Born Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda in Herschell in the Eastern Cape, his early schooldays were in Soweto and went on to complete his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate at Peka High, Lesotho (1969). He then read for a BFA in Visual Arts at the International Academy of Arts and Letters, Zurich Switzerland, and then obtained both an MFA in Theater and an MA in Mass Communication from Ohio University, Athens Ohio (1981-84). In 1989 he completed his PhD at the University of Cape Town. After teaching literature in English at various schools in Lesotho, and some experience with the American Cultural Centre in Lesotho and the Lesotho Broadcasting Corporation, he became a university lecturer (and progressed to full professor) in English at the National University of Lesotho (1985-1992). Between 1993 and 1995 held a variety of fellowships, including at Yale and the University of the Witwatersrand and in 2013 was an Artist in Residence at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies then he became a full-time writer, painter, and filmmaker. His play, We Shall Sing for the Fatherland which won the Amstel Playwright of the Year Special Merit Award in 1978 is currently on stage at the Soweto Theatre.