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Sepedi author dead set on preserving language

A book written by Phaswane Phokwane

Sepedi author Phaswane Phokwane is on course to finish his 23rd book later this month; a novel which centres on the newly widespread disease, coronavirus.

Published Mar 12, 2021


Manare Matabola

Nearly a year after publishing his 22nd book, Nku ya Diphego (Children’s literature book), Phaswane Phokwane from Dennilton, Limpopo is on course to finish writing another book later this month; a novel which centres on the newly widespread disease, Corona-virus.

“There were only a handful of Sepedi literary texts that were also written by ancient writers and, as such, I saw the need to write using my mother tongue to play a part in preserving it,” says Phokwane, who has been writing for the past 16 years.

This is part of his preference to write in his native Sepedi (also known as Sesotho Sa Leboa).

After spending most of his life indulging in the works of Professor Maje Serudu, C.L Mokwena, and NS Puleng, Phokwane finally published his first book, Sediba Sa Thuto (A Grade 5 reader) in 2005. Since then, Phokwane went on to publish books in all the categories except only for drama.

While most of his books are taught and studied across the school curriculum, Phokwane has surprisingly never entered any literary competition.

“Whenever books are called for screening,” he says.

“I just happen to be lucky that most of my books are selected by the Department of Education to be studied in both the lower and higher grades.”

Even more, Phokwane plied his trade as a newscaster and host of a traditional music show at Moutse Community Radio Station (MCRS) for 15 years.

In the year 2010, Phokwane was invited to analyse literature books for Grade 12 learners on a weekly basis at Thobela FM.

Phokwane has served as an assistant lecturer at Vista University, before teaching for three years at Kgalema primary school in Daveyton.

Before being appointed a lecturer in the Department of Language Education at the University of Limpopo early last year, Phokwane also taught for 13 years at Rephafogile high school in Marble Hall, the southern part of Limpopo.

Manare Matabola is a freelance journalist, language educator and interpreter.

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