College of Humanities hosts Public Lecture Honouring Activist Mzala Nxumalo
The John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education within the College of Humanities and the Mzala Nxumalo Centre for the Study of South African Society held a public lecture on the Pietermaritzburg campus to honour and pay homage to Mzala Nxumalo.
Nxumalo was an ANC and SACP activist, soldier, intellectual and writer who died at the age of 35, just as his intellectual activity was beginning to flourish. The lecture was presented by Nxumalo’s friend, Mr Zakes Nkosi, who focused on Mzala’s legacy and its relevance for contemporary South African society.
Nkosi gave personal and detailed accounts of Nxumalo’s early life from his intellectual prowess at a young age to his insatiable hunger for knowledge. He also touched on instances in Nxumalo’s life such as his stance on racial injustices and his prolific writing career that led to the books: The African Communist, Sechaba, Dawn and Gatsha Buthelezi, Chief with a Double Agenda.
‘Much of his writing focused on the national question and the unfolding revolutionary process in South Africa,’ said Nkosi. ‘Mzala’s life is an inspiration to young academics and intellectuals to address the social injustices in the country. We need more Mzalas to challenge corruption and to engage with national issues for a more transformed country.’
Responding to Nkosi, Dr Vukile Khumalo said: ‘Young people should always remain inquisitive, asking questions and rising above circumstances.
‘If there is anything to learn from Mzala Nxumalo, it should be that ideas are far more important than the individual personalities delivering them. It is the power within ideas that is important. The Mzala Nxumalo Centre shouldn’t only commemorate the legend but should also put his ideas into practice to unlock the energy within communities,’ he said.
Nxumalo’s daughter, Ms Balinde Nxulamo, said, ‘As an African socialist, Mzala was passionate about everything he did and as a family we are proud of him. We are also grateful to UKZN and the Centre for hosting this lecture to commemorate Mzala’s life. It is a huge honour for us.’
Melissa Mungroo and Sibongile H. Moyo