South African Author Phumlani Pikoli Passes Away at 33

South African multimedia journalist and author, Phumlani Pikoli has passed away at the age of thirty-three.

A family statement said Pikoli was found lifeless at a Johannesburg apartment on Sunday, April 11 2021. Although the cause of his death is yet to be established, Pikoli’s parents had travelled to Johannesburg from their home in Pretoria to check on him, after being unavailable by phone.

Born in Zimbabwe in 1988, Pikoli is the son of Girlie and Vusi Pikoli, who were exiled from South Africa during apartheid. Vusi Pikoli is a renowned advocate and the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority. The family returned to South Africa when Pikoli was a child and settled in Pretoria.

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Phumlani Pikoli

In 2016, Pikoli’s self-published collection of short stories, The Fatuous State of Severity, which he had written while ‘recuperating from a depressive episode at a psychiatric clinic’.

The book received so much attention Pan Macmillan republished it in 2018. His debut novel, Born Freeloaders, published in 2019 won the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. He debuted an exhibition titled ‘Occupying A Fatuous State of Severity’, based on his book, at TMRW Gallery in Johannesburg in 2020. A memorial service in his honour has been scheduled for Wednesday and the funeral set for Friday.


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