Human & Rousseau


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Sipho Kekezwa

Biographical info

Sipho Richard Kekezwa lives in Nkanini, Khayelitsha. Born in East London in the Eastern Cape, he grew up in Ziphunzana location (Duncan Village Extension) and matriculated at Ebenezer Majombozi High School in 1979. He moved to Cape Town after a long period of unemployment where, after working as a general worker in several companies, he took up a freelance journalism course from Intec College and a computer literacy course, both of which helped him fulfil his dream of becoming a writer.

He has won prizes for his work in both English and isiXhosa. In isiXhosa he has tried his hand at writing all genres except poetry, while in English he has written mainly short stories and youth novels. A number of his short stories have been published in Drum magazine.

Sipho Kekezwa’s awards include first prize in Maskew Miller Longman’s Literature Awards 2015 for his children’s story Icebo likaMalusi, and further awards in the same competition in 2009 and 2012: Ubomi, ungancama and Umxhesho won first and second runner up prize in 2012 and the short story Lelikabani eli tyala? was awarded 2nd prize in 2009 and was included in the anthology Sonke siyafana. That same year, his first entry in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature, Akukho kwayama ngomfo olambayo, was named one of the finalists in the Nguni languages category.

Being competitive by nature, Sipho vowed to make history and become the first isiXhosa writer to win the African languages category in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature after a drought of more than a decade since 2000, a dream he fulfilled with Ndizigwaze ngowam in 2013, his third attempt at the awards. The novel paved way for him to be invited as a guest author by Puku Children’s Literature Foundation to the 3rd Grahamstown Children’s Festival, the 2015 Puku Story Competition Prize-giving Ceremony and by the Centre for the Book to the 6th Funda Mzantsi Championship, where various book clubs competed in reviewing his novel in the isiXhosa category.
At school, he once took part in a multi-racial play, rubbing shoulders with Deon Opperman, the renowned author and playwright. Titled, Twelve Angry Men, the play was directed and produced by Mr Phelps, Deon’s English teacher in Selborne College.

Besides writing, Sipho offers language services such as book reviews, editing and proofreading for The Centre for the Book and, for a few years, has done translations for the Cape Agulhus Municipality. Recently, the UMhlobo Wenene FM radio DJ, Phiwe ‘Pastor’ Nozewu published a collection of isiXhosa anecdotes titled Imihlinzo which was edited by Sipho Kekezwa.

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