Trust promotes IsiNdebele literature,usage

By Nqobile Tshili

A LOCAL Trust has embarked on a programme to promote isiNdebele literature after observing that only a few writers were penning novels in the language threatening its future existence.

The Barbara Clara Makhalisa Nkala (BCMN) Literary Trust is working on promoting the development and publishing of Ndebele literature, a reading culture and reading resource centres through funding and training.

It recently sponsored isiNdebele language novel writing competition targeting mainly youthful writers.

The competition saw eight entrants participating in the competition producing a winner and two runners up.

Ms Olivia Mahwaya Sibanda (pictured) came first getting away with US$250 for her novel Futhi Ya while Mr Lindani Phiri was second for his novel Ngayibona Impilo and got US$150 prize money and Ms Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya coming third with her Ayikho Eyagana Inyamazana US$50. The trust will assist authors fine tuning their novels before being published.

It observed that while in the past there was an appetite for writing and reading IsiNdebele language, this culture seems to be fading particularly as few young writers are taking up writing in the language.

BCMN Literary Trust board member and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Eventhough Ndlovu said the trust intends to skill more young writers for sustained isiNdebele literature.

“The backdrop was concern for lack of good Ndebele young writers who can create and sustain Ndebele literature. Without young people producing good literature, we might witness the demise of the Ndebele language. So, I’m determined to do my bit in my own little corner. I appreciate there are others also doing their own work to encourage and uplift the Ndebele language,” said Dr Ndlovu.

He said COVID-19 has affected their programmes on skilling budding isiNdebele writers.

“We note the need to run Ndebele script writing workshops. Actually, we had planned to run two workshops this year in Bulawayo. Unfortunately, COVID-19 took centre stage. We are still hoping we will fit in one workshop towards the end of the year, God willing. We hope to equip Ndebele writers with skills they need to produce good Ndebele literature. Many need to know the basic elements of a good story,” he said.

The trust was founded by Barbara Makhalisa Nkala a welknown Ndebele author and educationist who penned some popular 1970s novels such as Qilindini and Umendo in addition to participating on many radio programmes,dramas and movies such as More Time. She also edited an anthology entitled Giya Mthwakazi-Iqoqo lezimbongi from poems  first broadcast on the programme Abalobi Bakusasa which she presented on ZBC Radio Four,now National FM. After establishing Radiant Publishers Makhalisa Nkala has edited and published works of Isaac Mpofu, Doris Dube,Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya among others and her own Thaph’Uluju a collection of short stories  which will soon be read on ZBC Radio Zimbabwe.

Other founding BCNM Literary Trust members are businessman Shadreck Nkala, business executive Dumisani Nomagugu Nkala, engineer Nomusah Makhalisa Jowah, lawyer and chairperson Nokuthula Moyo, academic Dr Eventhough Ndlovu and broadcast journalist John Masuku.

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