UP Fellow shines at the South African Literature Awards

Posted on November 08, 2022

University of Pretoria Fellow Dr Nokuthula Mazibuko Msimang won the Chairperson’s Award at the 2022 South African Literature Awards on 7 November 2022 in recognition of her body of work over the past 30 years.

She shares the award with acclaimed feminist poet Lebo Mashile. Legendary writer and publisher Muthobi Mutloatse and writer Vusi Mchunu were awarded lifetime achievement awards.

“I’m really delighted that the national Department of Arts and Culture and the South African Literary Awards are supporting my work. It’s hard to work as an artist so getting this recognition makes me deliriously happy,” said an elated Dr Mazibuko Msimang.

Dr Mazibuko Msimang is based at UP’s Faculty of Humanities and the Future Africa Institute where she is currently writing a biography on musical legend Dolly Rathebe. The fellowship was inaugurated by UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe in 2021.

“The University of Pretoria has been incredibly supportive of me as a writer, giving me the space to read, write and think. I wouldn’t have been able to take this undertaking if I didn’t have that support,” she said.

Dr Mazibuko Msimang has worked as a writer, academic, producer, and broadcaster where she created values-based content for audiences and readers on multiple platforms. She is part of the Puku Children’s Literature network where she consults on special projects. Her current academic work also entails supervising master’s students at The School for the Creative Economy (AFDA) where she also lectures part time. She is interested in narratives of peace, healing, courage, music and motherhood.

She has published seven books for young readers: In the Fast Lane (2003, translated into isiXhosa by Dr. Xolisa Guzula); A Mozambican Summer (2005); Spring Offensive (2006); Love Songs for Nheti (2006); Freedom Song (2008); Qhawe! Mokgadi Caster Semenya (2021, Pendoring Awards 2021 finalist) celebrating the life of the champion gold medalist and Soweto tea Party (Pendoring Awards 2022 finalist) an autobiographical picture book about her father’s life as a freedom fighter.  Her debut adult novel is titled The Daughters of Nandi (2021).

Dr Mazibuko Msimang’s books for young readers celebrate positive cultural and social values, and encourage self-love, confidence, courage and resilience. In 2003, she was awarded the Bessie Head writing fellowship, which enabled her to complete and publish the collective biography, Spring Offensive.

Her films explore topics such as women’s empowerment, popular culture, politics and music. Dr Mazibuko Msimang has written and directed the films for e.tv, the SABC and the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). These include Lady Was a Mshoza (1999), The Gift of Song (2000), The Spirit of No Surrender (2006), and Mantswe a Bonono (2005).  

Vice-Chancellor Kupe congratulates D Mazibuko Msimang on her “outstanding and well-deserved accolade!”

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