Back in the 1980s Dr Gubudla Aaron Malindzisa wrote the very first SiSwati novel titled Sandla Semtsetfo for school matriculants. He was a member of the first SiSwati Language Board constituted under apartheid which boasted academics from both Swaziland and ‘the Republic’. He was part of the first Siswati Bible Committee and his translation of the first SiSwati hymn book for Methodist Church was recently published.
Apart from being a doyen of SiSwati literature Malindzisa was responsible for coining thousands of SiSwati words and translating tens of books into his native tongue. When his children started going to school and there was a need for SiSwati literature he wrote Sandla Semtsetfo which for many years was prescribed in schools in both Swaziland and South Africa. Malindzisa has written over 20 books among them novels, short stories and dramas.
Before that, after obtaining his Junior Certificate and he couldn’t go to Kwazulu-Natal to finish matric he was employed as a Sawmill labourer. A chance meeting in Kiepersol with an English lawyer resulted in him working as an English-Afrikaans-SiSwati court translator for seventeen years. He left and enrolled for a B Uris at University of the North.
He spent four months as a prosecutor and three as a magistrate in Bochum. Malindzisa left the courts to join the SABC as a reporter. At the then state broadcaster him and a small team had to translate Afrikaans bulletins telexed to them from Pretoria to SiSwati.
Malindzisa was trained by the BBC as a radio scriptwriter and by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. On returning he scripted a radio play Wangibulala Baba which he later published as a book.
In 2000 Malindzisa obtained his PhD from Malborough University in the US. He has numerous achievements in language and literature. There is no SiSwati milestone that this freelance Chief SiSwati translator for Mpumalanga Provincial government wasn’t part of. Malindzisa still wanted to adapt his novel State of Emergency into an M-Net Mzansi film. A diluted SiSwati version of the book was prescribed for Grade 9 learners in 2013.
Malindzisa lives in Kanyamazane (outside Nelspruit) with ‘my girlfriend’, a fond reference to his wife.
It is our honour, as SALA and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to bestow the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Literary Award, to this literary giant.