Writer played his part in putting Xit­songa lan­guage on the map

Sowetan - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Vo­nani Bila Xi­somisana, Xi­somisana, Fambe M ng­haname, A Hi A Hi Fambe M ng­haname

AU­THOR Felix Alois Thuke­tana, who has been de­scribed as the great­est cre­ative ex­port ever from Burg­ers­dorp in Tza­neen, Lim­popo, has breathed his last.

Thuke­tana, who was a South African Literary Awards Life­time Achieve­ment ci­ta­tion re­cip­i­ent, among many other literary ku­dos, was born on De­cem­ber 5 1933.

His Xit­songa nov­els in­clude and He has also writ­ten folk tales and trans­lated sev­eral Chris­tian book­lets, in­clud­ing the sem­i­nal Deutero­nom­i­cal scrip­tures. Thuke­tana ’ s first novel,

pub­lished in 1968, is the first se­ri­ous novel in the his­tory of Xit­songa lit­er­a­ture.

Af­ter mu­si­cians like my­self and Good­man Nghulele com­posed songs and po­ems in­spired by the stir­ring novel, which de­picted the vi­cis­si­tudes in the life and times of a ru­ral vil­lage woman. The book has since been re-is­sued as a clas­sic by the Na­tional Li­brary of South Africa. Thuke­tana ’ s last novel,

pub­lished by Tim­bila Books two years ago, is set in Lim­popo and the old Lady Sel­borne town­ship in Pre- to­ria, where Thuke­tana at­tended pri­mary school­ing. The novel chron­i­cles the life of a ma­raud­ing wom­an­iser called Max Mag­wen­dere.

In the con­text of Xit­songa lit­er­a­ture,

is one of the few nov­els writ­ten spe­cially for en­joy­ment, and not nec­es­sar­ily for the school mar­ket.

Thuke­tana and his grand­fa­ther DZJ Mthe­bule started the Phusela news­pa­per in 1958 in Tza­neen. Through the Ecumenical Pres­by­te­rian Church, Thuke­tana was able to fur­ther his jour­nal­ism stud­ies at Min­dolo Ecumenical Cen­tre in Zam­bia in the 1960s.

Later, he be­came a mem­ber of the Chris­tian Writ­ers’ Fel­low­ship of Afrika in Kitwe, Zam­bia. Since 2003, when the Xit­songa Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion was formed, Thuke­tana was ac­tive as the as­so­ci­a­tion’s spe­cial­ist men­tor in the genre of the novel un­til his death last Wed­nes­day at Mankweng Hos­pi­tal.

Thuke­tana taught and led schools in Tim­ba­vati, Bod­weni, Ti­man­geni and Gavaza in Lim­popo un­til he re­tired in 1997.

He leaves be­hind his wife Louisa and three chil­dren – Dodo, Louis and Junny – and sev­eral grand­chil­dren.

He will be buried in Burg­ers­dorp tomorrow.

EX­PO­NENT: Ex-jour­nal­ist and nov­el­ist Felix Thuke­tana is no more

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