- Category: PA 2008
Mxolisi Nyezwa was born in 1967 in New Brighton , Port Elizabeth and still lives there at 4 Madala Street. He is the editor of Kotaz , the multilingual literary magazine based in the Eastern Cape. Of the magazine, Darryl Accone has written: “ Kotaz does more than liberate the arts. It frees space for public discourse, space that no longer exists in newspapers, as well as freeing hearts and minds to engage with what it means to be living, feeling and thinking in post-apartheid South Africa.”
Mxolisi works in community projects where he facilitates writing and community publishing workshops for rural and township communities. He also assists small writers' groups locally to grow a reading and writing culture in their communities. In 2000, his debut collection, Song Trials , was published by Gecko Poetry, a book of “associative poems which move rapidly through multiple dimensions. They encompass the spiritual, the political and bleakness of the everyday with the fluency of language and a compelling “deftness of image””.
Commenting on his life as a poet in South Africa , Mxolisi says, “I realised perhaps much too early during my school years that I was fated to be powerless, vulnerable to the world completely. Maybe as clear proof of this fate I am not able to free myself from the physical and psychological restrictions imposed on me by the life in the townships. The life here is always a fierce war, merciless like the wind. I am fascinated by the sea, in its patrimonial re-enactment of life's birth and life's re-burial. For me in the townships, where I've always lived, nothing happens without the silent consent of the sea stoning our human hearts.”
His second collection, New Country , published by UKZN Press, will be launched at the festival.
“Poetry is a simple way to remind us of our humanity. It guards against placing blind faith in the sciences which are constricting to the human spirit. In poetry we discover our basic selves.” Mxolisi Nyezwa.