Huge honour for Sesotho writer

2015-09-23 06:00
ICON: Veteran writer Suzan Sefatsa (left) is being congratulated by one of her sons in literature, Pule Lechesa, at the newly-renamed Suzan Sefatsa Library in Senekal on Friday (18/09). 
Thabo Thulo

ICON: Veteran writer Suzan Sefatsa (left) is being congratulated by one of her sons in literature, Pule Lechesa, at the newly-renamed Suzan Sefatsa Library in Senekal on Friday (18/09). Photo: Thabo Thulo

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SUZAN SEFATSA, a highly-esteemed Senekal-based Sotho writer, made history last Friday (18/09) when she became the first female writer in South Africa to have a public library named after her.

The Matwabeng Public Library in Senekal has been renamed the Suzan Sefatsa Library.

The prestigious ceremony, organised by the Free State Provincial Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, together with the Naledi Local Municipality and Setsoto Local Municipality, was held at the Matwabeng Community Hall in Senekal.

Speaker after speaker showered the iconic writer with accolades and described her as a charismatic leader, community builder, teacher, writer of note and a woman of substance who has succeeded against all odds.

One of them was the representative of the Matwabeng Veteran Teachers Association, Solomon Msibi, who said Sefatsa would always be remembered by the significant contribution she had selflessly made to develop her community and Sotho literature.

“Nkgono Sefatsa loves literature, hence she formed the Matwabeng Reading Club encouraging youngsters and elderly people to read different Sotho books,” said Msibi.

“After retiring from teaching in 1992 she formed a non-profit organisation (NPO) for elderly people, the Iketsetseng Luncheon Club. These elderly come together to exercise, read books, do knitting and eat,” he said.

“There are more people going to the taverns than those going to the libraries. Sefatsa has left us with an impressive legacy of loving libraries,” he added.

Vincent Khetha, the acting chief director of the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, spoke on behalf of MEC Mathabo Leeto – who is currently in China on a business trip, saying their department is aware that a place should not be named after a person who is still alive.

“I think we have made a calculated blunder. Sefatsa deserves such an honour as she is the best, will always be the best and deserves to be given the best honour,” said Khetha.

A well-known researcher and writer, Pule Lechesa, who has written a mini-biography of three great Sotho writers X Amelia Mokorosi, Mamothibeli Sehlabo and Suzan Sefatsa X in his book The souvenir tribute of legendary Sesotho female writers, introduced by Prof. Denis Ngcangca, said what was left was to have her books translated in other languages.

An excited and dumbfounded Sefatsa thanked the Matwabeng community, municipalities and the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.

“I really don’t have proper words to describe how I feel. I am so very happy to have the local library named after me,” she said.

Sefatsa’s books were used as school set books. She has written books such as Makomo, Sesiu, Mphatlatsane and Phokojwe le Phiri

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