Mzi Mahola
(South Africa, 1949)   

“Mahola’s tone is intensely private, usually meditated and somber; and his style has a humble simplicity that might cause his observations to be overlooked. His collections include: Strange Things (Snailpress 1994) and When Rains Come (Snailpress 2000).” – Chris Doherty, New Coin

Mzi Mahola was born in 1949 in Lushington, near Alice, in the Eastern Cape and grew up under the hogs back mountains. He moved to New Brighton Township in 1962 and in 1979 became the South African Amateur Bantam Weight boxing champion. He worked for the Port Elizabeth Museum, first as a technical assistant, then as an educator, until 1997.

He currently runs a spaza shop (a small retail business)in Zwide. In 1999 he completed a BA Honours degree in Literature at Vista University with a dissertation on the poet, Tatamkhulu Afrika. He is married with four children. Mahola’s deceptively simple, lucid poetry has a deep respect for the processes of nature and for traditional wisdom.

It is the record of a man sadly watching these processes erode while embracing the political which embraces them. His work is a search for a common morality in the different perspectives of rural and urban, strange and familiar, traditional and political.

He is a poet writing for his people, insisting that they do not oversimplify issues, urging them not to jettison in the past as they move on to the future.



Strange Things (1994)
When Rains Come (2000)


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