Humanities lecturer wins SALA Award

Humanities lecturer wins SALA Award

14 Dec 2017 - 14:30
Simphiwe Nolutshungu and his award

Simphiwe Nolutshungu, a lecturer in the Department of African Languages and Literatures, has been awarded the Poetry Award by the South African Literary Awards (SALA) for his book, Iingcango Zentliziyo. His book has been hailed by judges as a moving collection of isiXhosa poetry.

“This is a very beautiful collection of isiXhosa poetry that pulls the strings of the heart,” stated the citation for the award. “It has rhyme and rhythm that flows freely. It expresses deep pain over loss, a deep sense of yearning.”

The judges also complemented Nolutshungu for his passion for the isiXhosa and the African continent. 

“The author is open about feelings of both love and hatred. There is no mistaking his love for his language, isiXhosa, for his country, South Africa and the African continent at large.

“We are expecting great things from him in the context of literature in general, and poetry in particular,” explained the citation.

Nolutshungu said that it was important to get the recognition for his contribution to developing isiXhosa.

“If like on top of the world. When I write, I do not write to win awards, so this is a bonus for me. And most importantly to win such an award in my native language doubles my joy and my passion for IsiXhosa. Our languages are currently marginalised, so this is my contribution to the re-birth of our whole-being”.

Nolutshungu is not new to the world of literature or getting recognition for his work. He published his first novel Amathunzi Ezolo in 1996 after winning a lot of local writing contests both in English and IsiXhosa.

His other books include Iingceba Zegazi (novel) published in 2012], Nolutshungu Avenue (English poetry) published in 2011 His work has also appeared in magazines and newspapers, including the annual Tyhini magazine, Writing from here, Drum, Sunday Sun newspaper and others.

He will be teaching two of his books, Iingcango Zentliziyo and Iingceba Zegazi, as part of his course next year.

Nolutshungu holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Creative writing from Rhodes University. He read for his MA in both IsiXhosa and English. Nolutshungu is a qualified teacher [NPDE] at the now Nelson Mandela University. Nolutshungu has worked as a teacher and lecturer before he joined UCT. He is currently reading for a Doctorate in African languages and Literature at UCT.

His doctoral thesis researches the “Reinventing teaching approaches in African languages: The use of literature in curriculum transformation”. Nolutshungu chose this topic to help further develop African languages by encouraging students to learn in their native languages.

“I chose this topic as to encourage the use of our languages in our curriculum and students should be at liberty to learn in their native languages and be able to read and write in their mother tongues,” says Nolutshungu “And we have a great history as Africans that is so marginalised, we also need to move away from the belief that English and Afrikaans are better languages”.

His winning book is available through the publisher (