Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Impassable bridge

Enlarge poem

Impassable bridge
I phoned for an MP
A former bosom friend.
His secretary asked,
In connection with what?

It punctured my ego,
I felt my manhood shrinking.

I said,
Give him my message
Tell him that poisonous mushrooms
Sprout under rotten logs.
If he asks for my name
Say it was an angered poet.
If you can do that for me
I’ll be OK.

But she was quick to add,
She said,
And lizards don’t fly
For their food
They crawl.

She hung up.

Mzi Mahola

Featured Poem:

Ndaphulaphula umthyoli

Enlarge poem

Ndandiqhuba ndiphu’edolophini
Amehlo am okhozi ambona
Elunxwemeni lwayo
Esiya ngese lokishini
Ethwel’ubhaka emqolo
Ukwenyusa evel’ohlangula
Yangongoza intliziyo yam “du du du du”
Kuba wayengamelanga
Kungena kuloo mathyolo yedwa
Nangaliphi na ixesha
Ingengokuba kwakucholw’izidumbu
Maxa wambi kule ndawo
Kambi izidumbu zithi gqi naphi na ngoku
Ingaba bethu ushiywe sisithuthi sakhe
Okanye akana mali yebhasi ne taxi
Okanye mhlawumbi akalandwanga
Ukuphuma kwesikolo
Imibuzo yayigilana engqondweni
Ndamisa ndiphethwe ngumbilini
Wayezakuthatha indlela emfutshane
Kulomathylo eshainyeneyo
Ukuya esixekweni
Ndalindela impendulo evela ngasentla
Umzuzwana ubangathi yiyure
Kuba nam ndingumzali

Abazaki babafundisa abantwana babo
Ukuba bangazikhweli iimoto
Zabantu abanga baziyo
Ngoku ndandizakuchitha eso siseko siluqilima
Ngelithi ndimsindisa engozini
Ndandimelwe kukuhlonipha ilungelo lakhe
Ngokuzibeka esichengeni
Ndimangalelwe sisazela bonke ubomi bam
Xa ethe wahlelwa lishwangusha
Okwetakane lahlukene nomhlambi
Wahlangabezana nelo hlathi likhwebayo
Lizole okwenzonzobila yesiziba
Injalo nje ndadizazi ndingamnceda
Ntonje umthyoli wandicebisa ngelithi
Akazi kuvuma ukukhwela
Uyakubekwa ityala
Lokuzama ukudlwengula
Ndamshiya
Kwowu! Akwaba ndandike ndazama
Endaweni yokuphula phula usathana

Translations

This poem is about a battle that happens in the poet’s head. The poet tells us about an incident where he saw a young girl walk into what was a potentially dangerous forest. He doesn’t know whether to protect the girl or risk being suspected if something did happen to her. The poem highlights the sad reality of how crimes against children have affected relations between them and people who should be their protectors.

mzi mahola

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (10)
  • Pride (14)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (2)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (5)
  • Amusement (3)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (6)
  • Sadness (2)
  • Fear (3)
  • Jubilation (7)

Comments

  1. Tat’ Mzi Mahola my name is Aphiwe Magida, i live in Cape Town Khayelitsha. i am a young uprising writer, i wish that i can be a international poem writer like you one day. I view the world much more uniquely, i become etra sensitive about the things which we as teenagers come across for example crime, gangsterism, love/lust, drinking and drugs. in order for me to live with a free conciousness away from the problems i face as a young man i write… i have written a number of stories right now that i wish to publish, i need a clear guidense in which you will spot the things which i wrote wrong, where i could correct what i have written wrong in order for the publishers to take me seriously.

    Aphiwe Magida

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Mzi Mahola was born in 1949 as Mzikayise Winston Mahola. Mzi Mahola is his nom de plume. He started writing while he was at school. The Special Branch confiscated his first poetry manuscript in 1976 (That year, South African students rebelled against the government, which cracked down without restraint. Read more about the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Ed.) and he lost interest in writing for twelve years. After this period he started writing again, submitting work successfully to national and international journals, magazines and publications. His work has been published in more than eight anthologies.

His first book with poems is titled Strange Things and was published in 1994 by Snail Press. This volume received positive reviewing and was amongst those to represent South Africa in Geneva in a World Book fare in 1995. There was interest in translating the book into German and Danish, but this has not materialised to date.

His second volume When Rain Comes was published in 2000 by Carapace and won the Olive Schreiner Book prize.

At the moment he is editing and finalizing a semi-biographical novel called The Broken Link.

He has presented papers and given speeches at the National Arts Festival and at other venues for school children. He gives poetry readings for University groups and community projects. Now and then he runs poetry workshops for interested groups of writers.

Mzi Mahola

mzi mahola
mzi mahola

Biography

Mzi Mahola was born in 1949 as Mzikayise Winston Mahola. Mzi Mahola is his nom de plume. He started writing while he was at school. The Special Branch confiscated his first poetry manuscript in 1976 (That year, South African students rebelled against the government, which cracked down without restraint. Read more about the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Ed.) and he lost interest in writing for twelve years. After this period he started writing again, submitting work successfully to national and international journals, magazines and publications. His work has been published in more than eight anthologies.

His first book with poems is titled Strange Things and was published in 1994 by Snail Press. This volume received positive reviewing and was amongst those to represent South Africa in Geneva in a World Book fare in 1995. There was interest in translating the book into German and Danish, but this has not materialised to date.

His second volume When Rain Comes was published in 2000 by Carapace and won the Olive Schreiner Book prize.

At the moment he is editing and finalizing a semi-biographical novel called The Broken Link.

He has presented papers and given speeches at the National Arts Festival and at other venues for school children. He gives poetry readings for University groups and community projects. Now and then he runs poetry workshops for interested groups of writers.

Impassable bridge

Enlarge poem

Impassable bridge
I phoned for an MP
A former bosom friend.
His secretary asked,
In connection with what?

It punctured my ego,
I felt my manhood shrinking.

I said,
Give him my message
Tell him that poisonous mushrooms
Sprout under rotten logs.
If he asks for my name
Say it was an angered poet.
If you can do that for me
I’ll be OK.

But she was quick to add,
She said,
And lizards don’t fly
For their food
They crawl.

She hung up.

Featured Poem:

Ndaphulaphula umthyoli

Enlarge poem

Ndandiqhuba ndiphu’edolophini
Amehlo am okhozi ambona
Elunxwemeni lwayo
Esiya ngese lokishini
Ethwel’ubhaka emqolo
Ukwenyusa evel’ohlangula
Yangongoza intliziyo yam “du du du du”
Kuba wayengamelanga
Kungena kuloo mathyolo yedwa
Nangaliphi na ixesha
Ingengokuba kwakucholw’izidumbu
Maxa wambi kule ndawo
Kambi izidumbu zithi gqi naphi na ngoku
Ingaba bethu ushiywe sisithuthi sakhe
Okanye akana mali yebhasi ne taxi
Okanye mhlawumbi akalandwanga
Ukuphuma kwesikolo
Imibuzo yayigilana engqondweni
Ndamisa ndiphethwe ngumbilini
Wayezakuthatha indlela emfutshane
Kulomathylo eshainyeneyo
Ukuya esixekweni
Ndalindela impendulo evela ngasentla
Umzuzwana ubangathi yiyure
Kuba nam ndingumzali

Abazaki babafundisa abantwana babo
Ukuba bangazikhweli iimoto
Zabantu abanga baziyo
Ngoku ndandizakuchitha eso siseko siluqilima
Ngelithi ndimsindisa engozini
Ndandimelwe kukuhlonipha ilungelo lakhe
Ngokuzibeka esichengeni
Ndimangalelwe sisazela bonke ubomi bam
Xa ethe wahlelwa lishwangusha
Okwetakane lahlukene nomhlambi
Wahlangabezana nelo hlathi likhwebayo
Lizole okwenzonzobila yesiziba
Injalo nje ndadizazi ndingamnceda
Ntonje umthyoli wandicebisa ngelithi
Akazi kuvuma ukukhwela
Uyakubekwa ityala
Lokuzama ukudlwengula
Ndamshiya
Kwowu! Akwaba ndandike ndazama
Endaweni yokuphula phula usathana

Translations

This poem is about a battle that happens in the poet’s head. The poet tells us about an incident where he saw a young girl walk into what was a potentially dangerous forest. He doesn’t know whether to protect the girl or risk being suspected if something did happen to her. The poem highlights the sad reality of how crimes against children have affected relations between them and people who should be their protectors.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (10)
  • Pride (14)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (2)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (5)
  • Amusement (3)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (6)
  • Sadness (2)
  • Fear (3)
  • Jubilation (7)

Impassable bridge

Enlarge poem

Impassable bridge
I phoned for an MP
A former bosom friend.
His secretary asked,
In connection with what?

It punctured my ego,
I felt my manhood shrinking.

I said,
Give him my message
Tell him that poisonous mushrooms
Sprout under rotten logs.
If he asks for my name
Say it was an angered poet.
If you can do that for me
I’ll be OK.

But she was quick to add,
She said,
And lizards don’t fly
For their food
They crawl.

She hung up.

Comments

  1. Tat’ Mzi Mahola my name is Aphiwe Magida, i live in Cape Town Khayelitsha. i am a young uprising writer, i wish that i can be a international poem writer like you one day. I view the world much more uniquely, i become etra sensitive about the things which we as teenagers come across for example crime, gangsterism, love/lust, drinking and drugs. in order for me to live with a free conciousness away from the problems i face as a young man i write… i have written a number of stories right now that i wish to publish, i need a clear guidense in which you will spot the things which i wrote wrong, where i could correct what i have written wrong in order for the publishers to take me seriously.

    Aphiwe Magida

Your email address will not be published.