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Archive for the ‘isiZulu’ Category

Gcina Mhlophe’s 57th Birthday Celebrated with Friends and Fans (Video)

Haai Zoleka!Hi Zoleka!Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika
Have You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story Magic

Gcina Mhlophe recently celebrated her 57th birthday at an event hosted by Newtown Junction.

Friends shared birthday messages, and many people who have been inspired and entertained by the beloved storyteller joined in to wish her well.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka complimented her as a “good-hearted person”, and said she didn’t know her own age. Poets Zaide Hearnecker and Natalia Molebatsi added their well-wishes, as did a host of musicians with whom Mhlope has worked.

Watch the video of personal birthday messages for Mhlophe:

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The celebration included photo opportunities, the chance to write a birthday message, and plenty of singing by Mhlophe and others.

Watch the video:

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Image courtesy of Motivation Speakers Bookings

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Gcina Mhlophe Inspires Creative Writing Students (Plus: Watch Mhlophe Perform at Poetry Africa)

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of AfricaSongs and Stories of Africa

Legendary storyteller, poet and activist Gcina Mhlophe visited the Durban University of Technology last month where she shared pearls of writing wisdom at the 3rd Writing Competition organised by the DUT Writing Centre.

Mhlophe, who facilitated a workshop with the finalists and was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony, spoke about the importance of writing in your mother tongue.

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The prominent Mhlophe told the attendees that, “when they write they write in their mother tongue languages”. “Each and every time as a writer you must use the language you are good at, do not try to write in the language that you are not comfortable with. People must write about something they know well and something that they have experienced,” Mhlophe said.

Siphesihle Mthethwa who is an aspiring poet and DUT student said, “To be in the same room as she (Mhlophe) is a privilege. I am inspired by all her writings and the way she does her thing, it is a wonderful experience to meet her today.”

The 19th Poetry Africa Festival started today, with an exciting line-up of local and international poets.

Vanguard shared a video from 2010 when Mhlophe performed at the 14th Poetry Africa Festival. “Let’s play with an old poem … the weather outside calls for it,” Mhlophe says, before reading “Sometimes When it Rains”.

Watch the video:

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Adrian Koopman Examines How “Words of Power” are used in Conjunction with Plants in Zulu Culture

Zulu Plant NamesAdrian Koopman’s 2013 paper entitled “The interface between magic, plants and language” is available to read online.

Koopman, Emeritus Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is the author of Zulu Plant Names.

The article begins by investigating how the meaning of the word “magic” changes in different contexts, and then examines the “power” of plant names in different cultures, especially in Zulu botanical nomenclature.

According to Koopman, there is a clear distinction, in Western thinking, “between a herbalist’s use of plant medicines with proven healing properties based on scientific observation and chemical analyses, and ‘magical’ plants that link to a belief system but not necessarily to scientific evidence”.

Read the extract:

This article looks at the interface between magic, plants and language. After examining various conceptualisations of ‘magic’, the article focuses specifically on the manipulation of materia, particularly when accompanied by the ritual use of language. The emphasis in this part of the article is on incantations, recitation of spells, curses and similar utterances. Examples are given first from various cultures in Europe, then from Africa as a whole, and finally from Zulu culture. In examining these ‘words of power’ and the way they are used together with plants and other materia, the articles explores the notion that the name of a plant may often contain as much power as the plant itself. The article then goes on to look specifically at Zulu plant names, and concludes that in addition to their power in various forms of magic, such names may also have a mnemonic function, assisting traditional healers and diviners to remember not only the name of a particular plant, but its various functions in society as well.

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What’s in a Name? Adrian Koopman Explores Language, Culture and Plant Life in Zulu Plant Names

Zulu Plant NamesUKZN Press presents Zulu Plant Names by Adrian Koopman:

In this book Koopman details the complex relationship between plants, the Zulu language and Zulu culture.

Zulu Plant Names do not just identify plants, they tell us a lot more about the plant, or how it is perceived or used in Zulu culture. For example, the plant name umhlulambazo (what defeats the axe) tells us that this is a tree with hard, dense wood, and that usondelangange (come closer so I can embrace you) is a tree with large thorns that snag the passer-by. In a similar vein, both umakuphole (let it cool down) and icishamlilo (put out the fire) refer to plants that are used medicinally to treat fevers and inflammations. Plants used as the base of love-charms have names that are particularly colourful, such as unginakile (she has noticed me), uvelabahleke (appear and they smile) and the wonderfully named ungcingci-wafika-umntakwethu (how happy I am that you have arrived, my sweetheart!).

And then there are those plant names that are just plain intriguing, if not mystifying: umakhandakansele (the heads of Mr Ratel), isandlasonwabu (hand of a chameleon), intombikayibhinci (the girl does not wear clothes) and ukhuningomile (piece of firewood, I am thirsty).

About the author

Adrian Koopman is an Emeritus Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He retired as Professor of isiZulu Studies after 37 years of teaching Zulu language and literature. His major interest over the years has been in names, naming and naming systems, and he is the author of the 2002 Zulu Names as well as over 50 articles and chapters in academic journals and books. He is the immediate past president of the Names Society of Southern Africa, and is still the editor of their journal Nomina Africana.

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The Rise of the Zulu Royal House Illuminated in The James Stuart Archive: Volume 6

The James Stuart ArchiveStephen Coan has written an article for The Witness about the James Stuart Archive, specifically Colin Webb and John Wright’s work on Volume 6, which was recently released.

The James Stuart Archive, left by former Natal civil servant James Stuart, contains oral information collected in the 19th and 20th centuries from around 200 people in Natal, Zululand and Swaziland.

The James Stuart Archive: Volume 6 contains the last of the evidence published in alphabetical name order, although a volume of praise songs is in production as well.

Wright, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Coan that Volume 6 is notable for its interviews with Socwatsha ka Papu, who was “Stuart’s main informant, and his first, from 1897 until 1922″.

“He was a government man rather than the resister,” said Wright, adding that Socwatsha was a member of resident commissioner in Zululand Melmoth Osborn’s staff in Zululand in the 1880s and later with the Native Affairs Department in Pietermaritzburg.

“But he was an alert and critical government man.”

Wright said Socwatsha’s testimony is particularly valuable for his information on the rise of the Zulu Royal House in the 19th century.

“It’s a view from the side as it were.”

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Introducing Amagalelo, a Collection of Winning isiZulu Short Stories, Poetry and Essays

UKZN Press is pleased to announce the release of Amagalelo, edited by Nakanjani G Sibiya:

AmagaleloTake a walk on any of the South African university campuses and you will hear the air resonating with the sounds of different languages seamlessly interweaving with each other as students engage in academic work, talk, laughter and play.

In 2012 this inspired the University of KwaZulu-Natal Language Board, in partnership with Independent Newspapers, to hold a first-of-its-kind isiZulu-English writing competition. By issuing an invitation to write in an African Language in a way that captures our changing world, it hoped to stimulate ‘border crossings’ and by so doing, encourage reading and writing in African languages.

The panel of expert judges comprised internationally renowned storyteller Dr Gcina Mhlophe, Dr Nakanjani Sibiya, Prof Otty Nxumalo and Dr Gugu Mazibuko. They were overwhelmed by the high standard of the entries, which highlighted the value and power of indigenous languages as a source and expression of identity and pride.

The purpose of the competition and of this book is thus to promote bilingualism and, in particular, the development of isiZulu, with the aim of contributing to literature in that language. This collection of short stories, essays and poetry is the result. We hope that readers will read it with the same degree of interest and enjoyment that the judges found in it – and that it will highlight the importance of creating spaces for people to express themselves creatively in their mother tongue, rather than in English alone.

About the editor

Dr Nakanjani G. Sibiya has published a number of isiZulu books across various genres. It is in the category of short stories that he has contributed the most to South African literature; to date he has published five volumes of short stories, four dramas and seven anthologies of short stories that he co-authored or edited. His debut collection of short stories, titled Ikusasa Eliqhakazile, won the JL Dube Award for Prose.

In 2003 he was awarded the M-Net Book Prize for his debut novel Kuxolelwa Abanjani? In 2004 this novel also received the BW Vilakazi Prize, the most prestigious award for isiZulu literature.

Sibiya has a PhD from the University of Zululand and works as an editor for a publisher in Pietermaritzburg.

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Winners of the 2012 UKZN/Independent Newspapers isiZulu/English Writing Competition

The winners of the University of KwaZulu-Natal/Independent Newspapers isiZulu/English Writing Competion have been announced. Khayelihle Mnguni won the prize for the best short story, Thandanani Mabaso won for the best poem and Khethiwe Agrineth Mkhize was the winner of the prize for the best essay.

Umcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaOur Story MagicUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Stories of AfricaLove Child

The competition called for writing in isiZulu or a combination of isiZulu and English to promote bilingualism and the development of African languages. Gcina Mhlope, whose children’s books, including the isiZulu and isiXhosa audio books Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-Afrika and Umcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika, are published by UKZN Press, was one of the judges, along with Nakanjani Sibiya, Professor Otty Nxumalo, and Gugu Mazibuko.

The winners will each receive R10 000 in prize money and will be published in a collection by UKZN Press. The book, to be launched at next year’s Time of the Writer Festival, will also contain other outstanding contributions from the 353 entries received.

The winners of this year’s University of KwaZulu-Natal/Independent Newspapers isiZulu/English Writing Competition were announced at a lunch in Durban on Tuesday.

They were: Khayelihle Mnguni for the best short story; Thandanani Mabaso for the best poem; and Khethiwe Agrineth Mkhize for the best essay.

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Image courtesy Daily News

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