Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (born 15 April 1958) is a British writer, dub poet and Rastafarian. Zephaniah was born and raised in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, which he has called the "Jamaican capital of Europe". He is the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. A dyslexic, he attended an approved school but left aged 13 unable to read or write. He writes that his poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls "street politics". His first performance was in church when he was eleven, and by the age of fifteen, his poetry was already known among Handsworth's Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities. He received a criminal record with the police as a young man and served a prison sentence for burglary. Tired of the limitations of being a black poet communicating with black people only, he decided to expand his audience, and headed to London at the age of twenty-two. (read more on wikipedia)
Links To Peel
Peel invited Zephaniah in 1983 to do a session for his show doing three poetry's (Problems, I Christmas Poem and Uganda's What I Mean) in a dub ranting style and visited Benjamin Zephaniah's house to interview him for the Offspring radio programme in 1995, where according to Sheila on Margrave Of The Marshes, he was supposed to talk to him about infertility after Zephaniah wrote a piece about his experience of it, but due to his shyness, Peel did not raise the topic and instead talked to him about martial arts, until he was compelled to talk about it before he left Zephaniah's house.
'He didn't do any build up, like "now some reggae!" He just introduced it just like any other record on his show: "And this is Misty In Roots..." I thought, wow, white people like our music!'.A year after Peel's death, listeners on BBC Radio One voted Zephaniah's Rong Radio Station track at number 47 in the 2005 Festive Fifty.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 2005 Festive Fifty: Rong Radio Station #47
- Problems / I Christmas Poem / Uganda's What I Mean
Other Shows Played
- Stewart Tape Oct 1983: Free South Afrika (Illegal) (album - Rasta) Upright
- 28 March 2000: 'Riddim I Like (CD-Community Music)' (FFRR)
- 16 November 2000: We Are Tribes (LP - Heading For The Door) MP
- 19 October 2004: Rong Radio Station