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LIBRARY LECTURE TALK: IsiZulu Female Writers

To celebrate Library Week, Msunduzi Museum hosted a lecture talk by Dr Gugulethu Mazubuko from UKZN, titled Female Writers in IsiZulu on the 16th of March. In a talk that was attended by different High Schools from Pietermaritzburg, writers, the Department of Arts and Culture, and other members of the commnunity Dr Mazibuko delivered a detailed presentation on the state of Female writers in IsiZulu in South Africa. She managed to unfold information pertaining this topic from since before 1994 and post 1994. 20 years on into democracy…there is still a lack of female writers in IsiZulu but there have been significant improvements. Till this day, she revealed, there is still only a population of 21.8% IsiZulu Female Writers in the country compared to the much greater percentage of male published IsiZulu literature.

Dr Gugulethi Mazibuko delivering a lecture at Msunduzi Museum on Female Writers in IsiZulu. Photo - Ndabezinhle Mpungose

Dr Gugulethi Mazibuko delivering a lecture at Msunduzi Museum on Female Writers in IsiZulu. Picture – Ndabezinhle Mpungose

“This is clearly am issue that needs to be tackled from the lower levels of education. Our learners need to be encouraged to write about everything they see in life, and even fiction. Over and above that they need to be taught to make reading a habit, because every good writer is a good reader first,” she said during her Lecture talk. Dr Mazibuko also called for female writers not to only focus their work on narratives where females are portrayed as struggling protagonists. This has become a ‘trend’ or ‘norm’ since much work of female writers has taken the route of tackling issues surrounding gender inequality, abuse, HIV/AIDS, poverty and prostitution.  In her talk she uploaded females who have been courageous enough to discuss these matters in their books mentioning Maphili Shange’s novel Uthando Lungumanqoba as a prime example of this. Another  novel she discussed that exemplified the work of female writers is Nelisile Msimang’s Umsebenzi Uyindlala, a story about a girl who had to sleep with her boss to get a job.”Only female writers can write about this in emotional understanding. Therefore females should write their own stories as they relate and understand better,” she said.   Despite the achievements and improvements in this field she said there is still a lot of room left for IsiZulu Female authors, poets.


and script writers and this can be tackled by promotion of writing competitions at schools and reading clubs in communities. “We are able to get an experience of what happened historically in our country through reading stories of people that were affected by those times. If today we have no writers, how then will the next generations know what happened in this country during this period?” she concluded.