KwaZulu-Natal poet Ntobeko Mxolisi Mtshali has died at the age of 39 following an illness. Details around his death or the nature of his illness are still sketchy. However, according to social media reports, he died in hospital on Monday, 04 December 2023.
Mtshali, who hails from Nongoma, is best-known for his popular poem Zulu Love Letter and for being the founder of Poet in a Suit, an annual poetry event which usually takes place in Durban.
Mtshali’s death is a double blow to the poetry industry and the province of KwaZulu-Natal as it comes just over a week after that of another well-known poet from Howick, Sicelo Mpungose, who died in a car accident on Sunday, 26 November 2023.
Condolence messages have been pouring in on social media since the news of Mtshali’s passing emerged. Bishop Vusi Dube of Ethekwini Community Church (ECC) had this to say in Facebook: “It was with [a] heavy heart to learn of the passing 💔 of one of ECC sons Mxolisi Mtshali “Love Letter Engabhori”. He once served in the youth committee and participated in organizing Abstinance Walks! Rest in peace Hlabangani!! Ulwile wakunqoba ukufa!!”