Makhafula Vilakazi's new poetry album Concerning Blacks will take you through a range of emotions
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 weaved into a set of eight poems that explore these nuances.
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 trance-like state brought on by a combination of poverty, political corruption, intellectualism, Marxism, debt, loss of identity and dysmorphia, religion, colonisation, etc
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 skillfully 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 trance-like state brought on by a combination of poverty, political corruption, intellectualism, Marxism, debt, loss of identity and dysmorphia, religion, colonisation, etc. 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. Makhafula is unafraid to summon igwijo from Koketso “The Bull” Poho to detail a story few want to hear.
As a young boy, Makhafula moved to Soweto and away from Limpopo. He feels that if he had experienced a life closer to nature it’d be easier for him to connect to himself and the true essence of his being. Instead, he grew up in Soweto – one of SA’s biggest townships initially established for migrant workers and their families during the apartheid era.
This album is an important part of history as we continue reimagining, redefining and reconstructing our beings as so-called blacks.
*The Concerning Blacks project was released on all major digital streaming platforms on April 6 2021.
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