Mzwakhe Mbuli

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Mzwakhe Mbuli (1959-). Well known cultural figure and self-styled “people’s poet”.

Biography

Born and grew up in Sophiatown, where he learnt to dance and sing and recite. He began appearing as performance poet at all occasions, notably at the funerals of political activists during the 1980s. His album of performance poetry Now is the Time, containing the best of his forceful and direct political poems, was banned on appearance. Several times detained and allegedly tortured by police between 1985 and 1990. Performed at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

In 1997 he was controversially arrested on charges of bank robbery and sentenced to 13 years in prison, later reduced to 10 years. He received a presidential pardon and was released after a number of years in jail.

Sources

Sunday Tribune, 26 July 2015.

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