Sifiso Mzobe was born and bred in the Durban township of Umlazi, where he obtained his primary schooling and where he currently resides. After attending St Francis College, he studied Journalism at the Damelin Business Campus in Durban.
It was during a fruitful time in his work within the construction industry, that Mzobe declares the moment had come for him to finally “heed the call” of writing. With his earliest writing memory dating back to when he was just thirteen years old, Mzobe maintains that it was at this young age that the seed for his writing fervor was planted.
While doing Science subjects in high school, Mzobe would also read a lot of history books; a pastime that not only fed his interest and curiosity about the human condition, but also developed what he articulates as a “love affair with words”. It was Mzobe’s zeal for writing which led to the production of his literary debut, Young Blood.
Young Blood appeared in the January 2011 issue of the ‘O’ Magazine, among the 'Top 20 Books of the Summer'. The book was among only four thrillers that were chosen worldwide to make this notable list. Young Blood was also listed in the “Sunday Independent's Top Ten Books Of 2010". In 2012, Mzobe won the 4th Soyinka Prize for Literature for Young Blood. In 2014, Mzobe made the "Africa39 List", which names 39 of the most promising authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.
Offering a glimpse of what the reader can expect from his next book which he is currently working on, Mzobe simply states: “It is like untangling a gigantic web.”
Mzobe expresses his appreciation for the beauty of invention that is afforded by writing by observing: “It (writing) is beautiful for being a comfortable window to view a sometimes-uncomfortable world. It is an art-form that lets the artist start from a blank page, to then invent. I’m in love with it for that; this vision or delusion that in this world, you can still invent.”
Mzobe currently works for a community newspaper as a journalist.
I woke later that morning to my father’s impatient knocks on my bedroom window. Before I’d gone to sleep, I left the window open just a peek as I never could stand the pungency of over-night alcohol breath, even my own.When my father tapped on the window, the aroma of his coffee slid through the gap and provided a welcome change of odour in the aftermath of a hard night’s drink-ing. I recalled Nana’s words, the ones I always heard whenever I tried to kiss her while drunk. The way she laughed at all my jokes yet squirmed when I came closer: “If your breath smells like this,imagine your insides, stomach and everything. I am definitely not kissing you.”
“You have visitors. Why are you still sleeping so late?” Dad asked.
I heard him first as a distant echo that amplified to jolt me out of slumber.
I took a minute to scrutinise the room and confirm that all the landmarks were there – the stained ceiling, mirror, Nana’s birthday card. I moved the curtain – made by Ma on her sewing machine be-fore it died – and saw Dad under the bonnet of a mistiming Ford Courier. With him were two members of the Cold Hearts gang. I had seen the Cold Hearts at the party in Lamontville, but they had never come to us before to have their cars fixed. My tongue was a mess of yeast, barley, weed, cigarettes, ethanol and chips, and my head felt heavy. Definitely bathroom first.
I knew about the Cold Hearts. They were blood-spilling brothers. They talked – when they did talk – as if emotion was painstakingly sucked out of each word, so much so that if you were to replace their original words with others, the sentences would still sound the same. In the township, there were horror stories about the Cold Hearts. Their signature was on the cash-in-transit heist up at Stanger that left all the guards dead, as well as the bloody hijackings at Hillcrest,which had brought the flying squad into the township. The disembowelling of a taxi driver in broad daylight – over a parking spot – had township people shaking their heads in silent outrage. Was their insanity enshrined in brutality and sheer barbarism?
I had a question of my own: What did they want from me? The older of the two Cold Hearts pulled me aside. He seemed okay, so we went outside, by the painted part of the blue wall. He was a short, stocky, bald-headed heap of pure muscle. Despite their reputation, the Cold Hearts neither drank nor smoked. I had not seen any of them talking to the girls at the party in Lamontville. In the boisterous party atmosphere, they were blank-faced and aloof, and sipped only soft drinks.
He looked up at me with eyes so blank I wondered if anything functioned behind them.
Young Blood. 2010. Cape Town: Kwela Books