Mohammed Khelef Ghassani was born in 1977 in Pemba, Zanzibar. His father, who died in 1995 aged 72, is Bwana Khelef Mohammed Said Al Ghassani. He calls himself a proud son of two mothers – the one who gave birth to him, Bi Abeida bint Nassor Al Ghaithy, and the one who raised him since the age of two. Her name is Bi Salama bint Said Al Battawy.
Mohammed Ghassani is a renown Swahili poet, multimedia journalist and novelist. His poetry book, N’na Kwetu: Sauti ya Mgeni Ugenini (I Have My Own Home: A Stanger’s Voice in a Strange Land) earned him the inaugural award from the Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in 2015.
He has authored more than six books on poetry, as well as contributing to many other collections with some high profile Swahili writers such as Professor Said A. M. Khamis and Professor Ken Walibora. His recent work is a novella called Mja wa Laana (The Cursed), a story about domestic sexual violence.
Apart from writing poems and novels, Mohammed Ghassani is a professional multimedia journalist working with the Swahili Services of Deutsche Welle in Germany, where he moved in from Zanzibar since 2010.
As a professional translator and trained teacher of Kiswahili, Mohammed Ghassani is a pioneer of Swahili language and its culture and has written many online pieces on the matters.
When he is not reading or writing, Mohammed Ghassani likes to produce videos for his online audience.