Phathisa Nyathi is a historian, educationist, poet, playwright, historian, and biographer. Nyathi has written many books, a lot of them in the IsiNdebele language. He has said that writing in Ndebele is that it enables constant development of the language to achieve a rich cultural heritage for future generations. Nyathi writes columns in newspapers and is often quoted as an authority on Ndebele tradition matters.
Nyathi did his primary education at Sankonjana Primary school in Matobo district from 1958 to 1962. He went on to do his secondary education at Mazowe High School and later Mzilikazi High School from 1967 to 1970. Nyathi then trained as a teacher at Gweru Teachers’ College (now closed) majoring in science from 1971 and obtained a certificate in education in 1973.
- In 1978 he enrolled with University of South Africa (UNISA) majoring in Geography and Development Administration.
- In 1982 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1985 a BA (Hon) from the same university.
Nyathi was a teacher at a number of schools in Zimbabwe including Loreto Secondary School, Usher, Howard, David Livingstone, St Columba’s, Sobukhazi, Gweru Teachers’ College, Gloag High, Nketa High School.
He has also worked in various capacities which such as Education Officer (Non-Formal) Matabeleland North (1996-2002), Deputy Provincial Education Director Matabeleland North (2002-2004), Public Relations Officer with the Bulawayo City Council (2004-2008), Resource Person Culture Fund of Zimbabwe (2008-2009), Consultant in the Ministry of Water Resources, (January 2010-2010-July).
Leadership at Associations
- Secretary General, Zimbabwe Writers Union (1989-1990)
- Chairman, National Association of Secondary School Heads (Nash) Matabeleland North (1990-1995)
- Deputy Director, Mthwakazi Actors and Writers Association (MAWA)
- Chairman, Zimbabwe Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association (ZANA), Bulawayo Branch,
- Chairman, Zimbabwe Writers Union, Bulawayo Branch,
- Chairman, Mpopoma High School Development Association,
- Committee Member, Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee of Zimbabwe (2009).
- Board Member, Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF 1989-1998);
- Board Member, Zimbabwe Book Development Council (ZBDC),
- Board Member, Mambo Press Editorial Advisory Board;
- Board Member, Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP),
- Chairman, Community Foundation for the Western Region of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH);
- Board Member, Transmedia, 2002-2009,
- Board Member, Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo;
- Board Member, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), 2010.
- Traditional Ceremonies of AmaNdebele and Material Culture of AmaNdebele. Most of his publications are in Ndebele. His argument in writing *Ngilecala (a short story published by the Literature Bureau, 1988)
- Kunzima Malokazana (a play published by Longman, 1990)
- Vulingqondo 1 (a ZJC Ndebele revision book, 1990)
- Igugu Lika Mthwakazi (a history of the Ndebele from 1820 -1893 in the SiNdebele language), 1994
- Madoda Lolani Incukuthu, 1999 (a sequel to Igugu LikaMthwakazi covering the 1896 Ndebele resistance to colonialism)
- Uchuku Olungelandiswe, 1996, (a sequel to Madoda Lolani Incukuthu, dealing with Ndebele history during the colonial period.)
- In Search of Freedom: Masotsha Ndlovu, 1998 (a biography of one of the national heroes) Longman
- Material Culture of the AmaNdebele (2000), Reach Out Publishers
- Alvord Mabena: The Man and His Roots (2000) Priority Projects Inyathelo 6 Longman 2001(Ndebele text book for Grade 6)
- Traditional Ceremonies of the AmaNdebele (2003) Mambo Press
- Cultural Heritage of Zimbabwe (2004)
- amaBooks (Ziyajuluka, 2001 translation of Czech stories) (Inkondlo 2005, translation of Czech poems) (Okwenza iqhude Likhonye, Sapes Trust, 1999, translation of Shona children’s book by Tendai Makura)
- Changing Material Culture of AmaNdebele (2009)
- Amagugu Arts Kolobeja: Folktales from a Ndebele Past 2009, Embassy of the Czech Republic, Zimbabwe
- Tumbale: A History of the Bhebhe People of Zimbabwe 2010, Amagugu Arts
- Lozikeyi Dlodlo: Queen of the Ndebele, in conjunction with Marieke Clarke, 2010, Amagugu Publishing
- ISikhekhekhe Sabokhekhe, 2010 TEPP Marketing Publishers and Distributors
- UFikile Nyathi, Ezomdabu 1996 (children’s book) Zimawele Longman 2006
Nyathi's wife, Elizabeth, is an educationist. She has served as the Headmistress for Amaswazi Primary School.