Writer wants to change the narrative of wasted lives : “As a school we are really pleased and proud of what Nozithelo has done. Its a first for Nkayi High School since it’s opening in 1987”

25 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Writer wants to change  the narrative of wasted lives : “As a school we are really pleased and proud of what Nozithelo has done. Its a first for Nkayi High School since it’s opening in 1987” Nozithelo Siphosenkosi Zikhali

The Chronicle

Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
WHEN the parents of a 20-year-old Nkayi High School girl named her Nozithelo (Mother of Fruits) Siphosenkosi Zikhali at birth, little did they know that she would live up to her name.

While many girls of her age especially in rural areas, have had their future derailed by various issues, Nozithelo is determined to change the narrative of wasted lives and is already a proud author of two IsiNdebele novels.

On Friday, her latest book Sisemhlabeni was launched at Nkayi High School in Matabeleland North Province, where Nozithelo is doing Form Six.

Professor Whitehead Zikhali

The launch was graced by Nkayi-born senior Information Analyst and Research Officer for the United Nations based in Sudan, Professor Whitehead Zikhali who was the guest of honour.

Professor Zikhali who is also a businessman in the district and owner of the Inkisela buses is not related to Nozithelo.

The determined girl who comes from Sibangilizwe Village under headman Ngomambi and Chief Madliwa, has put her school on the map.

“I started writing when I was doing my O-levels at Mtshabi Secondary School.

I wrote my first book titled Isitsha Esihle Kasidleli in 2019.

My passion for writing comes from my love for reading.

I also have a desire to educate people on various issues affecting society and I use the pen to do that.

I have always enjoyed reading novels as a hobby.

In one of my reading escapades, I encountered the phrase, “you can do anything that you want to” and this gave me the courage to face the world and follow my passion.

I had always dreamt of one day becoming an author since childhood,” said the soft spoken Nozithelo.

Her second book Sisemhlabeni talks about societal challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nozithelo says the book talks about the challenges faced by child headed families.

“Writing has not been smooth sailing as I face a lot of challenges such as lack of internet access, network problems among other things.

Our district in particular and province in general has a poor road network and travelling to Bulawayo to meet publishers was a challenge.

Writing requires a lot of time and as a girl child in the rural areas there is never enough time since I am expected to do household chores and fulfil my gender roles and societal expectations.

Time to write is therefore my biggest challenge,” she said.

Nozithelo said it was very difficult to publish and print the books.

“My parents had to sacrifice a lot to make this happen.

They support my dreams and want to see them become a reality,”she said.

Nkayi Centre

To help Nozithelo pursue her dream, her parents have rented a room for her at Nkayi Centre so that she is close to her school and can devote more of her time to her books.

Nozithelo said she has only managed to print 30 copies of her latest book due to financial challenges and is appealing for support from well wishers to help her get more volumes out of the printing press.

The financial challenges are making it difficult for her to distribute her book to bookshops.

“Even the first one was never made available in any bookshop since I do not have know-how of the processes.

I appeal to stakeholders who can assist in mentoring and showing me the ropes in the industry.

The major challenge is lack of financial resources to print more copies,” she said.

Her passion for writing is also inspired by well known authors such as Barbara Makhalisa, Isaac Mpofu and Lizwe Ncube.

Besides writing books, the 20-year-old aspires to be a lawyer once she finishes school.

Nkayi High School head Mrs Langelihle Maipisi hailed Nozithelo for putting the school on the map.

She said they had to organise the book launch to be held at the school as way of appreciating Nozithelo’s works and motivating other pupils.

“As a school we are really pleased and proud of what Nozithelo has done.

Nkayi High School

Its a first for Nkayi High School since it’s opening in 1987.

This book launch is in line with the Government’s competency-based curriculum and as a school we want to encourage our learners to put into practice what they learn at school.

We were also privileged to have Prof Whitehead Zikhali as our guest of honour as this will motivate our learners to excel.

We promise to continue to assist Nozithelo in building her career and achieving her dreams,” she said.

Speaking at the event, Prof Zikhali hailed Nozithelo and Nkayi High School teachers for grooming her.

He challenged Nozithelo and other pupils to be focused at school.

Prof Zikhali also urged girls to value education and avoid ruining their lives by engaging in love affairs.

“Writing a book is no mean task and it is not for the faint hearted.

You need to have strength and patience to sit for long hours to put your thoughts in sequence and use proper diction.

One has to invest and make sacrifices in order to come up with something meaningful.

Nozithelo had to balance her time of writing and school work as she is doing A-level,” said Prof Zikhali, an author of two books himself.

Professor Zikhali donated US$200 to assist Nozithelo in her work and personal needs.–@themkhust

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