Isabella Motadinyane was born in 1963 in Mofolo Central, Soweto. She completed classes up to Grade Five in her formal schooling. She studied piano at the so-called ‘Five Roses Bowl’ and attended dance and acting classes in Jozi. As a result of creative writing forums she wrote the poem ‘One Leg In’, which contains the phrase “die is mos botsotsos” (these are stretch denim pants). The phrase afterwards gave rise to the name of the Botsotso Jesters, the poetry performance group of which she was a founding member in 1994, and whose publishing arm, Botsotso Publishing, brought out two collections, We Jive Like This (1996) and Dirty Washing (1999). Poems by Isabella in these books were brought together in her collected works, Bella (2007).