Gabeba Baderoon (Cape Town, 1969) is an internationally published poet. Her work has appeared in New Contrast, Carapace, Illuminations, Feminist Studies and Matter. Baderoon won the Daimler-Chrysler 2004 Poetry Prize, worth R30 000. Her debut collection is expected from Kwela Books, South Africa in 2005.
Baderoon studied with the distinguished American poet Robin Becker and the Forward Prize winning British poet and playwright Sean O’Brien. Her poem ‘After Revolutions’ won the Philadelphia City Paper Writing Contest in 1999. ‘The Art of Leaving’ was selected for ‘The Best of MA Writing 2002-2003’ at Sheffield Hallam University where she holds the John Sainsbury/Linbury Trust Fellowship.
As a media scholar, Gabeba has written on representations of Islam, on ‘race’ and on art, and has been invited to present lectures in South Africa, Europe and the United States. She has held fellowships at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town, Pennsylvania State University, and was a member of the Inaugural Oxford Muntada, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in 2003.
Sean O’ Brien says of her work:
In her poem ‘I cannot myself’, Gabeba Baderoon writes that to gain entry to a new country “I must leave behind all uncertainties./ I cannot myself be a question.” Baderoon’s work involves the steady, scrupulous contemplation of questions of identity and meaning. It is lucid, surprising and graceful. It balances the melancholy of departure and solitude with utopian suggestion that there will, in time, be grounds for general celebration.