U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is a Zimbabwean American poet, author, speaker, singer, and educator who has performed internationally in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Portugal, and Ireland. She is fiercely passionate about using her voice for women's empowerment, wellness, diversity & inclusion and the exploration of translation or "hyphenated identities" through her work.
She was featured on “WGBH Suitcase Stories.” Her poetry collection “Soul Psalms”(She Writes Press) was described by David Updike as “written in a fearless female voice tempered with optimism and healing possibilities of love.” In Spring 2018 she was a Keynote at the Naturalization Ceremony at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as well as the 15th Annual Refugee Conference in Lowell, MA. During Women's History Month she performed in a staged reading at the Next Stage Arts Project in Putney, Vermont for " Bold Women: Brazen Acts " amplifying women's voices written by Rivka Solomon. She was also featured alongside Yo Yo Ma, David Ortiz and many gifted others in the #StandsWithImmigrants : Projections, a series of large scale Boston portraits, projected onto Boston’s urban landscape, to highlight the critical role that immigrants play in our society the kick off happening at the Edward Kennedy Institute.
She is member of the New England Poetry Club, The International Women’s Writing Guild and an advisory board member for Write On The Dot , a community reading initiative in Dorchester, a proud UMASS Boston and Lesley University alum. A passionate Wellness and Fitness Advocate, Marathoner and Rower, U-Meleni has been interviewed on "Basic Black" about Running in the African American Community and the Boston Marathon.
She holds a graduate degree in Education from Lesley University in Multicultural Education and Theatre and a Bachelors Degree in Social Psychology from UMASS Boston. An accomplished and dedicated educator with over 10 years of experience facilitating holistic health and wellness education/promotion incorporating the Arts ( spoken-word, hip-hop, film), violence prevention, empowerment/life skills, and social-emotional well-being & long-term behavior change in youth and adults. She has taught over 2,500 students through 500 workshops in the Boston Public Schools and Communities. She has also done international work in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria and is multi-lingual speaking Shona, French and English. She has been recognized by the Boston Public Health Commission. Adolescent Wellness Program for her dedicated service to youth of Boston, and for her creative and holistic approach to health education.
Mhlaba-Adebo is also an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College- Boston teaching Creative Writing and Performance Poetry. She is currently working on a multi-modal poetic one woman experience “Roots & Revelations” about identity and belonging stemming from family roots in Leominster and Zimbabwe/South Africa - an incredible history of her family connected to the Civil Rights Movement and Independence in Zimbabwe. When not performing her work or collaborating with other artists, she is often running 5K’s and marathons, biking with her spouse and young son for charity or social justice, competing in World Indoor Rowing Championships, or thrifting and traveling around the world.