Bhekisigcino Damasius Khawula (1967 - ) was born in Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal. He studied at Kenterton Higher Primary School, St. Mary’s, Impunga High School and Sibonelo at KwaMashu.
Khawula started writing in 2004 and has been working in the machinery unit at the Hulletts sugar factory for 21 years. He is inspired him to write by a love for his native country and young people. In an online interview he revealed:
I decided to write books so that the young ones could take something out of these books that I have written. Whether you are writing a film or writing a novel or writing a drama, for me the most important thing is that there must be a message that you are putting across to your readers.
Khawula writes in isiZulu and his books include a collection of poems titled Izingwazi Zanamuhla, a collection of short stories titled Inyoni Kayiphumuli and Imikhombe Iyenanana, a play which won at the Actua Press in 2009.
Yihlathi Leli is Khawula’s debut novel, and was published in 2012. The novel is about Mchithwa, a young man whose goal in life is to be a teacher. However, when a taxi driver offers to help him on the side of the road, Mchithwa gets roped into a world trafficking.
Yihlathi Leli won a silver award in the African Languages category at the Sanlam Youth Literature Awards (2012). Relebohile Nephawe described the book as “a good read” and listed it as inspirational in her Live Magazine article.
Khawula currently resides in Ntokozweni, Durban, with his wife and three children.
Excerpt from Yihlathi Leli (2012:2-3):
Bangena emotini yakubo kaMchithwa ligamanxa ihora lesishiyagalombili kusihlwa. Ntondolo walayitha iwunga yakhe wabhema kabili kathathu, wase enika uMchithwa. Waqala wenqaba ukubhema, kodwa ngoba uNtondolo uyamncenga wagcina evumile.
“Mchithwa, uyawuzwa ukuthi umnandi kanjani lo gwayi?”
“Umnandi kakhulu,” evuma uMchithwa.
“Lo gwayi ubizwa ngewunga, wenza umfana abe umqemane, abe namandla amaningi, aphinde abe nesibindi,” kusho uNtondolo.
“Ngizwa kahle Dlamini.”
“Ngicela ungisize nawe Mchithwa.”
“Izandla ingani uyazi ukuthi ziyagezana.”
“Yebo kunjalo,” kuvuma uMchithwa, inhliziyo yakhe isisekhaya ngoba uyazi ukuthi unina ujahe ukumbona.
“Uyabona ukuthi le wunga yohlobo oluphambili ukuthi imnandi kanjani? Yingoba yakhiwa ngezithako ezithize, okuhlanganisa ama-ARVs. Manje inkinga esivame ukuhlangabezana nayo ukudingeka kwawo ama-ARVs. Lokhu okunye kutholakala kalula, mfo kaNcokwane.
2012. Yihlathi Leli, Cape Town: Tafelberg