Written by Zibusiso Zee Nyathi
His story is not so different from many of the City of Kings’s talented young people. It is a story of struggle, frustration and selfdrive. The PenMaster, real name, Nathaniel Zipho Mpofu is a young writer from Luveve 5 who has penned down not less than 9 books: 4 African surreal novels; 2 short stories and 2 poetry anthologies; and a memoir.
A Librarian at the City’s Historic Reference Collection, City Hall, which by the way, like Nathaniel is a hidden wonder and has since become my favorite hangout, the same way Nathaniel has become my favorite local author of all time! A couple of his books ‘bless’ my Local Reads shelf alongside Dambudzo Marechera’s, Phathisa Nyathi’s, Charles Mugoshi’s , John Eppel’s and Philani Nyoni’s, to name but a few!
PenMaster huh?, That was exactly my reaction when Nathaniel introduced himself to me at a poetry gathering last year. I did not try to hide my skepticism, and I imagine skeptics are daily bread to our local talents. The struggle to constantly prove oneself, sometimes even go as far as giving freebies in this unfriendly economy of ours! That is what Nathaniel did. He handed me a copy of his book, The Colour of Alchemy, at the end of which I bowed down to his penmastery and agreed that PenMaster is indeed a suitable epithet for him.
Another one of my favourites by him is the novel ‘The Unreader’ which is set at the Eveline Girls High School Library. Nathaniel’s knowledge of the City and it’s history is visibly evident in his stories which makes them good reads; educative yet entertaining. I suppose that is to be expected from a man who spends his days ‘cooped up’ in the Historic Refrence Library! I often joke that he is a walking encyclopedia. His vast knowledge of just about anything and sharp memory reminds me of Phathisa Nyathi! I could go on and on about how great a writer he is , But hey, don’t just take my word for it check out his website or just pop into the BPL main branch and borrow a copy or two of his work. Feel free to purchase his books as well, they are available directly from him and on Amazon for those who are out of the country.
As an unashamedly consumer of words and outspoken addict of poetry, I am restlessly waiting for his latest offering, ‘Evetry. 101 Poems For Her’. It promises to live up to the reputation that Nathaniel has built for himself. His toil , consistency and patience has not been in vain, this 2017 BAA fiction winner, is a nominee again at this year’s BAA for fiction, and nominated as well for African Writer’s Awards (AWA) Creative non fiction. To think we have such a gem in our midst, and right at the heart of the city too!
To get in touch with Nathaniel use the following details:
WhatsApp & calls – +263 773 377 045
Twitter – @ThePenmast3r
Facebook– Nathaniel Z. Mpofu
Author’s Page on Amazon:
Author’s Page on Goodreads:
Author’s Page on Wikipedia:
Library of congress online catalogue links:
African Global Networks poetry
Stories to change the world 3