The late Professor Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane was many things, including a senior advisor to former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob
Zuma. President Mandela described him as a “visionary leader and one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals.”

On the literary front, multilingual African literature was his field and passion. He worked closely with African luminaries to inspire people of African descent the world over to read and write in their languages. With the legendary Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Nawal El Saawadi, the three served as co-chairs of the initiative, “BUWA African Languages and Literatures into the 21st Century.”

Mzamane published extensively on African literature, heritage, and education. His scholarly research and works of fiction have been translated into several languages including German, French, Russian and Dutch. At the time of his passing, Mzamane was the Project Leader & Editor of his self-initiated project, the Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH),
what he called his last gift to South Africa.

A prolific storyteller who often went into schools the world over to share traditional African stories, he ensured all his books were accessible to the young adult audience (high schoolers and above). He also used a unique child-centred style to write the children’s book, The Race Between the Turtles and Cheetahs (Canberra, The Australian National University: The Herbert and Valmae Freilich Foundation, 2004).