This book chronicles the life, times and poetry of extraordinary Xhosa praise poet, the late David Yali-Manisi, and his growing friendship and fruitful working relationship with the author. Jeff Opland is a renowned scholar who is recognised world-wide as a foremost authority on Xhosa izibongo or praises. His perceptive account gives insight not only into Manisi himself, but the complex art form of praise poetry - a spontaneous performance art of extraordinary subtlety and sophistication that, as Opland notes, embodies in itself the ancestral culture, history and politics of the Xhosa nation.What is unique about this book is the personal dimension that Opland brings to the subject, fusing impeccable scholarship with self-reflective and autobiographical narrative. The book incorporates a variety of styles, from autobiographical to verbatim interview, and its shift of voice reflect the author's own internal journey as his deepening friendship with Manisi works its humanising alchemy. Opland assumes, increasingly, the role of conduit for Manisi's dynamic but tragically undervalued talent.The book is a celebration of the supreme talent of a gifted African poet, and the interaction of a black and a white South African reaching out to each other.