U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo

U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is a Zimbabwean-American Boston-based poet, author, performance artist, storyteller, and educator with an international reach and a transnational lens. In September 2023 , she was awarded the prestigious Brother Thomas Fellowship.Earlier in the year (January  2023), she received a Certificate of Recognition from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu for her creative work in the city, commitment to health and wellness from her time at Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Public Schools, a true commitment to making Boston more inclusive and equitable.  U-Meleni is a board member for Write On the Dot and Mass Poetry as well as a member of the New England Poetry Club & the National Writers Union. She is also a former member of NUNU Arts and Culture Collective and Baton Rouge Gallery where she has also performed at their Sundays@4 in February 2023.

Mhlaba-Adebo is a 2021 Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship recipient from the Arts and Business Council of Boston and a recipient of the BIPOC Arts Leaders Ripple Grant by the Cultural Equity Leadership ( ACI). She has been featured on GBH’s “Suitcase Stories,” and Boston Globe Black History Film Festival as Costume Stylist for Award-winning “ Memoirs of A Black Girl”. By Thato Mwosa. Her debut poetry collection, Soul Psalms (She Writes Press) published in 2016, was hailed by the President of the American Psychology Association Dr. Thema Bryant- Davis as “… a therapeutic collection…beautifully transparent..” U-Meleni is also an occasional adjunct professor who teaches creative writing and performance poetry. She has a Master’s in Education from Lesley University, focusing on Multicultural education and theater arts. Her work can also be found in the groundbreaking Book by Linda Villarosa “ Under the skin” a compelling examination of racial disparities in health care as well as in the book “ Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis: Women respond by Stephanie Raffelock raising money for women in and children in Ukraine, both books were released June 2022.

An interdisciplinary Artist, Mhlaba-Adebo is working on a project “ Threads of Assumption” an interactive art exhibition with Maria Finkelmeier, Martha Rettig, and Sofie Hodara. It surfaces interwoven experiences shaped by gender bias. Through interpretation and interrogation of both human stories and artificial intelligence (AI), This third installation was commissioned by East Hartford, CT and was on display at the East Hartford Public Library for the month of April 2023. Combining Art, Education, Healing & Social Impact has always been her mission. To that end, she founded Maoko Project, an arts+social impact practice guided by Ndau ( Shona) principles stemming from the breadth of her experience. Mhlaba-Adebo partnered with Friendship Bench Zimbabwe. This NGO trains Gogo’s ( Grandmothers) to provide talk therapy for free on a bench to those in crisis. Her fundraising efforts have supported 2 Clinics in Zimbabwe impacting over 5,000 people.She is also an avid runner, having Boston Marathon , Chicago Marathon , and over 60 races from 5K’s to half Marathons to running races top of the highest peak in Vermont . She is deliciously loved by her adorable husband and son and splits her time between Boston, MA, Louisiana and the world! For more: www.u-meleni.com

2024 Events
Roots,Rhythms and Resonance: Poetry for Home, Life and Belonging