Cel­e­brate Life – No or­di­nary word­smiths

Four au­thors, whose de­but books will prob­a­bly change the course of your life, open up about their writ­ing jour­neys

True Love - - CONTENTS -

BUSI SELESHO, 35, au­thor of Money and Black Peo­ple: Why Black Peo­ple Don’t Have Money & How To Heal Your Money Story

An in­ter­na­tion­ally-ac­cred­ited Money Coach and CEO of Isipho Sem­pilo HSE So­lu­tions, Busi is a se­rial en­tre­pre­neur who learnt the money lessons she now cher­ishes the hard way. She’s pas­sion­ate about teach­ing peo­ple how to save, in­vest and make bet­ter money de­ci­sions.

The story be­hind your writ­ing…At the end of my money sem­i­nars, I’d al­ways sense that peo­ple yearned for some­thing to take home. At the time, I didn’t think I had it in me to write a book — all I wanted was to equip my black broth­ers and sis­ters with wealth creation skills. The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind your first book… As the last of six kids, when my mom passed on, ev­ery­one who came to pay their re­spects kept telling my older sib­lings they’d need a lot of money to raise me. So, I un­der­stood quite early on that money makes the world go around. As a teenager and young adult, I sold sweets, spinach and later be­came a sales­per­son and then an en­tre­pre­neur. I be­came bank­rupt but see­ing a wealth coach was my turn­ing point — I de­vel­oped a de­sire to change other black peo­ple’s money nar­ra­tives af­ter these ses­sions.

The lessons you im­part in the book… My own bad money de­ci­sions and the ex­pe­ri­ences of those around me in­spired the book’s lessons. The book breaks down the stereo­types peo­ple be­lieve about money. It also of­fers so­lu­tions in the form of the 30-day money mind­set pro­gramme, which is a great ex­er­cise to try.

Les­son for the reader to take away…I’d like peo­ple to ad­just and hope­fully change their money mind­sets.

MALEBO SEPHODI, 34 , au­thor of Miss Be­have

Ac­tivist, African fem­i­nist, lec­turer, game-changer and no­mad are just a few of the ti­tles Malebo uses to de­scribe her­self. She is on a mis­sion to try change black women’s nar­ra­tives.

The story be­hind the writ­ing…

I wrote from a deeply per­sonal place. I had to learn a lot of things about my­self while do­ing re­search for this book, and I grew as a re­sult. Miss Be­have was my way of putting out a long-overdue con­ver­sa­tion that we as black women needed to have.

The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the book… As a young girl, I only never saw my­self through the eyes of so­ci­ety. I was over­weight, shy, lived in my head and thought the worst of my­self. I had im­poster syn­drome and lived in fear of some­one find­ing out that I was a fraud. Once I chal­lenged so­ci­ety’s many def­i­ni­tions of what it means to be a black woman, I came to terms with my per­cep­tions and weak­nesses.

The in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the sto­ry­line… The book is about push­ing back against the norm and what we’ve been told to be. With Miss Be­have, I also wanted to ex­per­i­ment with my writ­ing and defy the rules of what con­sti­tutes a good book or writ­ing. I took com­plex aca­demic is­sues like African fem­i­nism, so­cial con­structs, pa­tri­archy, race and power re­la­tions and wrote about them in an all-en­com­pass­ing tone that would ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­one. When some­one reads the book, I want them to say, ‘The woman writ­ten about here is me’. Lessons for the reader to take away…

The book’s far from pre­scrip­tive and is merely a new con­ver­sa­tion about old is­sues. I’d like the reader to en­gage with the text, fight for the truth and un­learn ev­ery­thing they’ve been taught to be­lieve that could pos­si­bly hurt other peo­ple.

IJANGOLET S. OGWANG, 26,

au­thor of An Im­age in A Mir­ror and a post-in­vest­ment an­a­lyst by day

Born to Ugan­dan par­ents in Kenya, the East­ern Cape-bred Ijangolet be­lieves her own colour­ful child­hood played a big role in her pro­duc­ing a cap­ti­vat­ing story of two sis­ters who grew up in dif­fer­ent worlds.

The story be­hind your writ­ing… Writ­ing had al­ways been my favourite hobby but pur­su­ing it as a ca­reer was not an op­tion be­cause all my sib­lings had es­tab­lished ca­reers in ei­ther com­merce or en­gi­neer­ing. I chose fi­nance while keep­ing in mind that be­ing an ac­tivist and doc­u­ment­ing African nar­ra­tives were my ul­ti­mate goals. This is why I had to re­sus­ci­tate my love for writ­ing.

The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind your first novel… In 2015, a good friend of mine passed away in a car ac­ci­dent and that made me re­alise how we al­ways as­sume we have in­fi­nite time — yet we don’t. The sto­ry­line came to me dur­ing a visit to Uganda one De­cem­ber. I had been chat­ting to my dad about his up­bring­ing and just how dif­fer­ent our world­views were when it oc­curred to me what a beau­ti­ful story the con­ver­sa­tion could make.

The in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the sto­ry­line…The du­al­ity con­cept was in­flu­enced by my own up­bring­ing —I grew up in But­ter­worth but went to a board­ing school in East London. I con­stantly had to tran­si­tion and ne­go­ti­ate my­self be­tween those two worlds. How­ever, the sto­ry­line changed as I in­ter­acted with more peo­ple.

Lessons for the reader to take away…

The con­cept of the per­fect mo­ment doesn’t ex­ist. We con­stantly live in a du­al­ity of courage and fear, and it’s com­pletely ac­cept­able to ex­ist be­tween those two spa­ces. The sec­ond is to ex­pe­ri­ence life at a much deeper level and not just see and in­ter­nalise the stereo­types about our peo­ple and con­ti­nent.

MOHALE MASHIGO, 35,

au­thor of The Yearn­ing and part­time singer/song­writer

Her real name is Kgo­motso Mashigo but the award-win­ning au­thor chooses to use her mom’s maiden sur­name, Mohale, as a way of pay­ing trib­ute to her.

The story be­hind your writ­ing…

I come from a fam­ily of sto­ry­tellers. My mom was great at nar­rat­ing sto­ries. I started writ­ing in high school and stud­ied jour­nal­ism at Rhodes Univer­sity, fol­lowed by mar­ket­ing and have worked in ad­ver­tis­ing, mag­a­zines and ra­dio. I only started writ­ing in the past few years.

The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind your first novel…

Around 2006, I hated my job in ad­ver­tis­ing so much that I used writ­ing as an ex­cuse to get away from my col­leagues. I opened a blank word doc­u­ment one day and started typ­ing — not in­tend­ing to write a novel. As I was typ­ing, I re­alised that the sto­ry­line was ac­tu­ally in­ter­est­ing. I had no idea that I was writ­ing a book un­til 2016 when the man­u­script went to print. I kept aban­don­ing this project, which is why it took me for­ever to fin­ish. The in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the sto­ry­line… I was de­pressed when I started writ­ing The Yearn­ing — to the point where I had to sol­dier through a break­down. For­tu­nately, writ­ing helped keep me sane dur­ing that pe­riod. When I started feel­ing bet­ter, I re­vis­ited the story and re­alised that I needed to write about heal­ing be­cause I too would ben­e­fit from an up­lift­ing sto­ry­line. I didn’t think the book would re­ceive the love and at­ten­tion it has. Af­ter all, my ini­tial am­bi­tion was to, at least, sell a hun­dred copies. Re­ceiv­ing the 2016 Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg Prize for South African De­but Writ­ing was a pleas­ant sur­prise. Les­son for the reader to take away… When­ever I sign books, I like in­scrib­ing the mes­sage, ‘I hope this book gives more than it takes’. That’s hon­estly all I can hope for.

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