Date:10 December 2016 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
A 35-year-old author from rural Mhinga village in the Malamulele area, Musa Baloyi, was awarded the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award for 2016.
He was awarded first prize in the Xitsonga category for an excellent youth novel, Vutlhari Bya Lunya, translated as “ruthless intelligence”.
In an interview with Limpopo Mirror, Baloyi said that winning the award “changed my life completely, I am over the moon. This is a great inspiration to me.”
He stated that, after winning the award, he really felt motivated to write more books for future generations. “For me, writing is a museum on paper, and all interesting stories must be kept in black and white, so that our language must not vanish into thin air,” he said. “I want to thank the MML team for investing in my book.”
He stated that his passion for writing began when he was only 15 years old and still a pupil at Ripambeta High School. He would write scripts in the format of radio dramas and record himself on cassette. “I would play and listen to my dramas several times,” he enthused. “My mother used to read my handwritten manuscripts and give some comments if a story was interesting.”
Baloyi was highly inspired by Xitsonga literary giant Conny Masocha Lubisi and another author, Willie Richard Chauke. “Theirs were the kind of books that encouraged me to plant my writing talent in fertile soil,” he said.
He explained that it had taken him at least four months to write his award-winning entry. “With my writing experience, it was not so difficult to focus on the theme of a book, although I have to do that after work, and get someone to type for me,” he said. “My wife had to evaluate my book before I could send it in for the competition. In essence, writing is in me.”
The novel tells the story of a teenager named Darren. He loses his leg after he gets shot at while running away behind his mother during the war. He does well in his university studies and becomes one of the university’s top 10 students.
“After graduating he gets a well-paid job at the National Health Laboratory Services, which he later defrauds of millions of rands,” said the author. “He flees to Singapore with his friends, but they are later arrested and deported back to South Africa. They are charged with theft and sentenced to life imprisonment.”
In this tale, the author is trying to convey the message that crime does not pay, whether you are physically disabled or not.
Baloyi had won some literary awards before, and he will never trade his writing talent for anything else so far.
He is on Facebook as Musa Aubrey Baloyi.
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.