The Fifty Rand Note revisits Zim’s hyperinflationary era

by Stan Mushava

The Fifty Rand Note is set in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary era, torched off in the early aughts and blown to record proportions in 2008. Ngwenya’s recurring persona, perhaps an autofictional rendering of the author herself, is an entrepreneur helplessly watching as her business and mental health, like everyone else’s, is remote-controlled from the black market. This focus of the book is highlighted in the dedication to “entrepreneurs whose lifetime savings were burnt to ashes/who woke up without salaries for their workers/scolded, even manhandled/by their angry employees/For workers who were there too/when everybody’s hard-earned cash/was controlled by cash barons”

Author champions Ndebele literature

by Beaven Tapureta

Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya is an enterprising writer whose debut Ndebele novel, Izinyawo Zayizolo, is set to leave a mark in indigenous literature. The novel was published this year by Radiant Publishers which is run by renowned author Barbara Makhalisa Nkala. Ngwenya is out to revive the legacy of Ndebele literature. The Herald Bookshelf’s Bevan Tapureta (BT) caught up with Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya (TNN) to find out more about the author and her writing.

Heritage and social memory in Emlanjeni village

by Onai Mushava

If you don't believe in the end of the world, imagine the day when digital vixens who only connect with their villages as tourists with selfie-sticks become the ancestors of this country. For Zimbabwe to avoid this Armageddon, it needs more works of art that spread out the memory and the magic of the village like Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya's third novel, "Portrait of Emlanjeni." Reading this book, I was enchanted by the breezes, the folds and the moods of the village the same way I felt when I came across Mbeu's "Nhimbe" video late last year. And, of course, it is more than just the romantic scenery of the village. Ngwenya lets you picture the young men and women whose dreams for Zimbabwe only form in rear-view pixels on the highway to Egoli.

Author Talks About Her Love for Writing

by Elizabeth Tarungaza

Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya is a writer from Matobo, Southern Zimbabwe. She is also a mother, a town planner by profession and a real estate consultant. She operates Town Planning Consultancy in Harare. Success Magazine interviewed her about her love of books, one of them is the novel titled ‘Yesterday Footprints.’

St Dominic’s Student Interviews Ngwenya

by Tinotenda Mupatiki

Tinotenda Mupatiki (TM), a Form 3 student at St Dominic's Chishawasha, interviewed author Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya (TNN) as part of her research on notable entrepreneurs.

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TM: I found your contribution to African literature very inspiring after reading your novel, The Fifty Rand Note. TNN: Thank you so much for reading my work.

TM: Who or what inspired you to start writing novels? TNN: Growing up, I had a lot of questions about many different things I saw happening, things like unfairness of the judicial system, abuse and ill-treatment of women and girls. So I decided, one day I will write and question all that and, while at it, also point to ways of correcting the injustice. The issues are many, broad that still need revisiting.

TM: So are you planning on growing your writing business and if you are how do you plan on growing it? TNN: Writing, for me, started as a hobby but now I have connected with a regional audience. I have built a website where an even wider audience can read about my work, watch my interviews and buy my books online as well as placing orders for paperback editions.

TM: Have you ever had a book launch and of all the books you have written which one was the most successful one? TNN: Yes, I have. I cannot say which one of my books was most successful. Each of my books gets a distinctive shelf life. I have published three books now, Izinyawo Zayizolo (2016) in Ndebele, The Fifty Rand Note (2017) and Portrait of Emlanjeni (2020). All of them are receiving critical acclaim in the academia. Izinyawo Zayizolo is also being used as a research text in African Languages departments, including in South Africa.

TM: Did you face any challenges when you wrote your books. If so, how did you handle the situations? TNN: Yes. My first manuscript was rejected by three publishing houses. But, since one sent notes on how I could improve my work, I went back to my desk, corrected the mistakes, developed the characters and sent the manuscript back. After that, some publishers were keen on working with me.

TM: That's pretty inspiring. So this was obviously a part of the mindset you had to be successful. What other values have kept you motivated? TNN: The most important thing about me is that I am me. I do not follow the crowds; I do what I feel is right for me. I am not afraid of trying new things, changing the norm. I move alone and I am often alone. That makes my mind work. I avoid clutter which may come with toxic people, lazy people, and I have no business with people who do not read. Those values encourage my work.

TM: Thank you very much for your time. TNN: Pleasure, Tino! Thank you for the interesting questions.