TALKING with – and not to – Khahlishang Mametja, one of Limpopo’s Performance Poet and Writers feels like one is attending a 300-year-long African political rally with only one agenda: the freedom of the soul of the black folk.
The first impression upon meeting the wordsmith par excellence is that of feistiness, of rigorous intelligence, all coupled with a delightful sense of humour.
In an Interview with African Times, Mametja poured his heart out about his past, present and future.
One thing that was immediately notable is that he is a well-travelled man.
Born in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga 27 years ago he relocated to the City of Gold, Joburg, before settling at the Polokwane suburb of Penina Park.
The young poet describes himself as “a Pedi product of Greater Africa.”
At his tender age, Mametja comes across as someone who has already observed a fair share of revolutions.
As he takes a trip down memory lane, he reminisces about the journey he has travelled thus far.
“I’ve been performing my poetry since the age of 14. With a three part band called CREAM (Christ Rules Everything Around Me). My most cherished gigs and events include the Shindig Awe held annually in Haenerstburg in the Mopani district of Limpopo,” Kgahlishang reminisced.
“I have also featured at The Royal Palace in Holland for the June 16th memorial, held by the Ambassadors of The Netherlands. At the opening ceremony of The One Billion Rising, an activism against woman and child abuse, I also had a stint at an event held in Cape Town. Furthermore, I have also performed frequently at The Piano Bar with jazz band ‘Chasing Summers’ at Green Point. Then there was Commune1, Ayanda Mabulu’s Art Exhibition hosted by Andile Mngxitama.”
All these exquisite poetic rhythms are drawn from inspiration by Don Mattera, the literary colossal in Reversing The Legacy, a 10-day re-enactment of the 1913 Land Act, which was sanctioned by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It doesn’t end there.
“I’ve explored various realms of the Hip-Hop culture too. I have already performed at various other events, including Nelson Mandela’s passing and memorial tributes. I’ve just published and printed a conceptual book which I describe to be an Art Gallery called ‘LEWATLE: The Gallery’, which is a compilation of my poetry, photography and short stories. It’s not an anthology yet its structure is unorthodox. It will be available soon online. I’ve also featured on various media platforms such as Tshwane FM and Zest Magazine in Pretoria. There’s more I do in the lines of helping high scholars in finding their driving force,” Mametja explained.
And there is also that businessman in him that he allows to co-exist with the dominant poet.
“That’s the passion element of my life… my career falls in the electrifying waters of renewable energy. I run a business called MAATLA Energy where we do innovative advancements with solar, hydro and wind power to advance rural access to power and water.”
During his recent interview, Mametja’s Afro-diaspora Revolution 101 was felt by many.
POT26: Artistic penman and poet Kgahlishang Mametja oozes feistiness, meticulous brainpower, all coupled with a delightful sense of humour.