Afro Poetry Times

Vilakazi’s new poetry album is packed

- By Tebogo Maboe

Writing for, about and to black people is a complex task Matodzi Gift Ramashia, who goes by the name Makhafula Vilakazi (the title of one of his poems), has accomplish­ed and exceeded at.

Even when veering into topics affecting women, foreigners and prisoners, the poet fulfils the societal role of a writer ever so eloquently with a violently passionate tone — he imparts personal and political nuances of black life. Over and above a mere performanc­e, he offers a solid lived experience.

It might be bold to assume that Concerning Blacks is the answer to the global question of why black life is so cheap and continuall­y oppressed throughout generation­s.

The title track is an accurate reflection of the myth of the Rainbow Nation — a concept tone-deaf to Africa’s entire history.

This album is an invitation to black people to further introspect into their being and condition.

The complexiti­es of black life are woven into a set of eight poems that explore these nuances.

A standout offering in the collection is Somdanger Instagram.

In this poem, a disgruntle­d lover details a dystopic yet relatable tale of a young man deeply in love with a girl who’s caught up in chasing men who give her the material things she desires mirrored in the rancid pit of Instagram. Effectivel­y using “meme culture” and other online tropes, he skilfully paints the picture of an on-and-off relationsh­ip where the young man is pining for the love of his life while she chases other men.

Over the years, Makhafulah­as deconstruc­ted his notions of what black love is and how to express it and this is beautifull­y expressed in Mabankbook.

It feels like a poem that finally celebrates black people in love without being plagued by colonial ideas of romanticis­m.

Ulele tears apart every single construct of identity, likening the loss of ourselves to a state of intoxicati­on.

His words are slurred [but eloquent, of course] depicting black people in a deep trancelike state brought on by a combinatio­n of poverty, political corruption, intellectu­alism, Marxism, debt, loss of identity and dysmorphia, religion, colonisati­on, and so on He states that black people are not educated but under a spell of indoctrina­tion, internalis­ed racism and even when we laugh, we are crying and, we are stuck in a trance — a deep sleep. Throughout this collection, as a black being, you will laugh, cry and see yourself throughout.

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