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Izibongo Zoogxa: Poems on Contemporaries (1902–1944)

Mqhayi’s Izibongo Zoogxa is a collection of 39 poems about persons and personages who lived during his lifetime (1875–1945). Originally published in ephemeral newspapers, none of the poems has subsequently been republished; all appear here in more permanent form for the first time.

Mqhayi’s poetry was directed at readers of the Xhosa language (isiXhosa) and sought to encourage them, instil in them pride and hope, and sway them towards a more humane disposition. One of the striking features of the poems in this collection is the range of subjects, not just Xhosa but also Zulu, Sotho, and Tswana; not just black leaders but white as well; male and female; South African as well as British and German; close friends as well as foreign politicians; chiefs and commoners.

Samuel Mqhayi was a much-admired, much-celebrated poet, a true man of the people, who lived his life, as he signed himself, enkonzweni yesizwe (in the service of the nation). The poems assembled here offer insights not only into their subjects but also into the life and thought of Mqhayi himself, Imbongi yesizwe jikelele (Poet of the entire nation), a cultural icon, humane patriot, and passionate inspiration to his people.

ISBN Number: 978 1 86914 551 4
Year of publication: 2024
Publisher: UKZN Press
Link: Izibongo Zoogxa: Poems on Contemporaries (1902–1944)

Jeff Opland
Ntombomzi Mazwi
Publication Type