Mongane Wally Serote is a healer, poet and writer. He was a Fulbright Scholar and received a fine arts degree from Columbia University in 1979. He was not allowed to return to South Africa and he began a life in exile, living in Botswana and London, where he was involved in the Medu Art Ensemble.

He has been awarded the Presidential Order of Ikhamanga in Silver. In 1993, he won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. In 2004, he received the Pablo Neruda award from the Chilean government.
He has served as chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Arts and Culture, and is the CEO of Freedom Park, a national heritage site in Pretoria that opened in 2007.

He is a Director of the iARi African Renaissance organisation.