introspection

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Here we go again
February overstating her importance
Hogging the spotlight
What about the other months
The more complete months

Boy, are we myopic
Exposing our impotence
Choosing the shortest month
To celebrate the longest history
My history came before February
Before this calender

World history is black history
But taught from an imposter’s perspective

If it were up to me
March would have taken the honours
‘Cos that’s all we ever do

When unity would accomplish much more
Unite the months for starters
Celebrate black history all year round
Unite kings and queens

Demonstrate a proud legacy
Discover the greatness that lies within

How we carry ourselves an absolutely necessity
By any means necessary more productive

Beat them at their own game
Unite people with purpose

Copyright © knox mahlaba 2015
Author – Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

50 Reasons Not To Date A Poet

Betty Generic

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It may sound romantic, but in search of that elusive metaphor, poets can be somewhat  “eccentric.”

  1. If you date a poet everyone will think you are the jerk they are writing about.
  2. You will be the jerk they are writing about.
  3. They have an unnatural affection for book stores and office supply stores.
  4. They have deep conversations with Animals, Clouds, and Grecian Urns.
  5. Excessive use of  “poetry hands.”
  6. Excessive abuse of  “poetic licence.”
  7. Excessive use of  “melancholy.”
  8. Excessive use of  “dramatic emphasis.”
  9. They collect obscure words that have not been in circulation for at least 100 years or more.
  10. They insert these antediluvian words into conversations just to rebel.
  11. They think children’s books are sublime.
  12. They refuse to care where the remote is.
  13. All of their furniture are positioned around windows, for them to stare out for hours at a time.
  14. Your parents will think they are possessed.
  15. They are possessed.
  16. You…

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african praise poetry – izibongo

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Izibongo is an Nguni term literally meaning ‘clan names’. In SeSotho it is referred to as Dithoko, in SeTswana as Diboko and in SePedi as Diretho.

African oral poetry, the izibongo, are ancient praise poems which are a popular indigenous oral tradition in Southern Africa. Traditionally, it is used to praise kings, queens and all royalty; praise poetry is an essential part of our essence as African people.

It is the vessel of our history, our cultural heritage and our reference point on how to express ourselves.

Africans in general rely on praise poetry to identify themselves because many Africans have clan names which form the basis of our identity. These clan names are bound together in sequence or hierarchy relative to geography, history, lineage and major historical events.

Praise poetry is used to compile and narrate the history, heritage and lineage of a people, family, a nation, etc.

During the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa this ancient tradition was revived and widely used for protest poetry at large public gatherings.

This ancient tradition is also used to praise and celebrate the legacy of individuals of note and record events of great importance – battles, wars, famine, floods, marriage, births, deaths, arrivals of foreigners, freedom, etc.

Excerpt from a translation of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela praises:
It’s a dream of the dead
It’s a dream that people thought would never come true
People have cried till they gave up
How many souls are under the ground?
How many corpses because of Mandela
Mandela Mandela
Mandela Mandela…

In my recently published book, Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit, I have included three praise poems dedicated to Nelson Mandela (Caught Forever), Martin Luther King Jr (Schooling Us) and Steve Biko (Urban Legend).

I have also written tribute pieces to celebrate the legacies of Thomas Sankara and Robert Sobukwe, and I am currently researching Nat Turner with the intention of writing a tribute piece based on his contribution to the struggle for freedom for all.

Praise poetry is often used to invoke the presence of the ancestors in healing ceremonies, funerals and weddings.

coming back from the dead

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Coming back from the dead
Rising from the ashes
The earth rumbling from within
From within the hearts of a few good men
Sons of mummies
Soldiers of reason…..

An excerpt from  “Coming back from the dead”  – complete poem can be found in the anthology of poetry – Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

Copyright © knox mahlaba 2014
Author – Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

book reviews

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  • By Adrina Smith on November 1, 2014

    Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

    This book will take you on a quest for actuality. I was simply drawn in from the page to the last. The descriptive and narrative steps taken to absorb the reader with the simplicity of survival but embarks on the empowerment through slavery and civil rights.

    The hardship detailed from Knox Mahlaba, who has loved, lost, rebuilt and matured through obstacles.

    Favorite quotes:
    “Freedom a costly preoccupation, using the past to shepherd the future.”
    “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument”

schooling us

Back From The Dead

Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Decrying inequality
Preferring a peaceful path
Walking to Selma
Marching to D.C.
Writing a letter for the struggle for freedom
Standing your ground
Standing tall
Remaining upright
Taking the high ground
Placing your family at a peril….

Excerpt from Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

Copyright © knox mahlaba 2014
Author – Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

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Link

amazon author page

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visit my Amazon author page

and learn more about the author of

Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

 

book reviews

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  • By T. Lawrence on October 16, 2014

    Format: Paperback

    If you want poetry with a message that everyone can use, this is the book for you! These poems are about surviving the odds and finding your inner strength. The main themes of the book are appreciation of nature, accepting all religions, slavery, civil rights, and general politics. Political heavyweights such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandella, and Malcolm X are mentioned.This is not an anthology of fluffy poetry and flowery descriptions. These poems are about exposing hard truths in a variety of areas. The author writes about controversial issues regarding his home country of Africa while superimposing them on the entire world. However, the reader doesn’t have to agree with his viewpoint to appreciate his honest and skilled writing technique.

    Knox’s command of the English language is phenomenal! His vocabulary is top notch! I enjoyed his use of about three levels of language: formal language, everyday language with slang, and “slave” language.

    The anthology was full of powerful quotes. The following four sayings are my favorites because they summarize some of the main themes of the book: “You’ll never know how strong you are until being strong is no longer a choice.” “Just ‘cus you been treated like dirt don’t mean you’re dirt.” “Ditch the slave mentality” “Nothing is concrete. We’re all stuck in an emulsion.”

    I look forward to reading more from this author!