Her work has been compiled from the archives of the newspaper she wrote for into an anthology, The Nation's Bounty: The Xhosa poetry of Nontsizi Mgqwetho. Mgqwetho wrote for the newspaper Umteteli wa Bantu (The People's Advocate, my translation) – a multilingual newspaper edited by Marshall Maxeke. Written in the 1920s, Mgqwetho’s work explores the complexities of identity and experience in an urban space. Her choice to write izibongo (praise poetry) and not iintsomi (folktales) is evidence that she defied the traditional role given to women at the time, as her poetry attempts to address issues in a medium that was occupied for the most part by men. Writing in such a place and time meant that Mgqwetho’s voice emerged amid the labour conflicts on the mines. Little has been documented about Mgqwetho’s work until recently largely due to the marginalisation of women as artists and social commentators in the 1920s.
Her work was discovered by Prof. Jeff Opland in the archives of the newspaper and was translated with the help of Phyllis Ntantala and Abner Nyamende from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Mgqwetho’s poetry addresses the reality of black people and their quest for identity in a segregated and oppressive society. In order to achieve this she adopts a different persona in every poem – sometimes she adopts the persona of a man, in others a woman, a preacher, a sangoma, iqaba, a Red or a Christian. In her defiance she not only invades a traditional male preserve of newspapers by taking on the masculine role of imbongi (praise poet), she also makes use of Western forms of poetry emptying them of their restrictive nature and filling them with her own experience.
Below is a stanza from the poem with the lines I quote on the blog "asinakuthula umhlaba ubolile". The title of the poem is Ukuthula!Ikwakuvuma! (Silence implies consent) a poem which is very relevant to Africans today.
Taru Mhleli ngesithuba sezi Mbongi Editor, thank you for the poets' column
Asinakuthula umhlaba ubolile We cannot sit silent, the country's rotten
Xa ndikubonisa ubume bomhlaba If I exposed the state of the country
Angabhekabheka onke amagqoboka the Christians' jaws would drop
Gquba!Ungathuli Mdaka weAfrika Dark one of Africa, don't sit in silence
Boguqa bakedame nabalwa nawe quell you foes with a roar of defiance!
Lovangeli yabo yokusikohlisa This gospel of theirs,designed to deceive
Mina ingangam ndigaqe ngedolo stands as tall as I do down on my knees
Her are some references which relate to Nontsizi Mgqwetho:
 The common translation, The People’s mouthpiece; it was established by the Chamber of Mines. See Brian Willan (ed). Sol Plaatje: Selected Writings. Wits University Press, 1996, p. 305
 Red is commonly used in the Xhosa form, “umntu obomvu” (a red person). It was initially ascribed to Xhosa people who persisted in using red ochre for their faces and bodies despite the missionaries’ insistence that this was unacceptable. It denotes someone who is either uneducated (by ‘Western’ standards) or rejects colonial norms.