(This article has detailed the history of this living legend )
By Jonk wa Mashamba
“A prophet is not usually recognized by his own people. However, this is not the case with me, because today (13th of March 2021) I accepted a Life Time Achievements Award in the village of my birth.”
These jovial words of appreciation DR. Freddy Rikhotso expressed through his Facebook wall after receiving the award.
Rikhotso was honored with a Life Time Achievement Award by the Vutivi I Ndzhaka (Partnering of choice in village education) organization.
The event was held at Scotch Maboko High School Mulati, two meters away from Keulen (Rigorigo) in Muhlava, (Limpopo province) a place of his birth.
The event honored him for massively conducting an in-depth research on the history of Tsongas.
The honor comes after Rikhotso wrote 18 books, where he promoted his Tsonga language.
He also promoted the language during his time as a news reader for the Mungana Lonene FM: Makomba Ndlela..
In 1989, when his former employer (Radio Tsonga), Rikhotso received (his first award) Educum Library Award.
His winning was also praised by the late Prof. H.W.E. Ntsanwisi who said
“I would like to congratulate you on behalf of myself and my government on your winning the Educum Best Black Drama.
“This is a great achievement, and I would like to join you in your celebration.
“I pray that you grow from strength to strength. Much still lies ahead of you.”
Ntsanwisi’s prophesy became a reality when Rikhotso received the following awards later:
Idem Award in Best Xitsonga Radio Script (1989); Shuter and Shooter Folklore Award (1991); Xitsonga Language Folkore Award (1992); Maskew Miller Longman Award (1993); Best News Reader Munghana Lonene FM (1998); Ngula ya Xitsonga Awards (2005); Mama Beka Award (2010); Hlovani Lodge Award (2011); PanSALB Multilingualism Award (2011); honorary doctorate in Literature (2015); Minkondzo Ya Tinghwazi “Footprints Of Legends (2016), amongst others.
For the development of Xitsonga literature, he wrote 18 books of different genres, with themes which covered socio-economic issues.
In 1976 Rikhotso was part of editorial committee working on Xitsonga bible translation project, responsible for the present version of the Xitsonga Bible, Mahungu Lamanene, published in 1989.
“Some of my books were prescribed at schools, colleges and universities,” says the down-to-earth prolific writer.
These are some of the plays/dramas the revered doctor has penned: Hlamalani wa ka Gulatino (1973); Nhenha ya Mafarana (1974); Mavondzo a ya hakeri (1975); Mhunti yo fela etinyaweni (1985); Nwarilacuma (1980); Ndza tisola (1990); Magandlati ya vutomi (1993), and; Muhloti wa mihloti (1995).
Rikhotso also wrote the following short stories: Xirimela (1984); Xa mina i tinyeleti (1994), Phehlwa ra Gwambe na Dzavana (1992); Khale ka makwangala (1993) and Ndzhaka yeru, amongst others.
The legend told Alex Reporter that his writing skill was oiled when he developed a passion for reading whatever he came across.
“But I was inspired by my former teacher, F. A Thuketana, (at Bordeaux Primary School), the author of a novel called Xisomisana.”
Rikhotso, who is currently busy compiling a book on ‘Swivongo swa Vatsonga’ has an advice to prospective writers.
“Never give up when you start writing. Read more books to sharpen your knowledge.”
The ‘grandpa of journalism’, as others call him, had wokerd for the SABC’s MLFM for thirty-three years before he retired in 2012.
“I started as a presenter at the then Radio Tsonga.
‘I then went to a news office as a radio journalist. Since 1996 I became a news reader until retirement after working for the SABC from 1979.”
He became the talk of town in 2019 when he became the South African 200m champion at the age of 67.
This after he won in 33 comma 6 seconds, in the Golden Games for elderly people held in Port Elizabeth.
He is a chairperson of the Heritage Committee of the Nkuna Traditional Authority a and chairperson of the Development Committee of the Mafarana Village under Headman Shibodze.
(Jonk wa Mashamba is CEO at Mashamba Media Pty Ltd, founder of Alex Reporter (National online publication) and founder member of the Giyani View newspaper (based in Limpopo province).