Mak Manaka (South Africa)

Maakomele Manaka was born in Diepkloof Zone 6, Soweto in 1983. Mak, as he is widely known, received a Young Artist Award at the age of five, at the once famous Funda Arts Center in Soweto. He started writing poetry at 14 years old, just two years after his near-fatal accident which left him in a wheelchair for a year-and-a-half. He started performing at the age of 15 on crutches, debuting in 1998 in Lugano, Switzerland at a tribute for his late father. In 2002, he performed for the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, at the SABC in a live programme entitled In conversation with the President. He was also commissioned to perform for the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela,  at the launch of a primary school in Soweto. He has also released two poetry anthologies as well as an album entitled Word Sound Power and has been nominated for The Daimler Chrysler Poet of the Year 2005 Award. 

In June 2006, he performed at schools around Soweto as part of the campaign for the We Remember June 16. In the same year, he performed in Berlin, Germany for the heads of state at the closing ceremony of the 2006 World Cup. 

Inspired and nurtured by creative and progressive parents, Mak has made his mark as a committed artist who will take giant strides in making this world a better place for a vast majority of the world’s people.