Mavimbela’s historic novel shines a light on Mpondo people

Author, Mzoli Mavimbela.

IsiXhosa literary writer, Mzoli Mavimbela’s goal is to have his new book Amazwembezwembe kaGxuluwe taught in schools and translated into a play.

This book, which exposes the rich history of the Mpondo tribe was released last year after he worked on it for a decade.

The book is fictional, but it has been verified by research on the traditional temple of the Mpondo people of Qawukeni and Nyandeni.

Mavimbela says the title was derived from the idiom expressing the ups and downs Gxuluwe experienced the day he met the Thwa people [traditional foragers].

Mavimbela says that the research started in 2002 after an elderly man from the Nyawuza clan in Mtyu, told him a fascinating story.

“It was that history of Mpondo people told by the elderly man that ignited the spark to set this in motion. Some articles on Mpondo people’s lineage I have found in books and documented archives. I started the writing process in 2014, I was encouraged by Professor Ncedile Saule at Nelson Mandela University,” said Mavimbela, who is also a social worker.

Amazwembezwembe kaGxuluwe was published by Nkuthalo Media in Cape Town.

He says that what drove him to write this book is the observation that there are no novels that are ethnographic.

“There are a few books that are written about Mpondo people. Yes, Kholile Manciya from Lusikisiki, Malibongwe Ngcai and Z. S. Mdengele from Ngqeleni, had written a lot of books that had stories about Mpondo people, but many hands make light work,” said the Port St. Johns writer.

This book by Mavimbela is being read on Mhlobo Wenene FM in the program called Ufundo Lwencwadi, a slot that caters for book reading.

Mavimbela says that once Professor Saule encouraged him to write non-stop in 2014, he never looked back. He has published a variety of books since then.

He recently released a poetry collection called Thungani Zinjoli Sinxaniwe. He wrote this book together with Phila Rasmeni, Athi Dyantyi and Siwaphiwe Shweni.

This author is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology. He says the reason for this book is to teach more about Mpondo people and the way they speak.