About Sindiwe Magona

Dr Sindiwe Magona, Anglican Archbishop Ndungane’s official biographer (From Robben Island to Bishopscourt), is an award-winning author, storyteller, motivational speaker, actor, Xhosa teacher and translator. She has written over 100 children’s books, stage plays, books of short stories, including Living, Loving and Lying Awake At Night (one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the Twentieth Century), autobiography, novels, radio plays, and a screenplay. Her novel Beauty's Gift was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Africa). 

 

Her writings tell of an impoverished childhood in South Africa and of her personal and political struggles as a black woman living under apartheid. She obtained her matric by correspondence as a single parent, mother of three and domestic servant with no fixed home. She graduated with a BA degree from the University of South Africa as well as a Master of Science Degree in Organisational Social Work from Columbia University. In 1993 she was awarded an Honourary 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. In 2007 she was awarded The Grinzane Award 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.

 

Magona allows her writing to challenge and influence public opinion while empowering black youths and women for roles that they should play in the new South Africa. She has received numerous other awards in recognition of her work in women’s issues, the plight of children, the fight against apartheid and racism, and the environment.

 

She spent 25 years in New York working for the United Nations in the Department of Public Information where she worked in the Anti-Apartheid Radio Programmes till June 1994, and for the UN till her retirement in 2003. She has since relocated to Cape Town, and is currently Writer-in-Residence at the University of the Western Cape.

Copyright © 2014 Sindiwe Magona