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‘Late author a fountain of knowledge, language’


THE late veteran Ndebele writer Isaac Neslton Mpofu has been admired for his efforts to revive and promote the Ndebele language.

Mpofu, who authored the classic isiNdebele novel Wangithembisa Lami, succumbed to renal failure last week at United Bulawayo Hospitals.

He was 90.

Mpofu was buried at his farm in Worringham, along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway next to his late wife Martha Nhliziyo.

Cultural enthusiast, teacher and poet Liberty “Mahlab’yithwale” Ndaba described the late Mpofu as a conservative, selfless author who was a fountain of knowledge.

“Nyandeni was a think-tank, rigid, conservative and selfless writer. He wrote simple straightforward Ndebele language that was easy to follow and learn especially in literature,” he said.

Ndaba said Mpofu had the skill to pull readers to like his literature through vivid illustrations of characters, place, setting and events.

“It was so enticing that you would be forced once you start reading his book to never stop loving and reading it. Be it morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, among others, in his books, Mpofu lay wisdom that has carried generations up to today and that is why his book Wangithembisa Lami is still in the curriculum.”

He added that Mpofu was, indeed, a fountain of knowledge and language in all its facets.

Bulawayo comedian Babongile Sikhonjwa said the late author, who was his grandfather, had an unmatched love for isiNdebele language and the gap he left would “forever be left unfilled”.

“Mpofu contributed immensely to the isiNdebele language and culture. With his death, it means we have a gap difficult to fill because he was our point of reference in all we wanted to do in the curriculum,” he said.

“The fortunate part is that he was not selfish and all the fountain of knowledge, he penned it down in his various books.”

Brethren In Christ Church Bulawayo Central pastor Ndabezitha Nyathi said Mpofu loved the isiNdebele language to the extent that he translated the Christian Bible from Zulu to isiNdebele.

“Mpofu was one of the people who were on the front line in establishing the church in Bulawayo central business district and he further took part in the isiNdebele Bible translation, among other duties in church,” he said.

“We are proud to say he played a crucial role not just in church, but in the whole society at large.”

Besides being an accomplished author and teacher, Mpofu held several top positions in the Education ministry, including being education officer and later regional director of education in Matabeleland South and Bulawayo before retiring.

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