#ZAStrong - Today’s Google Doodle for Mazisi Kunene shows the South African writer, poet and civil rights activist at his work or his task in celebration of his 92nd birthday.
Mazisi Kunene was a South African poet best known for ‘Emperor Shaka the Great’, an epic poem based on the Zulu oral tradition, compiled in the Zulu language and then translated to English by Kunene himself.
The poem chronicles the life of Shaka Zulu, a Zulu ruler who made significant contributions to the Zulu state’s structure and military technology.
Kunene was born in Durban, South Africa and began writing poems and short stories in Zulu as a child - by the age of 11, he had been published in local newspapers.
He became a staunch supporter for the preservation of traditional Zulu poetic traditions as he grew older, and 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.
In 1959, he moved to study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, but Kunene’s move wasn’t just an educational one, he was also fleeing into exile, having opposed the South African apartheid government as the head of the African United Front.
Kunene utilised his art to protest the government’s discriminatory segregation system, and when the South African government retaliated with violence, he escaped to the UK.
Kunene was closely tied to the African National Congress and swiftly rose to become its principal spokesperson in Europe and the United States.
The Google doodle for Mazisi Kunene can now be seen in South Africa, Germany and the UK where Kunene worked.
Download a copy of "Emperor Shaka the Great" below
This is the spirit of #ZAstrong