“Makhafula Vilakazi’s 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 HIV and AIDS, unemployment and crime. An exponent of a genre which he calls ‘Kasie Poetry’, Makhafula Vilakazi says his writing is influenced and inspired by the striking similarities of life’s contrasts.”
Makhafula Vilakazi’s dedication to the upliftment of Black people is evident in his poetry. He does not shy away from pointing out the rot but also reminds us that healing and all its processes are our own responsibility. In a few days Makhafula will stage his first solo show in 5 years- ‘Concerning Blacks’. Our editor Quaz Roodt asked him a few questions.
QR: It’s been 5 years since your last show. I’m excited to hear and see you again alongside Iphupo L’ka Biko. You describe your upcoming show as “a complex mourning and rebellion that places the onus on black people to do with their condition and lives as they see fit”. What is the current state of blackness from your vantage point?
MV: I get a feeling that we need to go back and ask ourselves who we were before the Columbus disaster. We brought the light of civilisation to mankind and yet we find ourselves at the bottom because of what has happened to us in the past 500 years or so. Currently, we have been defined by these land grabbing thieves as ugly, raping baboons who are incapable of determining their own destiny. The majority of us have accepted that definition. That, in my view, is where we are.
QR: Your work has always been a visceral representation of the South African township. What do these townships look and sound like in 2018?
MV: To me nothing has changed. The township cannot be fixed or improved. It has to be eradicated
QR: Your poetry is steeped in Black consciousness and black affirmation. How can we turn Biko’s ideals and philosophies into practice?
MV: I sense that the solution is a United States of Africa. Being black is a universal experience, we experience oppression no matter where we are in the world. This shared burden is what must Unite and galvanise us. Africans in the continent and in the diaspora must unite and work towards a common Vision. A vision to rediscover the glorious legacy that our ancestors left. I legacy which the colonialist seem to have succeeded in destroying.
QR: Your new album is set to be released early next year. What can we look forward to?
MV: I have written about the black condition in the townships of occupied Azania. With this project, I attempt to contextualise this experience. The reason we are where we are is because our land was stolen from us in 1652. the only way we can rediscover our humanity is to take back the land that was stolen from us. My sense is that we can no longer be apologetic about that. We can no longer be apologetic about the fact that we live in a settler colony and that the rainbow nation is a failed project. My upcoming project is a very small contribution to getting us back on the right path. A pan Africanist path.
QR: Please share with our readers some poets or poems that inspire you.
MV: “Time has run out” by Wally Serote is an important poem to me. “Africa my beginning” by Madingoane even more so. As a poet, I am a product of Ike Muila, Lesego Rampolokeng, Mutabaruka, Sipho Sepalma, Lefifi Tladi, Zwesh Fi Kush, Oswald Mtshali, Wally Serote.
QR: I love you my brother. Thank you for sharing your time with us.
MV: Dankie Richard ?