in hospital after suffering what appears to be a stroke.

The Don Mattera Legacy Foundation said the writer and anti-apartheid activist, also known as Bra Zinga, was admitted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Saturday.

In a statement, Mattera’s foundation said doctors suspect he had a slight stroke, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Teddy Mattera, the poet’s son and deputy chair of the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation, said his father was in good spirits.

“My dad had limited use of his arms and we immediately decided to admit him to hospital. He is in a stable condition, in good spirits and receiving the necessary treatment as prescribed by the medical staff,” said Teddy.

Don joined a gang when he was a teenager in Westbury, Johannesburg. During this time he was stabbed and shot at several times.

Incensed by the removal of black, coloured and Indian people from Sophiatown, Mattera became a political activist. Don joined the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and started spreading the teachings of the of Black Consciousness movement.

Because of these political activities, the apartheid government banned him from 1973 to 1982 and placed him under house arrest for a few years.

Mattera has written poetry, plays and children stories. He was also awarded the Steve Biko Prize for his autobiography Memory is the Weapon

Mattera also worked as a journalist for Sowetan, the Sunday Times and The Weekly Mail.

Mattera is also known for his work among communities, particularly with the welfare of children. In 1969, he established the Harvey Cohen Centre for mentally and physically handicapped children.

The Don Mattera Legacy Foundation said it will update South African’s on the poet’s recovery and has called on people to “keep him in their prayers and duas”.

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