Nkosinathi Percy Mokoena from kwaPhahla in Siyabuswa has finally achieved one of his greatest dream of writing a book in his native isiNdebele language. The book is envisaged for use by children aged 6 to 11 years. Published by Room to Read publishers, his book titled Indlovukazi Yomvumo WesiNdebele will soon hit the shelves in libraries and school shelves.
Born and bred in kwaNdebele, specifically in Siyabuswa village; Mokoena (31) has always had a dream of writing books from an early age. Though he loves mathematics and he is working as an Academic Lecturer at the Nkangala FET College, CN Mahlangu Campus at Maganagobuswa. A position he has held since 2017, prior to that he worked as a teacher at local schools. An alumnus of the University of Cape Town, a selfless leader and a volunteer who never has time to for idle hands.
Speaking to The Village Mag upon receipt of several copies of his new book titled Indlovukazi Yomvumo WesiNdebele, the author said he is hopeful for what the future holds. Furthermore, he hopes this book will encourage the upcoming generation’s will to learn and appreciate the language better.
Based on the internationally renowned Ndebele musician Dr. Peki Emelia Mkhwebane better known as Nothembi. The story narrates her rise within the music industry to the international stage. With the use of colorful graphics and drawings symbolizing the Ndebele culture, a touch Percy hopes will help connect better with his target audience, the little ones between the ages of 6 to 11 years at primary school level.
Indlovukazi Yomvumo WesiNdebele loosely translated to The Queen of Ndebele Music is a 20 page book easy to read and understand. Nothembi is also the recipient of the Presidency’s Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for her excellent contribution to music and putting the Ndebele music on the world stage. The order is awarded by the President of the Republic of South Africa to outstanding citizens of the country in the Arts and Culture spaces.
Between 1988 and 2001, Mkhwebane released 8 albums, it was through her music that the rich and multifaceted Ndebele culture gained international recognition. Her (traditional) dress code and dance moves also playing a significant role in promoting the music and culture of this proud nation. It is through this book that Mokoena pays homage to The Queen of Ndebele Music. She is also popularly known for playing homemade guitar, many believe that she paved way for Ndebele artists we see today.
Mokoena matriculated at kwaNdebele Science School in 2008, he said he was greatly impressed by how his then Ndebele teacher Ms. Tshwane would command respect and order in the classroom just by using her language. “She did not even have to use violence to keep the learners in line, even the naughty ones” remarked Nkosinathi. It was then that he appreciated the power of understanding one’s culture, most importantly the language. Moreover; he realized the importance reading and that itself entrenched his love for everything isiNdebele.
Although nothing has been finalized, Mokoena says talks, plans and processes with the Department of Education has already commenced, and if it all goes accordingly, we will see this book introduced in our schools’ curricular, something we wish to see coming to fruition.
As The Village Mag, we applaud Nkosinathi Percy Mokoena and everyone out there who are trying to conserve and teach the world their native languages. We hope that one day, each and every child in South Africa will be taught all subjects in their native language, a mammoth task that will be difficult to overcome but it can be done especially with books such as Indlovukazi Yomvumo WesiNdebele.
Please click here to listen to the interview below to find out more about Nkosinathi Percy Mokoena and his short biography on The Queen of Ndebele Music, Dr. Peki Emelia “Nothembi” Mkhwebane.