2019 Speakers

The 8th International African Writers Day Lecture

“Africa Writing in Tongues: Towards Social, Political, Heritage and Cultural Justice” 





Professor Mandla Stanley Makhanya was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa on 1 January 2011 and is a prominent proponent of higher education leadership and advocacy. Prof Makhanya served as President of the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) until 31 December 2017. He is also Treasurer of the African Council for Distance Education (ACDE). Professor Makhanya is also the President of the Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) – International Body.


Masters Degree in Industrial Sociology: University of KwaZulu Natal
BA (Honours) in Sociology: University of Fort Hare
BA (Honours) in Sociology: University of Fort Hare
Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education: University of South Africa
Advanced Management Program (AMP): Harvard Business School


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa): University of Athabasca, Canada In recognition of outstanding leadership at Unisa and sustained contribution as a distinguished scholar in distance education.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) Thomas Edison State University, USA


He maintains active scholarship through regular publications.

Professor Makhanya is a Deputy Chairperson of the South African National Commission for UNESCO and Chairperson of the Culture Sector of the South African National Commission for UNESCO. He has also been a member of the National Committee of the Memory of the World (MoW). In the 1990s he served in various leadership roles in the South African Sociological Association, including as its Deputy President in 1998, for a period of two years. He continues to be a member of the South African Sociological Association (SASA) and the International Association of Sociology (ISA). Prof Makhanya is on the advisory board of JRODel (Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning).

Prof Makhanya is married to Mandu Makhanya and they are blessed with four children.

Mr Muyanga Innocent Ziba 

Present Posts    : Lecturer in Communication and Journalism, University of

Livingstonia, Malawi

: Editor In Chief, The African Light Magazine


Master of Arts in Communication–, Dublin City University, Ireland (Validated by the South African Qualifications Authority as fit for employment and education)

Bachelor of Journalism-University of Malawi

PhD student University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa- ongoing


“Linking Culture and Development ” 


This paper presents results from a study investigating the link between culture and development. A total of 200 people were interviewed from five different constituencies in the Zulu/ Ngoni tribe in Mzimba district in Malawi. This was used as a sample for the Ngoni tribe, an offshoot of the Zulu tribe in South Africa, who are now settled in Northern Malawi, Southern part of Tanzania, eastern Zambia and Matabeleland in Zimbabwe (Mithi, 1996).  The aim was to gauge the extent to which they make decisions regarding health and agricultural issues in relation to culture. The study used a simple sampling method to choose the respondents and a stratified sampling method to choose the constituencies. Qualitative methods such as focus group discussions, interviews and questionnaires were used to gather this information from people (Alassutari, 1995). In these interviews, it was revealed that people use the Bandura cognitive theory (Macleod, 2011). It was also revealed that people still stick to their Zulu/Ngoni culture and this has a strong bearing in the way they make decisions. It is hoped that the results of this study will be used in many parts of the world, particularly in Sub- Saharan Africa.

Ngoni/Zulu, Mzimba, culture, Bandura, Zululand, stratified sampling, Sub Saharan Africa, Malawi

Alassutari, P. 1995. Researching culture, qualitative method and cultural studies, London, SAGE

Mithi, L.M., 1996. Subgrouping Ngoni varieties within Nguni: a lexicostatistical approach, South African Journal of African Languages (online), 16/3, available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02572117.1996.10587123?journalCode=rjal20

Macleod, S. 2011. Bandura – Social Learning Theory. Simply Psychology (online).Available
from: http://www.simplypsychology.org/ban

Mr Sandile Tshabalala

BA (Law) PGDip (Governance)

MPhil (Commercial Law) in progress

MR Sandile Tshabalala is a MPhil Commercial Law candidate at the University of Cape Town. He is a Junior Company Secretary at TMF Group based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and a Legal Research in Governance and Strategy for Mazars South Africa. He has previously worked for Human Rights Watch and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute.

His expertise is in corporate governance, board governance and company secretarial. He is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and teaches mindfulness and meditation during his spare time.


Decolonizing the Boardroom: Articulating African Thought Leadership in South Africa    


Companies shape our world. There is hardly any human activity or decision that is not influenced by companies. Societies look to companies for societal change and innovation. The purpose of this paper is to explore the manner in which the African experience is articulated, discussed and written about in the meetings of boards of directors. The boardroom is an imperative aspect of socio-economic development in Africa because diverse narratives that are communicated there essentially lead to the decision-making processes which in turn directly or indirectly affects African societies. This paper will argue that meeting minutes of the board of directors should be articulated in ways that represent contemporary African thought leadership. Afrocentrism in the boardroom calls for members of the board to be sensitive towards the socio-economic lived experiences, to be proactive in their advancement of socioeconomic realities and to make collective decisions that are at the best interest of society. Writing the stories of the boardroom is central to the emancipation of economically liberated citizens, where accountability and transparency is realized. This paper will use case studies to show the impact of board meetings in continuing the commercial legacies of colonialism and thus call for the decolonization of these practices as a means to redress the literary injustices of the past in order to move South Africa forward.


Keyword: Board of Directors, Thought Leadership, Afrocentrism, Boardroom

Director: Transformation, Social Cohesion & Diversity: Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT): Email:Tyolwanan@cput.ac.za

Ms Nonkosi Tyolwana is responsible for transformation, social cohesion & diversity at the Cape Peninsula, University of Technology (CPUT). Ms Tyolwana holds Master of Arts (M.A.) in Transformation & Governance from Free State University and M.A in socio-linguistics from the University of Stellenbosch. Before joining the CPUT, she worked as the Director at the Department of Women in the Presidency (formerly Department of Women, Children & People with Disabilities).

Ms Tyolwana also worked at the following institutions: Rhodes University, Department of Sports, Arts& Culture, Parliament of South Africa, Department of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs. She has extensive experience and knowledge of various fields such as inclusivity, language gender mainstreaming, gender based violence social cohesion (in relation to social justice), arts, culture & heritage as primary signifiers of transformation. She is well versed with transformation imperatives as well as the impact on provincial, national, continental and global imperatives government mandate in relation to service delivery and social protection& security, community based planning, the National Development Plan (NDP) agenda.

She participated in various national and international seminars and conferences on areas such as gender, inclusivity & equality, language, gender based violence, peace & mediation, Agenda 2030 and 2063.  She has also authored the following published books such as: ilitha, uvimba, masinkcenkceshele, iziqhamo   and co- authored other publications such as – Anthology of women stories, Voices of our own, Interpreting in the community.



Author: Nonkosi Tyolwana

Director: Transformation, Social Cohesion& Diversity: Office of the Vice Chancellor: Cape Peninsula University of Technology(CPUT)

Indigenous languages define who we are, what we believe, how we are seen by other people and how we relate to those around us. At the same time, creating safe and inclusive spaces through indigenous languages begin with how we understand social justice and the implications thereof. Creating safe and inclusive spaces through indigenous languages provides a welcoming atmosphere that values everyone’s participation and instils a long-lasting respect for human rights, freedoms, culture, creative expression and community cohesion. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that is aimed at putting vulnerable population first and leaving no one behind.

This paper demonstrates the role of indigenous languages in creating safe and inclusive spaces   and in mainstreaming language across SDGs since SDGs are silent on the role of language as a tool for sustainable development. In addition, indigenous languages is an indispensable tool for addressing inequality, discrimination and exclusion. It also confirms Madiba’s assertion that “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. – Nelson Mandela

Key words- mainstreaming, safe and inclusive language, social justice, sustainable development

Mr Menzi Thango is an academic, poet, editor and publisher. He lectures isiZulu Linguistics in the Department of African Languages at the University of the Free State, QwaQwa Campus. He has presented academic articles at local and international conferences. Menzi Thango is the Founder and Director of Bhiyoza Publishers (Pty) Ltd, a publishing company which mainly publishes literary books written in the indigenous African languages of South Africa. Among his other duties at Bhiyoza Publishers, he reviews, edits and proofreads all the manuscripts before they are published.


Poetry as an Emerging Culture of Social Justice Activism in South Africa


This paper looks at the use of poetry as an emerging culture for social justice in South Africa. The research attention for this paper is based on the Afrocentricity as a philosophical and social orientation of expressing and examining ideas, feelings, and ideas in the form of poetry. The paper also examines the effectiveness of poetry as a means to challenge the current socio-economic and political issues through the lens of African history and education. Grounded by the social change activism and agency, this paper analyses perspectives and narratives from African people with different backgrounds on the cultural and history dislocation or disorientation. The findings indicate that poetry can function as a change agent for culture, society, and justice. Poetic strategies and style elements, for instance well considered word choice ambiguity, rhythm and other poetic devices contribute to the idea of resistance often underlying African poetry. Furthermore, this paper argues that poetry grows and becomes an artistic movement of public intellectualism. Many poems function as a vehicle of messages, perspectives, and a spirit of creating changes. The relationship between words in poems and activism is passionately embodied with the sense that literature, like poetry, attempts to have a critical impact on the movements of the society and political arena. Poetry influences changes that happen in the socio-cultural setting exploring actions during the journeys from the past to the present.


Keywords: Poetry, Social Justice, Afrocentricity, African History, Change Agent

Monicca Thulisile Bhuda is a culture activist, indigenous researcher and an ethnomathematician. She is originally from Kwaggafontein, KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga. Thulisile holds a Bachelor (Hons) degree in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) from the North West University (2017) with distinction, a Master’s degree in IKS also from the North West University (2019) with distinction and currently doing her PhD in IKS. Some of her achievements include being a Golden Key International Honour Society member, representing the North West University in South Korea in 2016. She has monthly live radio interviews on Ikwekwezi FM (African Science and Technology show), Motsweding FM, Mahikeng FM and has previously done live television interviews on Daily-thetha TV on SABC 1 and Ndebele news bulleting in 2018, focusing on decolonization of education and other culture related topics.

Institution: North West University, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science; Indigenous Knowledge Systems Centre


Using indigenous languages for medium of instruction in South African schools: indigenising teaching and learning

Author: Monicca Thulisile Bhuda

Institution: North West University


According to Subsection 29(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice at public educational institutions where such education is reasonably practicable. However, in most schools, without being considerate of local indigenous languages, English is prioritised as a superior language and used as a medium of instruction. The predominance of English is a link in part to the colonial and postcolonial legacies that have favoured global languages and that have regularly prompted to the undervaluing and underdevelopment of indigenous languages. Past research evidence shows how consequently for many learners living in communities where English is not spoken outside of school, English medium of instruction acts as a barrier to engagement with the curriculum. Therefore , In  order  for South African education  to  liberate  itself  from  the Eurocentric colonial legacy, calls have  been  made for the establishing of South African education in South African indigenous  cultures as essential vehicles  for social transformation. Since language is both part of the way of life and the medium through which culture is transmitted, serious considerations about the language policy as regards the place of indigenous languages in instruction must constitute   part   of   the rethinking of education in South Africa. This is particularly so because the policies that have been adopted have an impact on curriculum, pedagogy and access. It is unquestionable that the best medium for teaching a child is his mother tongue. Psychologically, it is the arrangement of important signs that in his mind works automatically for articulation and understanding. Sociologically, it is a methods for recognizable proof among individuals of the community to which he belongs. Educationally, the learning becomes quickly when a child is taught in a familiar linguistic medium. This paper discusses the importance of indigenising teaching and learning in South Africa. The paper further makes suggestions   as to how indigenous South African languages in education can be introduced/strengthened, as a strategy of preserving African culture that is hidden in indigenous languages.

Vuyisile Msila is a professor at University of South Africa’s (Unisa’s) Leadership and Transformation. He is the former Head of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies at Unisa. He is a published author whose main interest is biography. He has also published poetry in various literary journals. Msila has also published several articles on culture, identity and language. His latest books include A Place to Live: The Red Location, and its History, Ubuntu: Shaping the Current Workplace with (African) Wisdom as well as Africanising the Curriculum: Indigenous Perspectives and Theories.


Black Writers Courting the Empire: Writing in English in a Decade of Decolonisation

Author: Vuyisile Msila


The first press established in the Cape Colony in 1860 encouraged the black elites to begin writing in English. This increased readership among the colonists and the emerging black middle class. Arguably, this Anglicisation alienated the educated who were perceived as Black English people in their communities. Decades later though, black writers began appropriating English for their purposes. Writers such as HIE Dhlomo began using English to analyse the conditions of the black oppressed and their experiences. Furthermore, various writers in other parts of the Continent have expressed the need to use English as they document their daily struggles. Chinua Achebe points out that black writers should alter English to suit the new postcolonial African experiences. Es’kia Mphahlele concurs when he contends that the English language is an effective tool to fight oppression. In fact, numerous writers in black Africa have used English in their fight for social justice and freedom.

However, in a time of decolonisation, many questions have surfaced and the use of English by black writers has been interrogated as calls for the use of African indigenous languages have intensified. The celebrated African writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o has expressed his viewpoint demonstrating that it is the colonial and racist notions that have led to the suppression of African languages as well as culture. In addition, Wa Thiong’o argues for the need to demarginalise the African indigenous languages.

This presentation examines the complexities faced by black writers writing in English as current debates nudge their conscience. The use of African indigenous languages has become not only an issue for social justice but human rights as well. The debate prods further as role-players search whether after all these decades of colonialism, English has not become one of the African languages in the Continent of Africa.


African Indigenous languages. Black Writer. Decolonisation. Social Justice.

Itumeleng Molefi is a science educator and freelance writer whose writing focuses on science and the arts. He has done science reporting and profiling and his arts writing has mainly been reviews of theatre, film and books with an emphasis on how these works of art speak to our current moment in history. Molefi’s work has appeared in the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, The Daily Vox and Business Day, amongst others. Molefi also writes, directs and produces video-essays on African literature for the YouTube channel BOTLHALE. These video essays discuss pieces of literature from a particular lens (for example, using oral literature as a way to understand the first poem in Koleka Putuma’s collection Collective Amnesia or placing Taiye Selasi’s novel Ghana Must Go in the tradition of epic poetry) in an attempt to make the books more accessible to readers and to provide further scholarship for the purposes of archive creation..


Using video essays for archive formation in African literature

Gugulethu Neo Bodibe Ke mokwadi le mmatlisisi o sale a dira tiro eno go feta nako eo e kanang ka ngwagasome, sentle-sentle sale ka 2007. Ke na le makwalo-molokololo ao a sale a phasaladiwa go tloga ka ngwaga wa 2009 ebile ke ntse ke le modiragatsi le modirisi wa dipuo tsa seTho go tswa pele ga nako eo. Ke ntse ke dira tiro ya diphetolelo go tloga ka 2016 mme ebile ke setse ke eme ka ditiro tse pedi tseo di emetseng go phasaladiwa mo nakong e tlang mo ngwageng eno.


“Ke mang yo thibellang kelelo?: molokololo le tshekatsheko kaga seabe sa baipeigodimo mo thulaganyong le mo kgodisong tsa puo le tiragatso ya maikemisetso-a-kwadilweng mo Aforika-Borwa”

Tlhaloso-khutshwane (Abstract)

Mo lekwalong-molokololo lena, ke kgatlhegile thata ka gore dipatlisiso le diteko kaga tiriso ya dipuo tsa seAforika mo tsamaisong ya dithuto, le tiragatso ya maikaelelo-akwadilweng kaga tsone mo tebong ya kgodiso ya lefatshe-kgolo dia reng, le gore go tla jaang mo gongwe le ga maikaelelo-akwadilweng a le mantle ebile a theilwe godimo ga dikakanyo tse di molemo le ditsela-thuto tseo di tlhomamisitsweng, mebuso ya dinaga tsa Aforika e santse e goga maoto go dira jaalo. Ke botsa gore “ke bo maang bao ba thibellang kelelo le kgodiso ya diteme tsa seTho le kgodiso ya semoetlo le ya bonetetshi ya maAforika?” Mme ka gore mebuso le baipeigodimo ba lefatshekgolo ba tsentse diatla mo tirong ena, ba le tlase ga taelo ya dithata tswa setswantle tsa botseneledi tsa kwa mafatsheng-kgolo a kwa Yuropa-Eshia le Amerika-Bokone ka bobedi, ke latela gape ke tlhalosa mabaka a goreng ba tshameka karolo mo tiregong eno ya bokwatlafatso-bosha ba lefatshekgolo la bone, ba tshwarella ebile ba bolaya matshwititshwiti a batho ba kwaabo ka ntlha ya seno. Go tswa moo, ke leba mekgwa eo e dirisiwang go dira jaalo ka go naya dikao di le mmalwa jaaka bopaki go tshegetsa puo le kgatello yame. La bofelo, ke tlhagisa gore melao ya boditjhabatjhaba yone ya reng kaga kgatello, thibello, tshwenyo le polao tsa bopuo tseo di diragalang tlase ga “tlhokomelo” ya mmuso wa pusano ebe ke tswala ka potso e tona ya gore: “A na molao o dumela gore mmuso wa Aforika-Borwa le mebuso ya lefatshe-kgolo ka kakretso, di ka tlhabiwa ka dikgetsi dia isiwa kgotlhatshekelong mabapi le sena na?”