Sindiwe Magona

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sindiwe Magona
Born (1943-08-27) 27 August 1943 (age 77)
NationalitySouth African
Alma materDamelin University of South Africa; Columbia University
OccupationAuthor, motivational speaker, teacher, translator, actor

Sindiwe Magona (born 27 August 1943) is a South African writer.

Early life[edit]

Magona is a native of the former Transkei region. She grew up in Bouvlei near Cape Town, where she worked as a domestic and completed her secondary education by correspondence. Magona later graduated from the University of South Africa and earned her Masters of Science in Organisational Social Work from Columbia University.[1]


She starred as Singisa in the isiXhosa classic drama Ityala Lamawele.

She worked in various capacities for the United Nations for over 20 years, retiring in 2003.[2]

In the 2013 computer-animated adventure comedy film Khumba she was the voice actor for the character Gemsbok Healer.[3]

She is Writer-in-Residence at the University of the Western Cape and has been a visiting Professor working at Georgia State University.[4]


She published two autobiographies: To My Children's Children and Forced To Grow, two collections of short stories: Living Loving and Lying Awake at Night and Push-Push and Other Stories; and four novels: Mother to Mother, Beauty's Gift Life is a Hard but Beautiful Thing, and Chasing Tails of My Father's Cattle!

She published her autobiography To My Children's Children in 1990. In 1998, she published Mother to Mother, a fictionalized account of the Amy Biehl killing,[5] which she adapted into a play. This was performed at the Baxter Theatre complex in late 2009 and the film rights were acquired by Type A Films in 2003.[6] She wrote autobiographies and short story collections. Her novel Beauty's Gift was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book, Africa Region.[2][7][8] In 2009, Please, Take Photographs, her first collection of poems, was published.

Her other works include Please, take Photographs! a book of poetry (Modjaji Books, 2009) and Awam Ngqo! a book of short stories (NASOU 2009) and prescribed for Grade 8; Twelve Books of Folktales - written in both English and Xhosa; translated into isiZulu; Setswana, Afrikaans; Sesotho; Sepedi; and published September 2014 - David Philip; Skin We In in collaboration with scientist Nina Jablonksy and illustrator Lynn Feldman - a book about skin colour and race.

Her children's books include The Best Meal Ever and Life is a hard but beautiful thing: English, Afrikaans. She created the first series for children in isiXhosa: Sigalelekile: 48 books (Via Afrika). She contributed more than twenty the books in another series: Siyakhula (OUP).

Compilation: You Pay For The View – Maskew Miller Longman (2009)

With the Gugulethu Writers’ Group she created Umthi ngamnye unentlaka yawo – short stories - (Xhosa Realities 2007); UNobanzi (Oxford University Press 2010);, UNyana weSizwe 2009 and 2010; and a series of twenty-four books (Igugu), from her workshop with students at the University of the Western Cape (David Philip Publishers 2015). Two books of poetry, UWC students, will be published in isiXhosa.


  • 1990 : To My Children's Children
  • 1991 : Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night
  • 1992 : Forced to Grow
  • 1996 : Push Push
  • 1998 : Mother to Mother
  • 2006 : The Best Meal Ever!
  • 2008 : Beauty's Gift
  • 2009 : Please, Take Photographs
  • 2014 : The Woman on the Moon
  • 2016 : Chasing The Tails of My Father's Castle
  • 2016 : Books and Bricks
  • 2016 : Vukani
  • 2016 : The Ugly Duckling
  • 2016 : From Robben Island to Bishopscourt
  • 2016 : Clicking with Xhosa: A Xhosa Phrasebook



  1. ^ a b "About Sindiwe Magona", official website.
  2. ^ a b "Sindiwe Magona", South African History Online.
  3. ^ "Gemsbok Healer", Behind the Voice Actors.
  4. ^ "Sindiwe Magona", Georgia State University.
  5. ^ "Mother To Mother (review)". Blue Rectangle. Archived from the original on 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  6. ^ Harris, Dana (6 August 2003). "Universal Pictures acquires Sindiwe Magona's novel". Variety. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  7. ^ Commonwealth Foundation List of prize winners. Archived 2009-03-01 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Commonwealth Writers Prize" Archived 2015-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Literary Festivals UK.
  9. ^ "Premio Grinzane - Terra d'Otranto", Città di Otranto.
  10. ^ "Winners of the Inaugural 2012 Mbokodos", Mbokodo Awards

External links[edit]