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Mzwakhe Mbuli
My Choice...

The quote that has inspired me to date goes as follows.

"Nothing is noble in being superior to another human being, true nobility is being superior to your previous self"

Anonymous proverb

It's self explanatory that it's about progression; that you can't just be engaged in a vicious circle, but as a human being you grow. I got inspired by this kind of quotation especially under apartheid South Africa. Things were very tough, but I have since realised that the human spirit triumphs. You've survived I've survived, we have survived. Because of my conviction and belief that the past cannot equal the future, I always believed that at some point we were going to have a better life, it's something that I can relate to.

I am referred to as the voice of reason in this country. Others call me the People's Poet. They normally refer to the power of the spoken word. People say my voice is powerful and my poetry obviously sustained the momentum even when the leadership was in prison or exile - my voice was there hence the harassment. People believe that Mzwakhe has power, and there is power in what I say.


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Facts on Mzwakhe

Mzwakhe recorded with the record label Shifty - so called because it recorded on the run, in a sound truck.

Mzwakhe's performance poetry has its roots in the Zulu oral tradition. As a child he was immersed in the culture's choral tradition at all-night mbube competitions.

Mzwakhe performed a traditional praise poem at the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Mzwakhe's second album, Unbroken Spirit (1988), went gold despite no radio exposure

More about Mzwakhe...
Mzwakhe Mbuli

Mzwakhe was born in 1959 in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, and grew up with seven brothers and sisters in Soweto.

His career began in the 1980s, performing poetry at Trade Union events as part of the fight against the apartheid government in South Africa. He was repeatedly detained by the authorities.

Mzwakhe's poetry focuses on social and political issues. His first album Change is Pain (1986) was banned, as the government feared its 'influence on revolutionary groups'. Mzwakhe continued to perform his poetry at great risk, becoming a popular hero in the movement for justice.

Mzwakhe believes that speaking out cost him his freedom. In March 1999 Mzwakhe was convicted for an armed robbery he consistently denied committing. Throughout his seven-year imprisonment he protested his innocence. He retained the support of the people, as his albums continued to sell. He was released in November 2003 and continues to voice the people's concerns, from HIV and AIDS to political violence and corruption.

Mzwakhe Mbuli
His own Moving Words

From childhood to adulthood
None could arrest my mind
From the cradle to the grave
None could imprison my mind

God sustains, I am unsinkable.

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Like gold and diamond
In order to be refined
You have gone through the fires of time
(in reference to Nelson Mandela)