At the corner of Mpumalanga (via N2) and KwaZulu, close to the border of eSwatini stands a peri-urban area known as Mkhondo.
It is home to some of the finest talent this country has seen in recent history, from international operatic soprano, Pretty Yende to Hip Hop megastar, Ntokozo "K.O" Mdluli. Miss South Africa 2016, Ntandoyenkosi Kunene to Kaizer Chiefs rising star Wandile Duba.
As Mkhondo locals would often say "...ikhono l'khon' eMkhondo."
Named after its longest and ever flowing river, Umkhondo ongashi, the town is a wetland of political and cultural heritage.
Mrs Nomhlangano Beauty Mkhize is one of the few South Africans who hold an order of Luthuli and she is from Mkhondo.
The Ntombe drift where the Ntombe battle of 1879 took place runs from Mkhondo.
The town was a strategic point during apartheid; used by freedom fighters going to or returning from exile eSwatini.
IsiZulu neSiSwati are interchangeable to a point of breaking a language in Mkhondo.
To celebrate this rich history as well as the cultural and artistic significance of the town, poet and creator, Sabelo Soko founded the Umkhondo Experience in 2019.
Since its formation the initiative has given 18 artists from Mkhondo an opportunity to showcase their art at the prestigious Joburg Theatre.
This year's program features poets Makhafula Vilakazi, Vus'umuzi Phakathi, Mak Manaka and Nomashenge Dlamini who will join Sabelo Soko on a retreat in the evergreen lands of Mkhondo.
The poets will participate in the weekend's program which includes live performances, Umkhondo Social Market, guided tours, word-shops, morning hikes, fashion show by Mzimasi Zooci and lots of fun with local creatives and musicians curated by #GunLifeTour.
Kuzoba mnamdi kakhulu.
Emahlathini Guest Farm events has created a package with limited space for people who are interested to join the poets on this retreat. The package includes transport which leaves from Joburg Theatre on Friday 1 December and returns Sunday 3 December; a stay at Emahlathini Guest Farm; breakfast as well as all the fun one can have over a big weekend.
For enquiries and bookings contact 067 941 2341. Asambeni.