Mrs MARIA MIHAI (Luminita Mihai Cioaba)
President The Social – Cultural Foundation of Roma "Ion Cioaba"
Director, Poet, writer
Luminiţa Cioabă (Maria Mihai Cioabă) is a Kaldarash Romni born in 1957 in Târgu Cărbuneşti, Romania. At the time of her birth, her family was still leading a semi-nomadic life. Luminiţa’s father and grandfather were respected Roma who held the traditional title of bulibaşa (wise men and leaders who negotiated between their own community and the authorities). In 1963 the Cioabă family settled in the Transylvanian town of Sibiu, where her father, Ion Cioabă – or Piţule – was known as the ‘King of Gypsies’. At that time, the then young Nicolae Gheorghe was Piţule’s personal secretary.
Luminiţa Cioabă likes to compare her life path and her becoming a poetess to the destiny of Bronisława Wajs – Papusza; like the first famous Romani poetess, Luminiţa belonged to a nomadic community, had no formal education as a child and was married at the age of fifteen to a man whom she later divorced; moreover, her own family never encouraged her in her early endeavours to receive an education and become a writer. Luminiţa believes that she was born to be a writer and predestined to become a poetess, despite all the obstacles she encountered.
Cioabă is the author of several books of poetry (see selected poems) and a multilingual collection of short stories. She is also the editor of various non-fiction publications devoted to the memoir narratives and oral histories of Roma who survived the Romani deportations in Transdniestria as well as screenwriter and director of