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Dr Roi Kwabena 1956 - 2008

Everyone at Birmingham Libraries is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Roi Kwabena.

Roi Kwabena

Roi had a tremendous and positive impact both on individuals and on organisations lucky enough to encounter him. He offered endless encouragement and inspiration to try things, to do things and to believe in the value of doing those things. Everywhere you go you meet people who acknowledge that they would not have started writing or performing without a nudge from Roi. Many more were touched by his poetry, his drumming, his compassion and his humility.

Roi was Birminghams Poet Laureate 2001/2002, during this time he produced many poems for the city which touched and moved many people across the city and nationally.

He worked across the city in many libraries, with adults, children and staff, who held him in great affection. He delivered many poetry and drumming workshops during the Young Readers Festival over the years. Roi was an activist, writer and he was an inspiration to many emerging poets. His presence will be missed throughout the city.

It was not just the many things Roi himself did that will be remembered. He caused ripples and those ripples are still travelling all over the world.

We remember a much respected ancestor.

Obituary by David Burke on the BBC Birmingham website

From Holocaust Day 2002
. . . As long
as we keep on this journey
with understanding for energy
bearing gifts of diversity
to celebrate


as we ferry memories still
of those who strove and fell

this silence commands us to appreciate
divinity within each other
for their memories are sacred
their cries will never go unheard
and our children
will remember

so today - PEACE
patience in harmony we bequeath

Roi Kwabena

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