Prolific Setswana writer honoured with a Doctorate
Iconic author and accomplished teacher JM Ntsime was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Mafikeng Campus of North West University. The ceremony took place during the Spring Graduation on Wednesday the 16th of April, the first day of the three days event.
Drawing on his early experiences and inspiration as a writer, Joseph Matlhasedi Ntsime told 193 Human Social Science graduants that idioms nurtured children morally. "Other nations preserved their languages by reading bedtime stories to their children while we let ours to watch television until the wee hours of the morning".
The 78 year old Setswana novelist and former Education deputy Minister in the erstwhile Bophuthatswana government was instrumental in the establishment of language services section in the department of Education and training. He was also involved in the translation of government documents, including Hansard and the development of terminology in general. He edited and published a Setswana magazine, "Utlwang' which covered news and current affairs.
In 1977 he was appointed Editor-in Chief of the Setswana dictionary at the Institute of African Studies of the then University of Bophuthatswana (now North West University). He also contributed to the development of Setswana radio programmes as a way of creating awareness of the Setswana language and literature.
His dedication and literature passion saw him appointed as an examiner and moderator of Setswana school examination papers in 1964. He also served in many committees, including the Setswana language committee of the Education Department and the Setswana language committee of the then Radio Bantu. He has published extensively including General Science and religious instruction at both primary and secondary school level. He has also published Setswana poetry (including poetry book called Tswina with PSL's Leepile Taunyane), folklore tales and short stories.
The writer who now is referred to as Dr JM Ntsime has received the following awards:
- The Sol T. Plaatje Literary Award in the 1980's, National Award winner of outstanding Author in Setswana literature (awarded by the National Department of Arts and Culture in 2005)
- Multilingualism and Nation Building Author of the Decade in Setswana (awarded by Pan South African Language Board in 2008)
Prolific Author in Setswana (awarded by the Setswana National language Body (PANSALB) in 2008)
Dr Ntsime promised to continue his contribution to language preservation and fans are eagerly awaiting another installment of his unputdownable books.