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Sindiwe Magona (born 27 August 1943) is a South African writer.

Sindiwe Magona
Born (1943-08-27) 27 August 1943 (age 75)
NationalitySouth African
Alma materDamelinColombia
OccupationAuthor, motivational speaker, teacher, translator



A native of the former Transkei region, she grew up in Bouvlei (South Africa)|township]] near Cape Town, where she worked as a teacherdomestic and completed her secondary education by correspondence. Magona later graduated from the University of South Africa and earned a Master of Science Degree in Organisational Social Work from Columbia University.[1] In 1993 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Hartwick College, Oneonta, and in 1997 she was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in the non-fiction category. She had starred as Singisa in the isiXhosa classic drama Ityala Lamawele.

She worked in various capacities for the United Nations over 20 years, retiring in 2003,[2] and currently lives in South Africa. In 2007 she was awarded the Grinzane Award[3] for writing that addresses social concerns, the Molteno Gold Medal for promoting the Xhosa culture and language, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to South African Literature. In 2011 she was given the Order of iKhamanga, a Presidential Award and the highest such award in South Africa, and in 2012 she was joint winner with Nadine Gordimer of the Imbokodo Award.[1][4] In the 2013 computer-animated adventure comedy film Khumba she was the voice actor for the character Gemsbok Healer.[5]

She is Writer-in-Residence at the University of the Western Cape and is currently working at Georgia State University.[6]

Literary careerEdit

She published her autobiography To My Children's Children in 1990. In 1998, she published Mother to Mother, a fictionalized account of the Amy Biehl killing,[7] which she adapted to a play. This was performed at the Baxter Theatre complex in late 2009 and the film rights to the novel were acquired by Type A Films in 2003.[8] She has also written autobiographies and short story collections. Her novel Beauty's Gift was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book, Africa Region.[2][9][10] In 2009, Please, Take Photographs, her first collection of poems, was published.


  • 1990 : To My Children's Children
  • 1991 : Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night
  • 1992 : Forced to Grow
  • 1996 : Push Push
  • 1998 : Mother to Mother
  • 2006 : The Best Meal Ever!
  • 2008 : Beauty's Gift
  • 2009 : Please, Take Photographs
  • 2014 : The Woman on the Moon
      : Chasing The Tails of My Father's Castle


  1. ^ a b "About Sindiwe Magona", official website.
  2. ^ a b "Sindiwe Magona", South African History Online.
  3. ^ "Premio Grinzane - Terra d'Otranto", Città di Otranto.
  4. ^ "Winners of the Inaugural 2012 Mbokodos", Mbokodo Awards
  5. ^ "Gemsbok Healer", Behind the Voice Actors.
  6. ^ "Sindiwe Magona", Georgia State University.
  7. ^ "Mother To Mother (review)". Blue Rectangle. Archived from the original on 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  8. ^ Harris, Dana (6 August 2003). "Universal Pictures acquires Sindiwe Magona's novel". Variety. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  9. ^ Commonwealth Foundation List of prize winners. Archived 2009-03-01 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Commonwealth Writers Prize" Archived 2015-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Literary Festivals UK.

External linksEdit