IsiXhosa authors bag literary awards

The author of the book, Intlungu Yevezandlebe, Yamkela Ntwalana, says winning the South African Literary Awards (SALA) on Monday means that the isiXhosa language is alive.

Author and teacher, Yamkela Ntwalana won a Novel Award at the SALA.

He was speaking with I’solezwe lesiXhosa after returning to Mthatha after winning the Novel Award at this year’s SALA in Johannesburg.

According to Ntwalana, this award also indicates that his writing abilities are being recognised.

“The topics I write about are topics that are needed in society – so that they can improve the things that are happening and are happening incorrectly,” the author explained.

Ntwalana, who also teaches at Holy Cross High School in Mthatha, was recently named the province’s best isiXhosa teacher at the Teacher Awards.

He claims that this award motivates him to keep writing because his pen never runs dry.

He believes that the title of the book, the picture on the cover of the book of a person hanging themself, and the themes in the book such as not knowing your background, grief, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts drew the judges’ attention to his book.

“These are the things we live among; some end up killing themselves because they do not have anyone to talk to, and they believe these things are not being discussed. And the vocabulary used in this book is quite nice,” said the author.

Mzoli Mavimbela, a native of Port St Johns, won two awards for his two books, Amazembezwembe ka Gxuluwe and Zigqitywa Kuhlwile Zibonwe Liwuhlabile.

Mzoli Mavimbela walked away with two awards at the SALA.

He says that receiving these awards means that his efforts to promote the isiXhosa language have been recognised by many people, particularly linguists.

“In a nutshell, I plant what grows. Perhaps the judges chose me because of the high quality of the isiXhosa vocabulary I used in these books,” Mavimbela speculated.

In addition, Mavimbela works as a social worker in George, Western Cape.