They say that you mellow with age,” said Benjamin Zephaniah, “but if anything, I’m getting angrier and angrier.

“There is so much injustice in the world and there are so many things wrong in society that there would be something wrong with me if I was willing to just sit back.”

One of the small number of poets who has entered the greater public consciousness, Benjamin is getting ready for a 24-date autumn tour, his first major series of one-man shows in eight years.

It draws on a well-received autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah.

The tour brings Benjamin to the Wyvern Theatre on Thursday, September 19.

His book highlights, among other things, his friendship Nelson Mandela, personal struggles against racism in the UK and his support for the unemployed and those denied opportunities.

The poet famously rejected an invitation to be made an OBE in 2003, saying the award had echoes of colonialism.

“I didn’t want to write a book that was all about me, me, me,” he said.

“That’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m about.

“I don’t really want to comment on the people who do things like that. I just think there are more important issues and we have a responsibility to look at what’s happening in the world so that we can do something about it.

“You only have to look around to see the levels of deprivation in society. You can look to the inner city areas, or to the rural areas, where people are relying on food banks because they can’t feed their families.

“You can look at the impact that Brexit will have– there are so many different issues that affect people. It’s impossible not to be political.”

Benjamin’s own struggles began early. The son of parents who were part of the Windrush generation, he was born and raised in Birmingham and was the victim of numerous racist attacks, both physical and verbal.

“I was walking in Hockley, in Birmingham, then I felt a slap on the back of my head, which knocked me to the floor.

“A boy had hit me with a brick as he rode past me on a bicycle. I had blood pouring from the back of my head and he shouted at me to go home.

“I had no idea what he was talking about. In my mind, I was walking home. That’s precisely what I was doing.”

He recalls being surrounded by boys and girls at a youth centre, who ushered him to the door and told him black people weren’t welcome.

Slipping for a time into a life of crime, he later turned to performance poetry as a means of expressing the injustices faced by himself and others.

His work eventually brought him to national and international attention.

Nelson Mandela learned about Benjamin’s anti-apartheid campaigning while still in prison, and the two became friends.

“He was a remarkable man, a giant. He helped to change people’s lives.

“It was a privilege to know him and call him my friend.

The poet is very much looking forward to the tour: “I’ve had a lot of fun at festivals, particularly last summer. But it’s been a long time since I’ve done any one-man shows. I did a tour when the hardback was out last year and this follows publication of the paperback.

“So, yes, I’m looking forward to getting on the road again.

“It’s always quite daunting. But I enjoy meeting people when I’m on the road and there’s so much to talk about this time around.”

Tickets for the Wyvern date are priced at £26, and the box office can be contacted on 01793 524481 and via