Prolific Setswana writer honoured with a Doctorate
MAFIKENG - Iconic author and accomplished teacher Joseph Matlhasedi Ntsime was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree by the Mafikeng Campus of North-West University (NWU) at its recent spring graduation ceremonies.
Drawing on his early experiences and inspiration as a writer, Dr Ntsime told 193 Human and Social Sciences graduates during his acceptance speech that children can be morally nurtured by idioms, and stressed the importance of cultivating a reading culture among young people from a tender age. "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," he said.
The 78-year-old Setswana novelist and former Deputy Minister of Education in the erstwhile Bophuthatswana Government, was instrumental in the establishment of the Language Services Section in the Department of Education and Training. Dr Ntsime was involved in the translation of government documents, including Hansard, and the development of terminology in general. He also edited and published a Setswana magazine, "Utlwang”; which covered news and current affairs.
In 1964 Dr Ntsime was appointed as an examiner and moderator of Setswana school examination papers. He has published extensively, including General Science and Religious Instruction at both primary and secondary school level, and has also published Setswana poetry (including a poetry book Tswina with PSL's Leepile Taunyane), folklore tales and short stories.
In 1977 Dr Ntsime was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Setswana dictionary at the Institute of African Studies of the then University of Bophuthatswana (now the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University). He served on many committees, including the Setswana Language Committee of the Education Department and the Setswana Language Committee of the then Radio Bantu, and also contributed to the development of Setswana radio programmes to create awareness of the Setswana language and literature.
Dr Ntsime has received numerous awards, including the Sol Plaatje Literary Award in the 1980s, the award for Outstanding Author in Setswana literature, awarded by the National Department of Arts and Culture in 2005, the award for Multilingualism and Nation Building Author of the Decade in Setswana, as well as the award for Prolific Author in Setswana, both awarded by the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) in 2008.
Dr Ntsime promised to continue his contribution to language preservation, and fans are eagerly awaiting another instalment of his enthralling books.
Dr Ntsime, an iconic author and accomplished teacher, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree at the Human and Social Sciences graduation session recently held on the Mafikeng Campus of the NWU.
Dr Ntsime and Dr Dan Kgwadi, Rector of the Mafikeng Campus.