Poetry and Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader

By Dennis Brutus, Edited by Aisha Karim and Lee Sustar

This vital original collection of interviews, poetry, and essays of the much-loved anti-apartheid leader is the first book of its kind to bring together the full, forceful range of his work.

Brutus, imprisoned along with Nelson Mandela, is known worldwide for his unparalleled eloquence as an opponent of the apartheid South African regime. Since its fall, he has been a voice for global justice and humanity, speaking and writing extensively on issues of debt, poverty, war, racism, and neoliberalism.

About the author

Dennis Brutus was awarded the Lifetime Honourary Award by the South African Department of Arts and Culture for his lifelong dedication to African and world poetry and literary arts in 2008.

Lee Sustar is labor editor for Socialist Worker/SocialistWorker.org. His writings on economics and international affairs have appeared in the International Socialist Review, New Labor Forum, Znet, Counterpunch and other publications.


Watch Dennis Brutus’s recent speech on sweatshop labor in South Africa and beyond:

Here, Brutus discusses the ongoing struggle for reparations and corporate accountability in post-Apartheid South Africa:


“The lyrical force of [Dennis’s] poetry was transposed into his revolutionary actions— something immensely invigorating, to see the grim determination of defiance lit up as theater before the oppressors, brighter than their searchlights and flash of their guns...his passion for justice has now extended to the whole world. Dennis’s passion is the real face of globalization.”
--Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature

“We won a spectacular victory over the awfulness of apartheid....We had none more articulate and with all the credibility and integrity so indispensable than Dennis Brutus to plead our cause. He was quite outstanding and we South Africans owe him an immense debt of gratitude.”
—Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus

“Dennis has inspired countless people with his poems of struggle. All of us are in his debt.”
--Danny Glover