In the mid-1970s Professor Nhlanhla Maake worked as a teacher at Immaculata High in Soweto, and later as an actor with Phoenix Players at Dorkay House in Johannesburg, between 1975 and 1978. He appeared in several films and documentaries.
He holds degrees from the following universities: University of the North, Wits University, University of Strathclyde, UK, University of Keele UK, University of South Africa). Maake has held lectureship and professorial positions at the following universities: Witwatersrand, London, Pretoria, Vista, North-west University, University of Limpopo and the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa. He has held held Fellowships at home and abroad: Aarhus University Denmark, Yale University US, Cape Town and Witwatersrand.
Maake has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction in Sesotho and English, several book reviews, encyclopedia entries, radio plays, study guides, poems, academic, polemic and position articles. He has won several literary awards, including the Ernst van Heerden (Wits university) and the IDEM Award (1980), the MNET Book Prize (1995), the African Literary Heritage Award of Maskew Miller Longman (1993, 1994 and 1995). One of his Sesotho novels was nominated for the MNET Book Prize (2000). In 2005 he was awarded a certificate for Outstanding Literature: Sesotho, by the Department of Arts and Culture. He was awarded the MNET Books Prize (2012) and the Sello Duiker Memorial Award (2012).