Born in South Africa on the Kwa Zulu Natal 'battlefields' of Vryheid, Sandile Ngidi grew up on the south coast of Durban, Amaholongwa.After matriculating at Marianhill High school he entered the literary kingdom.
His soul journey in the world of words led him on a freelance journalism pathway. He ventured into brand communication specialization and became a dramatist and Africa’s literary critic of note.
Sandile wrote the concept paper towards the inception of South Africa’s Poet Laureate prize on behalf of the wRite Associates and the Department of Arts and Culture.
“I am driven by curiosity, a desire to partake in a bigger re-imagination of the human condition” Sandile Ngidi
An avid advocate of literary translations, in 2006 he translated the classic Zulu novel by Sibusiso Nyembezi, Inkinsela yaseMgungundlovu (The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg) from Zulu to English. He writes in Zulu and English.
He was the editor of the Baobab Literary journal and Realtime youth magazine. His debut poetry collection is friends of the time.
Meet CreatepreneurAfrica – Sandile Ngidi: Africa’s literary King
Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?
I am driven by curiosity, a desire to partake in a bigger re-imagination of the human condition.
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
Words and the world of words entered my reality at home in my childhood, where my teacher parents always told stories about their world and also had books they used for school but were accessible to me as well.
Early on at high school in 1983, I began trying my hand in poetry. Mimicking really I guess, but still expressing the conditions of black boyhood in apartheid South Africa.
What about your passion appeals to you the most?
The world of words, writing, theatre, books etc, all stir the mind and the soul.
What drove you to make money from your passions?
Nothing really. Money has been incidental until I discovered that one has to support oneself at some stage.
When was the first time you were paid for your passion?
For my first newspaper article in the Natal Witness Echo in 1987, if I am not mistaken. This newspaper is influential in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa, and to know that I could be paid for my passion was a pleasant surprise.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?
To give up is to die.
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?
I believe there is something worth contributing, worth the pain and the joy of creating and waiting to be heard. The written word is powerful, it can empower or marginalize, excite or ridicule – writers, especially in the digital age have become the “big eyes” through which the world is seen or hidden.
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?
Nothing really at first. Money was incidental until I discovered that one has to support put bread on the table. I guess that is why I have for the better of my writing career, worked as a brand communication and public affairs specialist.
This has enabled me to consult with senior corporate and public sector executives. Clients often ask me to write speeches and opinion editorials. This job helps me convey messages to key target audiences anonymously.
What advice do you give to aspiring creative is who look up to you?
Look deeper inside your self and try to bring the best of you. Systematically “murder” your hero as you learn the craft and bring more of you into the imagination pot.
You are valid. Polish your craft by reading, listening and writing every day. Not just for a pay or an applause. Read widely and listen to others more across many spheres of the human condition, the planet and the environment.
Feature Image by Hugh Mdlalose photography. Coming soon in the #Createpreneur Africa series, A decade of Hugh Mdlalose Creations (photographer /videographer /musician)