Sandile Ngidi

Sandile Ngidi is a literary translator and writes in Zulu and English. He is currently studying at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Historical Studies, courtesy of the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the History Access programme.


His forthcoming MA mini dissertation is on Mazisi Kunene’s epic poem, Emperor Shaka The Great (1979), and the makings of a Pan Africanist Poetic Imagination.

In 2018, Mahlephula Press published his poetry chapbook, You Can’t Tell Me Anything Now. His poetry features in Halala Madiba – Nelson Mandela in Poetry, a collection published by Aflame Books and edited by Raks Seakhoa and Richard Bartlet. In 2019 he obtained an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes. In the same year, his poem, inspired by the Battle of Isandlwana, Ntaba Mungcwi/Ghost Mountain, appeared in Five Points magazine published at the University of Georgia, USA.

Together with Prof Innocentia Mhlambi, Sandile is the editor of Mintirho ya vulavula: Arts, national identities, and democracy in South Africa, published by Mistra (via Jacana Media) in February 2021.

In 2002 he wrote a script for the official opening ceremony of the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, worked as a librettist together with Caiphus Semenya and the recently departed poet, Don Mattera, among others. In the production he served as a dialogue coach for the two child actors, and for late Sam Phillips, to a limited degree.

In 2000, while teaching at The Vega School of Brand Communication, Sandile was one of the copywriters of the “red robot” cycle of TV commercials. In 1999 he composed and performed a poem in the Zulu ukubonga tradition at the annual Zulu reed festival at KwaNongoma, at the invitation of the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill kaBhekuzulu.

In 2022, together with the Playhouse Company, he curated and produced the first Izingqalabutho Maskandi Concert, dedicated to the late maskandi pioneer, David Mlahleni Ngcobo and the living maskanda veteran, Thwalofu Khoza.

Sandile regularly writes on the arts for various South African and overseas publications.