Zizipho Bam is a South African poet, copywriter and visual storyteller currently based in Cape Town. Born in 1996, the award-winning poet creates work that seeks to heal oneself from mental illness, love, loss, physical and childhood trauma through written and performance poetry.
Navigating through the world as a young black womxn, Bam aims to investigate self and reveal how we relate with one another and the world. Using the body and its experience as inspiration, she reimagines pain to rewrite her story into a work of art.
Her work lives in various art forms – from music, visual art, to live performances like jazz band iPhupho l’ka Biko and collaborations with musician Zito Mowa. In 2020 she wrote the short film God Body, which was released and screened at the Gauteng Film Commission Online Women’s Film Festival and Behind Her Lens Visuals Online Film Festival as well as ARIFF 2020. She has performed on stages across the country, winning slam competitions at Word n' Sound where she was also awarded Best Newcomer in 2016. She has been gracing online audiences in Washington DC, Sweden and The South African Book Fair in 2020. She was also placed in the top 3 of Poetry Africa Slam Jam 2020 Virtual Edition and performed on the live morning show Expresso Show on SABC 3.
Her poetry has been published in collections like the December and June 2020 New Coin Poetry Journal by ISEA at Rhodes University in which she also created the cover art for the June collection. She also appears in Yesterdays and Imagining Realities: An Anthology for South African Poetry by Impepho Press, a collection of 30 poems from South African poets under 30. Some of her latest poems appear in the 2021 released anthology of women and queer poets from around the globe, Woven with Brown Thread edited by Upile Chisala.
Her show My Bleeding Thing which speaks about the experiences and taboos of menstruation premiered at the National Arts Festival on The Virtual Fringe 2021 stage. Last year, she collaborated with Amarula where she wrote two poems to celebrate their new expression. Recently, she has worked with artists in the SO Academy Thinking in Poetry and Cardboard Exhibition presented by The Centre for the Less Good Idea where her poem Blackburn, South Point Student Accommodation was the inspiration for a cardboard model installation turned short film. Her poem Silence in Church has recently won second place for the 2021 National Poetry Prize by New Coin and will be published in the forthcoming Jack Journal.
Bam's debut self-published poetry collection, "Sunflowers for my lovers" launched in September 2022. The rest is improvised.