Themba Patrick Magaisa
The Order of Ikhamanga in
Profile of Themba Patrick Magaisa
Themba Patrick Magaisa is a prolific playwright who has taken it upon himself to invest his efforts in developing indigenous literature. His focus is mainly within the Xitsonga language, where he has authored several novels and poems in the language. His novels and poems have been taught in many public schools where Xitsonga is offered as either a first or second language. He has also played a crucial role in the development of Xitsonga learning and support materials for the new curriculum.
The marginalisation of indigenous languages has sparked a debate in South Africa. At the centre of the debate is the contention that if indigenous languages are not given adequate recognition, at least at the same level as English, they run the risk of extinction. It is often emphasised that indigenous languages should be taught from the early stage of education right into the senior phase.
Magaisa’s literary work has made it easier for the government to provide study materials for the teaching of indigenous languages. Beside his work within the ambit of Xitsonga literature, Magaisa has also written successful language manuals with other authors. He authored several Xitsonga literature publications for senior phases taught in grades 7, 8 and 9. Magaisa has been bestowed with several literary awards in recognition of his work, chief among them being the Poetry Award awarded to him by the South African Literary Awards in 2014.
His novels and poems for instance, “Ri ta pela” (The sun will set) and “Ndzi rhete kwihi?” (Where did I slip up?) are very popular with students of Xitsonga literature. Magaisa has also done proofreading for many publishing houses and universities across South Africa.