- Category: PA 2008
Maakomele Manaka was born in Soweto in 1983. Mak, as he is widely known, is the son of the late Matsemela Manaka, the well-known artist, poet, playwright and Black Consciousness activist and Nomsa Kupi Manaka, a pioneer of African dance.
At the age of five, he received a Young Artist Award at the then famous Funda Arts Center in Soweto. He started writing poetry at fourteen, just two years after a near fatal accident which left him in a wheelchair for a year and a half. Mak started performing at the age of 15 on crutches, debuting in 1998 in Lugano, Switzerland at a tribute for his late father.
In 1999, he performed at the Windybrow Arts Theater with Benjamin Zephaniah and Don Mattera and went on to feature in several editions of Urban Voices with luminaries such as Sarah Jones, Steve Coleman, Mutabaruka, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Saul Williams, the Last Poets, Ursula Rucker, Lesego Rampolokeng, and Keorapetse Kgositsile. In 2003, Mak published his poetry anthology If Only, which enjoyed tremendous success and sold out its print run. In 2004, he toured Cuba and Jamaica with poets Don Mattera and Lebo Mashile representing South Africa as part of the 10 years of democracy celebrations.
He was nominated for The Daimler Chrysler Poet of the Year 2005 Award and in the same year also performed in Holland, at the Crossing Borders Festival, and in Germany. Mak returned to Germany the next year where he performed for the heads of state at the closing ceremony of the 2006 World Cup.
This year Mak launches his debut CD Word Sound Power!!