Deluge in Swarga

Wazi M Kunene Deluge in Swarga

Writer: Andisiwe Nakani

Photographs: Supplied

The captivating images, imagery, colours, sound and textures in the opening of Deluge in Swarga set Wazi Kunene apart and certainly compel one to calm down, shut down, listen up and be completely present.

’s haunting and potent performance is a remarkable portrayal of artistry. She brings her entire self to the stage and still leaves room for the audience. She takes you on a journey and leaves you to float between knowing and having absolutely no idea of anything besides the well of emotion and forgotten remembrance that her colourful and powerful vocabulary evokes.

Wazi M Kunene Deluge in Swarga Culture review magazine

Carrying the performance ever so effortlessly Kunene, ‘the chameleon’ as she has been called by others, gently oscillates between pieces like Baptism Water, Holocaust, Shrouds and Elusive. The poems sound like an embroidery of story stitched together by themes of poverty, love, pain, religion, death, blackness and a fierce will to live out loud.

Between the flimsy swirling and twirling of stage smoke, her words and her voice seem to seduce your imagination with their almost lazy rhythm drawing from a depth of an ‘insatiable blaze’ just to borrow some of her words. With words like ‘furnace’, ‘inferno’, ‘blaze’ and ‘smouldering’ she paints wild and vivid images that resonate with the audience. One almost feels like they are privy to some sacred ritual that is at once extremely personal and a shared experience.

Wazi M Kunene Deluge in Swarga Culture review magazine

Deluge in Swarga is not simply poetry or spoken word, it is an entire theatrical performance weaving story-telling, poetry and music into a moving ensemble. It is a reflection and a tale of grave and brave lived realities that are the golden thread to the shared experiences of blackness. It is a beckoning to interrogate the identities and behaviours we assume and justify.

Embedded in rich textures and emotions some of the most poignant pieces have to be “Holocaust” and “Baptism Water” delivered in that eerie and ‘other worldly’ fashion that has come to characterize Kunene’s work.

“When did you learn to hide the ashes of a holocaust in your hair?

A shadow of a blaze clings onto your curls.

You have made too many friends now.

You have called the wind on yourself.

Everybody will see the roaring smoke now.


Where did you learn to soak in the echoes with your eyes?

Having seen the fierce chance of a fire storm stifle the air.

You did not survive that day.

Your grandmother thinks the three of you survived that day.

The inferno does not forget.

You cannot outlive your roast…

The holocaust cannot survive itself either

Where did you learn to eat yourself?

-excerpt from “Holocaust”

With her bold and beautiful voice, she chants right through the performance weaving the gentle and gruesome with the skill of a wordsmith and brilliant story teller.

Beyond being quite magical the treasure in Kunene’s words and expression is how real it is. It’s not fictional, the imagery is striking and colourful with truths that moved some audience members to tears with pieces like “Baptism Water”:

“Things we thought would drown in our baptism water.

Memory. Poverty has returned to stretch its arms on your night.

It says you have never seen me yawn now you will know that I have no flaw.

Feel your every bone turn to ash, first your knees. I do not fear prayer. Remember crumbling…

You will remember children you have killed,

stuffing scripture in their noses.

They are trees now. “

-excerpt from “Baptism Water”

Kunene’s poetry and stage presence is enchanting and absolutely unforgettable. The depth of her expression and play between the gentle and brutal beckons one to not only listen but meditate on the stories she tells.


Black Artistry


Writer: Rithuli Orleyn

Photograph: Musa N. Nxumalo


It’s a known fact that Blacks don’t have land and are therefore without the primary source of wealth. But Blacks are talented as fuck. There is no reason why so many of us, 13 million we are told, must live under the so-called breadline. Blacks are so driven they come to Jo’burg, live on a couch (at a friend’s place who is long gatvol with their black-ass), Continue reading “Black Artistry”

Ode To Black

ode to black -culture review magazine
Black is the colour of mourning and melancholy. Black epitomises stealth; it is
central to clandestine ventures and cool lonesomeness. Black is the colour of
executive cars, gadgets, accessories and clothing. Eternally beautiful, Black is the
colour of the universe, the infinite deep dark unknown abyss. Black is a wormhole,
mysterious and ever-receding, absorbing everything around it and revealing
nothing. Black is all colours mixed together, perhaps the sum of the visible. Black is
the only colour without light, though full and empty.

Continue reading “Ode To Black”

Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Dark Fall From Grace











Writer: Sfiso Atomza

Photograph: Pregnant woman blue: Inner views by Zwelethu Mthethwa

I never knew about Zwelethu Mthethwa, a South African Artist and now Murderer. He created socially engaged work, large-scale, gorgeous photographs of the marginalized citizens of his native South Africa, they spoke of him. His color-saturated portraits made no mistakes in capturing subjects like migrant workers and Christian missionaries, whose expression speak so much of a familiar story. Continue reading “Zwelethu Mthethwa’s Dark Fall From Grace”

Sabelo Soko – Umkhondo

Poet Sabelo Soko Umkhondo. Culture Review

Writer: Xolani Tembu

Photograph: Musa N Nxumalo

Listening to Sabelo Soko’s second offering, Umkhondo, one can almost hear echoes of Sipho Mabuse’s Thaba Bosiu, those of the iconic Madala Kunene’s Ubombo and even Hugh Masekela’s Stimela. Needless to say, this album sets Soko hills apart from his compeers, certainly earning him the esteemed title ‘Bra’ Sabza. Continue reading “Sabelo Soko – Umkhondo”

Ke e rekilemachina-eng

Writer: Blackhouse Kollective
Photography: Blackhouse Kollective

the blackhouse kollective educational exhibition at bree taxi-rank,during december 2016, publicly defied the rainbow reconciliation farce. displaying work titled sankofa – lest we forget, our exposition was greeted by police bullying. shabbily donned street-vendors poised helplessly at the receiving end of that police violence.

Continue reading “Ke e rekilemachina-eng”