At the recent Polokwane Literature Festival, author and poet Mandla Mtileni launched his latest novel Mpimavayeni.

mpimavayeni-coverMpimavayeni is his first novel, written in Xitsonga and set in a fictional place located a few meters away from Freedom Square in Kliptown, Soweto. Mpimavayeni is the name of an informal settlement

It is a story of a corrupt ward councillor and member of the mayoral committee, Griffiths Rambau (nom de guerre Looksmart Mapapila) who sells the land (Mpimavayeni) to the highest bidder, his friend and comrade Jafta Molefe; a young urban planner (Uhuru Mtebule) who refuses to be corrupted; and a people who fight to the bitter end.

Mpimavayeni, a Xitsonga novel, is available at R160 a copy from the author. For more details, or to buy, email nhlalalabooks@gmail.com, call 0725943448, or inbox Moses Nzama Khaizen Mtileni on Facebook.

read below the excerpt from the novel in Xitsonga and English:

Ntshaho ku suka eka novhele ya Mpimavayeni

Laha na lahaya; vanhu va kandziyelanile, va susumetana. Ku pfinyaneriwa ku kuma ndhawu yo vona kahle loyi a vitaniwile ku ta yima le mahlweni a burisana ni ntshungu. Kumbe timbilu a ti hisekela ku twa tinhlamulo leti Manyathela a a vurile leswaku wanuna luya u ti tamerile. Kumbe mahlo a yo navela ku tikhorwisa leswaku wanuna luya va nga n’wi hetelela lembe ra ngoma ya timbyana wa ha hefemula ku kota vona.

Endzhaku ka xinkadyana lexi nga hetiki mbilu, wanuna u hlomukile entshungwini hi tlhelo leriya Manyathela a languteke eka rona. Na namuntlha a ambarile sudu ya nsuku. Leyi lava va swi tivaka a va ta ku yi koxile macheleni yo nyawula. A khwita kantsongo a kongoma kwale a a vitaniwa kona.

Nenge luwa, ku tsundzuka nuna luya a n’wi vitanile a langutile wanuna luya, a wu nga ri nenge wa ntiyiso wa nkulukumba loyi. A wu ri pulasitiki leyi a nyikiwile hi madokodela lowu a vekela no susa hi ku rhandza. Xifaniso xa nenge. Nenge wakwe wa ntiyiso a wu vandlamuriwile hi xibuluki xa hand grenade enkambeni ya vuleteri malembe ndzhaku. Eka nghozi yo hlamarisa, swi nga vuriwa leswaku wanuna loyi a a khwita a ri na vutomi byo tala. Hikuva hi lava nga nyiko ya vutomi va hanyaka endzhaku ka ku buluka ko tano.

Thina sizwe, si khalela…” a sungula risimu. Rito rakwe ri mitiwa hi mpfhuka, ri bodhlomela eka huwa ya ku n’unun’uta ka marito yo tala exikarhi ka ntshungu. A ku hlavelanga munhu.

Ma va wu yeke …” a ringeta ku ya emahlweni. Nakambe, a ku vuyangi nchumu, handle ka ngulumelo wa rito rakwe n’wini etindleveni ta yena.

U miyerile, a mita marhi. U swi tivile xikan’wekan’we leswaku xibakabaka a xi visingarile. A ku ri hava nkarhi wa risimu kumbe tiviva na tiamandla. O fanela ku ba nhloko ya mhaka. Tilo ri nga si vandlamula, ri khohlola ndzilo wa rihati.

“Varhangeri va mina. Vaakatiko. Ndza mi losa. Rambau ko va vito ntsena, a ndzi nchumu wa cilo handle ka n’wina,” ku sungula Rambau loko huwa yi dzikile kantsongo.

“Hikokwalaho ndzi mi kolotaka hi laha kukulu. Ndzi mi kolota tinhlamulo eka swivutiso swo tala, na tinhlamuselo etimhakeni ta ntsandavahlayi. Kambe ndzi n’wana wa n’wina. Kutani u mi tlula hi yini wanuna la’ nga amukela n’wana wakwe wa vusopfa loko a vuyile, a tiva no n’wi tlhavela rhole ro nona? Na mina ku kota yena ndzi vuyile eka n’wina.”

“Hi mina loyi, ndzi kombela hi ku titsongahata ku rivaleriwa ku va ndzi nga si vuya eka n’wina mpfhuka ka nhlawulo. Mintirho ya hofisi yi tele no tika.”, a ya emahlweni.

“Miyela! Miyela! Famba! Famba,” ku huwelela ntshungu, marito ya hlavelelana eka nkwentlembetano wa wona. Virginia a yimisa voko ku va miyeta. Va miyela.

“N’wana hi yena wo hoxa. I ntirho wa mutswari ku n’wi tshinya,” i Rambau a tilondla.

“Ndza swi tiva leswaku mitirho ya siku yi mi yimerile. Na wona maxelo a ya pfumelelani na hina. Kutani ndzi ta vulavula hi ku kongoma no komisa,” Rambau a vulavula a ri karhi a huwelela, a ringeta ku pfala marito lawa a ya pfa ya n’wi kavanyeta. Van’wana a va pfa va n’wi haxa hi nhlamba. Van’wana va hayiteriwa va karhi ku mpfhumpfhampfhumpfheka va chavisela ku ya n’wi khoma hi tiwacheni kwale mahlweni.

“Hi ku landza nkwama wa Masipala wa malembe manharhu la’ya landzelaka; tindlu le Fleurhof ti ta sungula ku akiwa hi Sunguti haxawa. Leswi swi vula leswaku n’wina mi ta rhurhisiwa ntsena ku ya tshama kona eka lembe leri nga ta tlhandlamaka ra haxawa.”

“Tshika ku hi dyela nkarhi Grif. I nkwama wa yini? I kangani u hi byela ta nkwama? Hi ta rindza nkwama vahaxawa vangani? Swona i nkwama muni wo ka wu nga pfi wu tswala mihandzu? Mi ta tumbela ku fika kwihi endzeni ka nkwama lowu xana? A hi koti ku tshamela nkwama. Ku laveka vukorhokeri, sweswi, ku nga ri mundzuku,” ku leva mukhalabye Nkelunkelu Mhlahlandlela a khigetele nhonga yo famba hi yona. Leswi tindleve a ti nga ha twi kule, mukhalabye a yimile kwala kusuhi na laha Rambau a ri kona. Kutani lava a va ri mahlweni va ri twile rito na marito ya vukarhi yo huma eka xikhalabyana xo koma Mhlahlandlela.

 

***

     Lexo vulavula hi xona xi bvunghiwile eswandleni swakwe hi xitshuketa. Muvutli wa xona u pfange no n’wi hima nomo wa le henhla hi xikokola. A dedeleka. Manyathela a tlula a n’wi qhavulela a nga si fika ehansi. A khensa embilwini.

Jaha leri a ri vutlile lexo vulavula hi xona a ri dyanga nkarhi hi ku titivisa. A ri vulavula hi mahika, nyuku wu ri karhi ku halaka kunene emirhini wa rona. A wonge ri lo hlangana na xipuku. Ri hlamuserile hi ku komisa leswaku lori leyikulu a yi heta ku chicha vuthu lerikulu ra vavanuna vo ambala tihovhorolo to tshwuka. Sweswi va nga kwala, vavanuna lavaya va pomerile rihlanguti ra vuhumadyambu bya muti wa Mpimavayeni ku kota vusose. Vavanuna lava a va ri ku humeseleni ka vanhu emikhukhwini ya vona. Lava endlaka nkanu a va huduriwa kunene, va lahleriwa ehandle. Tinhundzu a ti ri ku cukumeteriweni. Mikhukhu a yi ri ku mbindzimuxiweni. Loko va vutisiwa leswaku a ku humelela yini; vavanuna lava a va vula leswaku Huvo ya Nawu a yi va nyikile mpfumelelo wo mbindzimuxa mikhukhu ya Mpimavayeni.

Rambau a nga vonakangi na leswo u humile hi kwihi. U hatlisile ku twa lomu moya a wu ba wu ya kona. A ku nyakwi. A khokhomela exikarhi ka ntshungu a ya humelela lahaya kusuhi na patu movha a wu pakile kona. A ba khiya, movha wu dya thayere. A nyamalala a hambana na mangava ya Mpimavayeni!

 

—-

 

An excerpt from the novel Mpimavayeni

Here and there; people shuffled, pushed, trampled upon each other. Each seeking that vantage point from which to fully see the one who had been asked to ascend to address the crowd. Perhaps they burnt to hear the answers that the one ascending was said to possess. Perhaps their eyes longed to satisfy themselves that the one they had last seen in the year of the dog still walked among the living.

In a time shorter than their longing, a man emerged from the crowds from the side where the one who had called him was looking. Even today, he wore a gold suit. The kind those in the knowledge of such matters of fashion would say cost a fortune. Limping, he walked slowly to the place where he was called.

That leg, the man who had called him had recalled looking at the one he had called, was not his true leg. But plastic the doctors had given him that could be placed and removed at will. A replica of a leg. His own real leg had been lost to a hand grenade that had prematurely exploded in a training camp in years past. In an accident of magnitudes, it could be said that this man now limping was full of life. For only those few among the living blessed with fuller life survive such explosions.

The man finally arrived at that open space reserved for purposes of address, and asked for a microphone. “Thina sizwe, sikhalela…” (we the people, we are crying for…), he started in song. His voice was swallowed by the air it sought to penetrate, and sank in the mumblings of the many impatient voices in the crowd. No one sang in reply.

“Ma va wu yeke…” (let them leave it…). He tried again, but again nothing, except the echo of his own voice returning to land on his ears.

He paused, and swallowed. He saw at once, blackening clouds gathering, that the skies are angry. There was no time for song or viva’s and amandla’s. He must nail it in the head. Before the skies explode, and cough flames of lightning.

“My leaders. Children of land. I salute you. Rambau is just a name, I am nothing of anything without you”, started Rambau when the noise subsided a little.

“It is hence I owe you in proportions beyond mention. I owe you answers to questions plenty, and explanations on matters beyond counting. But I am your son. So what better is the man who slaughtered a fat calf for a prodigal son that returned? And I like him have returned to you.”

“Here I am, requesting humbly your forgiveness that I have not set foot here since the last elections. The duties of office are plenty and difficult”, he went on.

“Shut up! Shut up! Leave! Go!” shouted the crowd, voices harmonising in their collision. Virginia raised her hand to plead for their silence. They went silent.

“It is for a child to fumble. For the parent to admonish,” it is Rambau humbling himself.

“I know other work awaits you, I will get to the point”. He spoke at the top of his voice, trying to race against the voices that interrupted him. Some threw at him insults. Others reprimanded roaring threatening to hold him with his clothes right there at the front where he stood.

“According to the Municipal budget of the three years coming; houses at Fleurhof will be built starting next January. This means that you will be moved there to stay only a year after the next.”

“Stop wasting our time Grif. A budget for what? How many times have you told us of a budget? How many next years will we wait for the budget? What kind of budget is this that bears no fruits? For how long will you hide inside this budget? We cannot sit waiting for a budget. We want service, now, not tomorrow.”, fumed old man Nkelunkelu Mhlahlandlela leaning against his walking stick. Since his ears could no longer hear far, the old man was standing not far from where Rambau stood.

 

***

     The thing through which you speak was snatched from his hands suddenly. The one who snatched it hit his upper lip with his elbow. He staggered. Manyathela jumped and grabbed him before he could land on the ground. He said his thanks in his heart.

The young man who had snatched the thing through which you spoke did not waste any time introducing himself. He spoke urgently, sweat flooding his body. It was as if he had met a ghost. He explained briefly that a huge truck had just dropped off a large army of men who wore red overalls. As they gathered here, those men were patched against the eastern part of the place of Mpimavayeni like ants. Those men were throwing people out of their shacks. Those who were seen as stubborn were dragged violently, and thrown into the open air. Their belongings were being thrown out. The shacks were being pounded. When asked what was happening; these men were saying that a Court of Law had given them permission to destroy the shacks of Mpimavayeni.

No one saw where Rambau went. He was quick to detect the direction of the wind. He shuffled his way through the crowd and emerged there near the road where his car was parked. He turned on the key, and the car moved. He disappeared, away from the troubles of Mpimavayeni!

 


Mpimavayeni, a Xitsonga novel, is available at R160 a copy from the author. For more details, or to buy, email nhlalalabooks@gmail.com, call 0725943448, or inbox Moses Nzama Khaizen Mtileni on Facebook.

 

 

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