Makhafula Vilakazi (South Africa)

Going by the name Makhafula Vilakazi (the title of one of his poems), Matodzi Gift Ramashia grew up in Chiawelo, Soweto. His poetry is a fusion of Tsotsitaal, English, Zulu and Sotho interspersed into an uncompromising depiction of township life, exploring issues which affect his community such as HIV and AIDS, unemployment and crime. An exponent of a genre which he calls ‘Kasie Poetry’, Makhafula Vilakazi says his writing is influenced and inspired by the striking similarities of life’s contrasts. 

He has recited his poetry on various television shows over the years including Shift, Morning Live, Mzansi Insider, Mzansi Magic, and Dlala Ngeringas. In 2012, he was a guest commentator in the critically acclaimed documentary series Why Are We So Angry? He was invited to write and recite a tribute poem to Nelson Mandela as part of the SABC 1 memorial services for the late President. Over the years, he has been invited to recite at a number of commercial radio stations including YFM, Metro FM, Power FM, Ukhozi FM, 702 Talk Radio as well community radio stations such as Kasie FM, Eldos FM, Thetha FM, Jozi FM and Alex FM. He has published some of his poems in an anthology Sections of Six which was published by Botsotso Publishers. 

Recently, Vilakazi collaborated with renowned, respected and award-winning South African rapper Tuks Senganga in his album Tshwanelo – an album that was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA). He is also featured in a critically acclaimed poetry documentary by legendary poet Lesego Rampolokeng titled Word Down The Line, which explores the state of the country 20 years into democracy.

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