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Change the world


Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: PhD in Anthropology student at Nelson Mandela University, Mzoli Mavimbela, was recently awarded a Via Afrika award for African Language Creative Writing. 

Mzoli, who has published five isiXhosa books - poetry, short stories, fairy-tales, traditional literature and a novel - received the award from ALASA (African Language Association of South Africa) in partnership with CASAS (Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society), the University of the Western Cape, Via Afrika and PanSALB (Pan South African Language Board) at the recent 23rd Biennial International Conference of The African Languages Association of Southern Africa in Stellenbosch. 
The poet, ethnographic researcher, translator, editor, newspaper columnist, and an award-winning author grew up in Port St Johns, Eastern Cape. He currently lives in George, where he works as social worker, responsible for treatment, aftercare, and reintegration in the Mossel Bay, Great Brak River and Albertinia areas. He is also a project manager for the PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) programme funded by NACOSA. 
Mzoli was nominated by his master’s degree in Social Work supervisors Dr Zurina Abdulla and Prof Zoleka Soji. His master’s, which he obtained cum laude in December 2021, focused on exploring the views of amakrwala on the meaning of umqombothi and commercial alcohol use during the initiation ceremonies as he is passionate about indigenous knowledge systems. 
In November 2021 he won the SALA (South African Literary Award) in the Creative Non-Fiction Category for his book entitled Masibuyel’ eMbo Konakele Phi Na? His historical research-based novel titled Amazwembezwembe KaGxuluwe, is currently read on Umhlobo Wenene FM’s Ufundo Lweencwadi show. 
His poems have been published by various journals such as Avbob Poetry, Amazwi Trilingual Poetry and Sol Plaatjie European Poetry. 
He has been featured by SAFM, Channel 404, and SABC 1 news, promoting the revitalisation of Nguni languages as well as Umhlobo Wenene FM and UCR FM to encourage the culture of reading and writing in indigenous languages. Mzoli is also a full member of the National Writers’ Association of South Africa (NWASA).
In addition, Mzoli has edited more than 50 isiXhosa and English books for South African authors. 
The title of his working proposal for his PhD is “UPHICOTHO LWENKCUBEKO YAMAMPONDO ASEMBIZANA, ULWIMI, AMASIKO, ISINXIBO NOBUME BENTSAPHO YAWO” - The anthropological exploration of the socio-cultural setting of amaMpondo of Mbizana - their family setting, language, and dress code.
“The whole thesis will be written in isiXhosa in a form of storytelling”, says Mzoli “and will seek to dig from the roots where the amaMpondo come from, how they perceive their socio-cultural setting and how they feel about stigmas and stereotypes attached to them – such as misconceptions that they practice witchcraft, they use muthi, they undergo ukuthwala (having mermaids and amachanti), and they are the hub of producing dagga etc, he says. 
As a postgraduate research student he has reviewed five policies for the University’s Department of Social Development Professions and translated a Social Work course outline module into isiXhosa. 

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160