Limpopo born Multi-award-winning praise singer Ntombhi Ya Mutsonga has decided to put pen and paper into her first poetry book titled, Xewani.
Real name, Masingita Shibambu, “Ntombhi Ya Mutsonga” is from Matiyani village in Malamulele. She gained fame for SONA2020 Imbongi, the first Tsonga poet to usher the President of South Africa.
She is also the founder of NYM Arts Academy, an arts institution aimed at building and nurturing creatives in rural areas.
WHY THE BOOK XEWANI
Shibambu says Xewani is an assortment of day-to-day reflections composed of cognizant living.
“This book addresses cultural, social and economic issues. It also serves as a bridge that paves way for the generation of today to go back to their roots, embrace their identity and celebrate their heritage through literature,” she says.
“Through this poetry book, I would like to remedy the identity crisis and cultural issues we face as a nation. I believe that my book will ignite back the adoration and culture of reading and writing indigenous books. Stimulate the interest that will make people keen to read books written in indigenous languages and instill pride and confidence in arts, culture and heritage.
“People are hungry for authentic African stories that allow our histories to stay intact, celebrate and strengthen identity. Poetry and literature play a big role in telling these stories. Preserving indigenous languages and connecting cultures and communities,” she added.
NTOMBHI YA MUTSONGA MOTIVATION
Shibambu reveals that her motivation to write the book is the dire need to preserve the heritage and indigenous language.
“The need to ignite back the adoration and culture of reading and writing in the indigenous language. People are hungry for authentic African stories and no one can tell these stories better than us, it is our story. There is a need to tell our stories, stories that allow our histories to stay intact, celebrate and strengthen identity.
“Poetry and literature play a big role in telling these stories, preserving indigenous language and connecting cultures and communities.”
The University of Limpopo says growing up she never had any inspiration.
“Funny enough, I thought at some point I am the only one with the idea of publishing a book. This was because we were never exposed to growing up. I used to read everything and it didn’t matter the topic and genre and I am a firm believer in the word and God’s promises.
“I believe that the good work that he started with me will carry it to the end because I pray and work very hard and start. Also, I am consistent and do not wait for anyone to do things for me and knock on doors where I want to enter. Very procrastinate and love to see Progress in everything that I do,” she explains.
RAISING READERS PROGRAM
Through the Ntombhi Ya Mutsonga Foundation, the Media studies student has a program called “Raising Readers’. A book donation drive where she collects indigenous books of various topics and genres for learners and works towards developing a reading culture in rural areas.
“We believe that donating books is a great way to give back to the community. Build relations, promote and encourage the culture of reading throughout.
“My dream is to see everyone read. Have everyone proudly express themselves in a language they know and understand best. Their indigenous language. This will play a part in language preservation and cultural promotion,” she concludes.