“Dear Miriam, I am holding the keys to your song in my hands,
I know you opened the world with a mouth full of teeth clinging to the border”
Thirteen years have flown by since the passing of the iconic relic of African song, struggle, and culture: Zenzile Miriam Makeba. In the wake of her birth month, Poet and Founder of the Poetry Zone ZA, Mandisa Vundla is seen invoking the spirit of Makeba in the Poetry film titled: an ode, a love song for Miriam. Vundla is dressed and styled as Miriam and together with a dancer and a vocalist, each are possessed by Makeba’s creative energy and are encouraged to find their own identity and voice as artists living, working, and creating under these uncertain times.
In the poem, Vundla weaves together her own words of remembrance through poetry to honor Makeba and to recall the love, contribution and devotion she carried for her country. Vundla is not alone in remembering Miriam, she has called on formidable poets within the poetry sector such as Lebo Mashile, Natalia Molebatsi, Mthunzikazi Mbungwane, Vangile Gantsho, Malika Ndlovu, Makhosazana Xaba, Lex Lafoy and MoAfrika wa Mokgathi, to share ways in which Mama Africa has impacted their lives personally or creatively. All their stories will be archived on the Poetry Zone ZA and Mandi Vundla’s social media pages.
Mandisa Vundla will also release A love Song for Miriam as a single on World Poetry Day – Sunday, March 21, 2021. A Love song for Miriam is also the title poem for Vundla’s poetry album and is scheduled for release mid-year 2021. The poetry album is a collaboration of poetry and music and is composed in Makeba’s honor. Poems such as Black-Out, Uyinene, Bloody Alphabet and the likes, are dribbled between jazz, a touch of the blues and African sounds. The album lends voice to the current state of emergency where black lives and woman’s bodies are under siege. It moves between making salutations ‘For Gogo Ester Mahlangu’ to probing how “black men want to fight for land without returning women’s bodies from the places where they have stolen us.” And continues to ask: “Whose job is it to teach the men that no grows its own body?”
A Love Song for Miriam Makeba is a poetry album written by Mandisa Mvundla who is a Soweto born Poet, Educator, Curator and Founder of The Poetry Zone Za.