Poet Profile: MakhafulaVilakazi

Quaz | December 2nd, 2020 | poet profile | No Comments
Going by the name “MakhafulaVilakazi” (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, unemployment and crime.

MakhafulaVilakazi has performed at various events such as the Botsotso Poetry Festival, the Jozi Spoken Word Festival, Speak the mind (Arts Alive Festival), Be connected International Festival, Music Mayday Festival, Poetry Africa, Wordnsound literary festival, among others. In 2012 he was a guest commentator in the critically acclaimed documentary series “Why are we so angry?” where he unpacked society’s social ills and also recited his poetry. He has published some of his poems in an anthology “Sections of Six” which was published by Botsotso Publishers.

image by Tseliso Monaheng

In 2008 he won the B-Connected competition in Soweto run by international creative arts organisation “Music Mayday”– a competition which saw him represent South Africa at the Music Mayday Annual Festival in Tanzania, performing along artists from Ethiopia, Holland and Tanzania.

MakhafulaVilakazi 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) in 2012.
In 2014 he participated in a documentary by the legendary Lesego Rampolokeng titled “Word Down The Line” which also featured poets such as the late Mafika Gwala, Prof Kgositsile and Kgafela.

In 2013 MakhafulaVilakazi released his first album titledI Am Not Going Back To the township“. The album features Samthing Soweto, Impande Core and Poet/SAfm radio presenter KhanyiMagubane. MakhafulaVilakazi says his first project is about re[de]fining the black person’s identity by scrutinizing history and the effects of historical events on, particularly black Africans.

In 2018 he performed Concerning Blacks at Joburg Theatre to a sell-out venue bursting at the seams. In 2019 he moved performed Mandela Is Dead to two sold-out shows at the Soweto Theatre.

This December 5 2020 he will give his fans in Pretoria a preview of his upcoming sophomore album, Concerning Blacks which is scheduled for release in April 2020. The Pretoria performance, his first, promises to be one of his best performance yet.


Paradoxes of beauty in despair fill the spaces in between each poem. In some way, each poem calls us back to ourselves and our own contradictions. The music between becomes a salve for all the hurts we feel and sometimes awfully impose.” Culture Review

“The force of his work comes from the idiom of the township street and the sighs and cries of generations kept down by successive racist regimes” Mail & Guardian

“His work is real. It exists within the realm of his life and is delivered in a way that shows the subject matter has been lived, which is why many find it eerie. The “poetry” box is also problematic because of his narrative style, which keeps his verse unpretentious. The way he presents kasitaal in a tome designed for academic probing is entertaining. He makes his language beautiful while detailing horrible truths about the township, love, capitalism and domestic violence.” The Citizen 2013

“His poetry touches on township life in all its animated splendour. MakhafulaVilakazi is a street poet with a lyrical trick up his sleeve.” The Sowetan

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