S.E.K. Mqhayi

Iziganeko Zesizwe Occasional Poems (1900-1943)

Edited by: Jeff Opland, Peter T. Mtuze

Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi (1875-1945) was the most prominent South African imbongi of his day, a Xhosa oral poet who declaimed his impromptu poetry on occasions of significance to his people. The author of numerous works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, biography, autobiography, and translation, Mqhayi's contributions to Xhosa-language newspapers remains unparalleled in scope and volume. This book reclaims and assembles a chronological sequence of Mqhayi's occasional poems, for the most part now unknown. Sixty poems celebrate significant events in the calendar, on occasions of national or international importance. They constitute Iziganeko zesizwe, a chronicle of the nation, between 1900 and 1943: poetic responses to events from the perspective of the greatest figure in Xhosa literature. Wars feature prominently in these occasional poems-the Boer War, the First World War, the invasion of Abyssinia, and the Second World War-as do political deputations to England, visits from British princes and the death of British kings, the appearance of Halley's Comet, and meetings with Ministers of State. Running through the collection is Mqhayi's proud and fierce determination to maintain an identity rooted in custom and history in the face of territorial dispossession, the loss of title deeds and the vote, and the steady erosion of human rights. Throughout these years, Mqhayi remained constant in offering praise and encouragement to his people, in celebrating their achievements, and in expressing Christian consolation and an unflinching faith in the future liberation of South Africa's black population from foreign control. (Series: Publications of the Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature, Vol. 4) [Subject: African Studies, Poetry]

Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869143343