Date:19 January 2019 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Miyelani Hlungwani has bravely ventured into the world of digital publishing and the results are proving to be amazing as more people get to read his e-books.
A game changer in the industry, he recently published his second Xitsonga e-book, Hi le vuton’wini, with Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, an online store. It is a collection of poems.
Hlungwani said he wanted to access international markets. “Hi le vuton’wini is available online free of charge now as an online e-book,” he said. “I did not want people outside the country to struggle to find a Xitsonga book. We are looking at getting it on Amazon as well.”
He stated that the poems in his book served as a comfort for grieving families. Although he boasts at least ten years of editing experience, Hlungwani confessed to having encountered some difficulties in writing his book.
He has an experience with Xitsonga as a language professional and editor, who had worked for many major publishing houses in the country. “I have worked for Pan MacMillan, Maskew Miller Longman, and Via Afrika, editing Xitsonga material,” he said. “My BA degree in communications, where I majored in Xitsonga, has been helping in opening the doors for me,” he said. “I am now busy doing an BA Honours in African Language and will complete it this year.”
Hlungwani is part of an initiative, ReadWritePublish, that promotes indigenous self-publishing. An African languages professor, Russell Kaschula, who is also part of ReadWritePublish, said it was important to give everyone the opportunity to tell their stories in their own languages. “We want to publish unpublished authors,” Kaschula said. “We want to have a bottom-up approach where authors who speak these languages can write them as they understand. There will be a course on the ReadWritePublish website that will assist in the writing process. Depending on a person, the course can be completed in a day.”
Kaschula stated that, thereafter, the writer could send them the manuscripts through ReadWritePublish. “We have a caucus of all indigenous language critics and experts that will be editing the books,” he said. “With the help of Via Afrika, the books will be given a professional look at no cost. The authors are in control of the pricing and marketing of their books.”
Hlungwani said that he was looking forward to publishing more books in Xitsonga, so that people could access and read them. “Now I want to do more, because I’ve seen that I can do it.”
Miyelani is available on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin and can be reached on 084 978 1216.
Miyelani Hlungwani has bravely ventured into the world of digital publishing.
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.