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“COVID 19 Classic” is a powerful message from the iconic, ‘people’s poet’, Mzwake Mbuli. A call to South African citizens to take personal responsibility in the time of COVID.
Mzwakhe Mbuli is a former Deacon at Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Soweto South Africa.
Mbuli is a poet and Mbaqanga singer and is dubbed “The People’s Poet”.
Mzwake’s poetry are mainly transcribed in English but draw on his native Zulu as well as traditional praise poetry and rap. “Change is Pain”, a protest piece about oppression and revolution was initially banned until growing pressure forced South Africa to allow more freedom of speech.
Throughout the 1980s Mzwakhe was repeatedly detained by the authorities and denied a passport to travel while playing a leading role in the Cultural activities of the United Democratic Front. His international career began in 1990 in Berlin, Germany when he shared the stage with Youssou N’dour, Miriam Makeba and Thomas Mapfumo. An imposing figure, standing well over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, he performed at the funeral of Chris Hani, the assassinated head of the South African Communist Party, and at the presidential inauguration Nelson Mandela in 1994. In 1996 Mbuli was invited to London to co-host, with British poet and activist Benjamin Zephaniah, the Two Nations Concert at the Albert Hall to honor President Nelson Mandela on his visit to London . Later in the year, he returned to the UK to join Peter Gabriel, Youssour N’dour and other prominent African artists to record the fundraising Aids Album.
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