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Nelson Mandela’s Poet Laureate Zolani Mkiva releases Palestine song for UN day

Nelson Mandela’s Poet Laureate Zolani Mkiva releases Palestine song for UN day

PRESS ALERT:  Nelson Mandela’s Poet Laureate Zolani Mkiva releases tribute song to Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat, marking United Nations Day for Palestine


29 November 2021

The celebrated and world renown poet (and South African parliamentarian), His Royal Heritage Zolani Mkiva, has, together with #Africa4Palestine, the Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation and the Embassy of the State of Palestine, produced a song and music video in celebration of the late Palestinian icon – Yasser Arafat. Click here to watch online

The audio track and music video, titled “Yasser Arafat – Lion of Jerusalem,” has been released on the occasion of and to mark this year’s 44th United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (commemorated by the UN and member countries annually on 29 of November).

HRH Mkiva was appointed by Nelson Mandela as the President’s Poet Laureate. He rose to prominence in the 1990’s as a young imbongi (praise singer) when he had the honour of praising former President Nelson Mandela at a welcome home rally in the then Transkei on his release from Robben Island prison. Consolidating this role, Mkiva was thereafter anointed as Imbongi Yesizwe, (Poet to the Nation) and was the official praise singer at Nelson Mandela’s Presidential inauguration in 1994 (attended by Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro and others). He has worked alongside celebrated artists including Salif Keita, Bayete, Angelique Kidjo, Papa Wemba, Ismael Lo and many other artists, poets and musicians.

In addition to the world of arts, HRH Mkiva is also the Secretary General of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) which represents traditional leaders, royals and rural communities in South Africa. And he is an ANC Member of Parliament wherein he serves as a permanent delegate to South Africa’s National Council of Provinces (NCOP). He is also the Chairperson of Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings and a recipient of one of South Africa’s highest national orders – the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver.

HRH Zolani Mkiva, like many South Africans and people from the African continent, have a close affinity to the Palestinian icon, Yasser Arafat – a hero who assisted in and backed, not only the anti-apartheid struggle, but also several anti-colonial struggles on the continent and the world over. HRH Mkiva first met Yasser Arafat when he traveled alongside Nelson Mandela on one of his earliest trips to Palestine, and thereafter on several occasions.

Mkiva has commented on the release of this song: “Palestinians are not only friends to us but are part and parcel of the African family. We share a myriad of common experiences with them and President Yasser Arafat has played a pioneering role in creating the bond amongst our peoples”

Song Title: Yasser Arafat – Lion of Jerusalem
Artist: HRH Zolani Mkiva (@HisRoyalHeritage)
Editing & filming: Daastaan Media (@daastaan.media)
Venue & location: Freedom Park Museum (@freedom_parksa)
Produced by: #Africa4Palestine, Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation, Embassy of Palestine

Click here to watch on YouTube “Yasser Arafat – Lion of Jerusalem” by Zolani Mkiva


For an interview with the poet and artist, HRH Zolani Mkiva, please contact +27 (0) 83 453 8690

Suite 3 | Park Center | 75 12th Street | Parkhurst | Johannesburg
PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg

Africa4Palestine is a registered Non-Profit Company. Registration Number: 2020/549404/08
Africa4Palestine is a registered Section 18 Public Benefit Organization. Registration Number: 930071587

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