Mazisi Kunene was a South African poet well known for his translation of Emperor Shaka the Great, an epic Zulu poetry. Kunene was an ardent supporter and organizer of the anti-apartheid movement in Europe and Africa while in exile from South Africa’s apartheid state. He went on to become Africa’s and South Africa’s first poet laureate and teach at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Kunene was born in Durban, South Africa’s modern province of KwaZulu-Natal, to teachers Eva Kunene (née Ngcobo) and Mdabuli Albert Kunene.

He began writing poems and short stories in Zulu as a child, and by the age of 11 he had been published in local newspapers.

He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Zulu and history from the University of Natal, as well as a Master of Arts in Zulu Poetry.

An Analytical Survey of Zulu Poetry, Both Traditional and Modern was the title of his Master’s thesis.

Kunene critiqued the Zulu literature’s shifting nature and replication of the Western heritage in it. He won a Bantu Literary Competition in 1956 and moved to London, England, in 1959 to study at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Who is Mathabo Kenune, Mazisi Kunene’s wife?

He was married to Mathabo Kunene and had four children with her. In 1973, they married.

Who is Mathabo Kenune, Mazisi Kunene's wife?
Mzisi Kunene and his wife, Mathabo Kenune.

Little is known About Mathabo Kenune. They’re from Durban, South Africa.

Mazizi Kunene’s Death cause


Mazisi Kunene succumbed to cancer in August 2006.

When he died at the age of 76, the African Literature scholar was buried in a private ceremony in his hometown of Amahlongwa.

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