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Sarah Mkhonza

An outspoken voice for women’s rights under the monarchical Swazi regime, Sarah Mkhonza wrote newspaper columns for The Observer and The Swazi Sun that told of the daily struggles of Swazi women and children ejected from their land. In her columns, she employed a “journalistic fiction” style intended to foster a writing culture among Swazi women. As her popularity as a critic of the government’s repressive policies grew, she was told to stop writing. Her refusal resulted in threats, assaults, and hospitalization. At the University of Swaziland, where she was professor of linguistics and English, her office was vandalized and her computer destroyed.

She co-founded the Association of African Women, and the African Book Fund Group at Michigan State University, which has sent over 1000 books to the University of Swaziland and other African institutions.After her time in Ithaca, Mkhonza has taught in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, at Boston University, and at Stanford University. She has published two books in Swaziland, What the Future Holds (Pacesetters) and Pains of a Maid (Pacesetters), and three in the US, Two Stories (Vista Periodista 2007), Woman in a Tree (Vista Periodista 2008), and Weeding the Flowerbeds (Xlibris 2009), Teaching English in Swaziland: Essays on the Life of Gordon James Thomas (Author House 2011).

In 2013 Sarah Mkhonza joined the faculty of Stanford University, where she is teaching courses in Zulu and Xhosa.

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