Frank Malaba

Poet & Artist

Frank Malaba uses words and poetry to advocate for gay rights and to highlight the issues that still affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in South Africa.

His work has touched the lives of many people who are struggling to find their place and come to terms with their sexuality.

“Poetry has the ability to reach the individual and my inspiration comes from a past where I felt like I never existed because people didn’t know the real me and accepted a suppressed, oppressed and fake someone else,” says Malaba.

“I am inspired by the lives and stories of men and women all over the world who have a voice, even though it is often muffled by oppression and prejudice.”

Malaba has used his own experiences and works to learn more about the LGBTI community and how it forms an integral and elegant part of society.

“Living my truths as I know them, and being part of a larger society and contributing to the economy of South Africa in a positive way have helped me gain a respected voice among citizens and those I meet every day,” says Malaba.

“People don’t meet my sexuality when they meet me, they meet a human being.”

His favourite piece at the moment is titled Pig and Dog Whisperer and the opening lines are rich with meaning:

Hearts beat like djembes

Fingers draw pathways of sweat on a chest

“The importance of being young and South African is that we are still a young democracy with the power to change our world for the good within our lifetime,” adds Malaba. “We are not the leaders of tomorrow, but those of today. Prejudice and hatred have no place in this world.”

Malaba is a firm believer in using his abilities to make a difference to the LGBTI community in South Africa and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. — Tamsin Oxford