Zolani Mkiva

Por: Zolani Mkiva

Latinoamerican Poetry Magazine
No 81-82. July 2008.



I am the son of the soil
A brother to the daughters of the land

I do not have perfumed lips
But I speak the truth

I do not have a dog nose
But I can smell and distinguish between carbon-monoxide and oxygen

I do not have cat eyes
But I can see the true colours of my continent

I do not have donkey ears
But I can hear what make sense and what a nuisance is

I do not have soft hands
But I can do my little bit and deliver my people from shame

I do not have a big heart
But I do have passion for love

Passion for my people
Passion for my country
Passion for my continent

Cause I am the son of the soil
A brother to the daughters of the land

Heartically I am the bonafine of Africa
Rootically I am an African

A son of the soil forever

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ZOLANI MKIVA is one of the youngest practioners of one of the oldest oral traditions in africa, ukubonga (praise singing). Hailing from idutywa a small town in the eastern cape province of south africa, Zolani rose to prominence in 1990 when, barely a month after becoming a fully-fledged imbongi yesizwe (poet of the nation), the schoolboy was called upon to salute with a red hot rendition the recently released Nelson Mandela at his welcome home rally in transkei. This way, he officially came to be nelson Mandela’s poet laureate. Zolani studied social sciences in the University of the western cape, as he continued with the practice of his music. He has employed his poetry for musical compositions. As an imbongi, he practices improvisation because the lines of an imbongi are never fixed – they are improvised, at times melodic and at times melancholy. and not always guaranteed to please with tame platitudes. In Zimbawe he was saluted as the prince of afro-poetry. His first album as a solo artist “halala south africa” was released in 1997. After this album came an international release named “gaddafi” and many more records including  “mazenethole” and “brother leader”, as well as numerous collaborations with other artists. Also, Zolani is the founder and field worker for the Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation which helps the rural people on a number of issues relating to development of arts & culture, welfare and education. Zolani Mkiva is also the reigning, chief executive officer of the xhosa royal council which looks after the interests of his majesty, king xolilizwe sigcawu and the entire xhosa royal family.

Última actualización: 22/02/2021