We are blessed says poet Dumisani Mhlanga

We are blessed says poet Dumisani Mhlanga
Published: 20 November 2014 | by Newsday

Dumisani Mhlanga (36), popularly known in the music industry as Imbongi ka Zulu or Uzulu Omnyama, is one of Bulawayo�s multi-talented artistes.

Report by Sheryleen Masuku
He has been in the arts industry since the late 90s and his talents as a dancer, actor, musician and poet keep him active on the local arts scene.

In 2009, he released an album titled Wangena Uzulu Omnyama that caused a stir on local airwaves.

He has worked with renowned artistes such as Cont Mhlanga and featured in one of Jeys Marabini videos.

Mhlanga has graced local television productions such as a play titled Uhuru, co-written by Raisedon Baya and Christopher Mlalazi.

He studied for a Diploma in Dance, Poetry, Acting, Music and Script Writing at Ugqhozi Lwesiko Arts College in South Africa before storming the arts scene back home.

NewsDay had a chat with the poet to discuss his career.

Below are some of the excerpts of the interview the artiste (DM) had with our correspondent Sheryleen Masuku (ND).

ND: Why do you call yourself Uzulu Omnyama?
DM: I am dark in complexion. I love the name because I am proud of being a black person. We as black people are not cursed, but we are blessed with so much natural wealth.

ND: Where do you normally perform?
DM: I perform at funerals, corporate functions such as end-of-year parties, weddings and music shows. I have performed at festivals, including Intwasa Arts Festival. I performed at the first gala that was held for the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and at several other national events.

ND: Do you write poems for each event?
DM: I write a specific poem for each event. At weddings, I mainly perform a poem titled Uthando Luhle and it has proven to be popular with guests.

ND: What makes your art unique?
DM: I speak 10 languages, Suthu, Ndebele, Shona, Kalanga, Venda, Tonga, Nambia, Shangani, Xhosa and English. I can do poetry or sing in any of the languages.

ND: Which artistes have you shared the stage with?
DM: I have shared the stage with the likes of Freddy Gwala, Dan Tshanda, Platform One and many local artistes.

ND: Are you planning to release another album?
DM: Yes, another album is on its way. It will feature some artistes from South Africa and the United Kingdom

ND: What are you working on currently?
DM: I travel with Professor Welshman Ncube and I perform at his rallies. I am proud of the fact that he appreciates my work as an artiste. He respects arts and culture.

ND: Are you involved in politics?
DM: I am not in politics. I am simply reviving culture through poetry. It is traditional in our culture that a senior person does not just begin to address people. At gatherings, a poet would first address the crowd before a senior person�s address.

ND: What can you tell us about your beliefs?
DM: I am a Christian. I attend a Pentecostal church. I am a spiritual poet. I also perform at church praising the Lord.
I have written songs that praise the Lord such as Poet for a Purpose, which is number three on the album. Track number two Thandaza is also another song that testifies to my beliefs.

ND: What would you encourage upcoming artistes to do?
DM: I have leant that perseverance pays. I have received a lot of acknowledgement from the Press.
Currently, all recording companies in the city would like to work with me.
I appreciate God for showing me his favour and I would like to encourage other artistes to persevere. Artistes should not misbehave in public. We are role models in our society.


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