Dumisani Sibiya is an award-winning novelist who writes predominantly in IsiZulu. He holds an MA in Publishing Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand.
In a career spanning nine years, Sibiya has published three novels, five collections of short stories, and three collections of poem. His debut novel, Kungasa Ngifile (2002), won the silver medal prize in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature, while his second novel, Ngidedele Ngife (2006) received the gold medal prize in the same award. Both these novels made it to the finalists of the prestigious M-Net Literary Award.
His third novel, Ngiyolibala Ngifile (2010), was awarded the gold prize during the biennial Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in 2010 and the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award during the 2011 South African Literary Awards. His first collection of short stories, Imikhizo (2004), was awarded the silver medal in the Muntu Zulu Award for Short Stories in 2005.
One of the leading contemporary novelists in the isiZulu language, Sibiya has published articles in local and international academic journals. He has taught at Wits University and worked in the publishing industry for many years.
Note: The interview was conducted at the just ended 15th Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, South Africa.
GeosiReads: Is it your first time at the festival?
Dumisani Sibiya: As a participant, Yes but I have been here as an observer before.
GR: What are your impressions?
DS: It is a great gathering which exposes writers. It accords the significance to writers where one learns a lot from sharing ideas.
GR: Who are your favourite writers?
DS: Chris Abani, Jeffrey Archer, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe, Mia Cuoto.
GR: Your favourite books?
DS: Grain of Wheat and Matigari by Ngugi wa Thiong’o , Every Man is a Race by Mia Cuoto, Only Time will Tell by Jeffrey Archer.
GR: Have you ever had any rejections?
GR: Do you write longhand?
DS: I used to write on a paper but now with technology I write on a computer.
GR: When did you begin to write?
DS: Grade 9 – thus 1991
GR: Do you write full time?
GR: What theme(s) do you write about?
DS: I don’t really have specific themes.
GR: Do you write for any specific audience?
DS: No, I don’t.