Mayford Sibanda was a Zimbabwean writer who produced some of the most outstanding pieces of Ndebele writing to date.
Sibanda was born in 1955 in Siphepha, Tsholotsho. He trained at Gweru Teachers College, taught at Lower Gweru Mission. He died in a car accident in South Africa. In the short period of his writing between 1974 and 1978, he produced some of the most outstanding pieces of Ndebele writing to date.
Sibanda made tremendous contributions to Ndebele ethnicity and nationalism, redefining it first within the backdrop of a colonially denying environment and then within the “surprising” independence era. Sibanda identifies Ndebele nationalism within the Lobengula opposition to white domination, and the Ndebelehood that he defines as distancing itself from the Zansi (original Khumalo Nguni group to migrate with Mzilikazi), or “South African original identity” which is the pride of Mbiko kaMadlenya and the Zwangandaba regiment (which rebelled against Lobengula in order to put up a Nguni-Zansi government).
Sibanda argues for Ndebele ethnic identity based on the new emergent nation consisting of Kalanga-Nambya, Tonga, Sotho-Venda, Nyubi, Shona, and the variegated clustering of Mzilikazi/Lobengula followers. The defeat of Zwangendaba and the rise of Lobengula is seen by Sibanda as the success of a Ndebele project of a broader and more engulfing base that is as cosmopolitan as it is forward looking.
His Sesitshaye Kwazwela (1981) and UMbiko KaMadlenya (1981) provide a deep and committed Ndebele language which can only be operative at a highly formal and dignified level. His vocabulary is attractive with the reader learning a new word from every page.
Sibanda had 12 poems.
- Umbiko KaMadlenya
- Sesitshaye Kwazwela