This piece is inspired by my leadership thesis defence which I did for my final year at the African Leadership Academy, the pre-university program I have been fortunately blessed to attend for the past two years- since 2013.
I have been writing I was seven. By the time I was thirteen I had compiled poems in Setswana and English. I wrote my first short story when I was fifteen. I was working on a play for sometime and I gave up on it. I never thought writing would be such an integral part of life, but in so many ways, it has helped me become the person I am today. It has become a writing cliché that “writing introduces one to a different world”, and that is indeed true. I don’t write because everyone else is doing it, I write because I know I have a voice that needs to be heard. At times, I am the one who needs to hear that voice.
My relationship with my pen can become disheartening and very stressful, especially when I seek validation from other people to make me value my writing. One of my favourite writers and a close friend of mine, whom I will call Kaine for the sake of this piece, told me that “you need to believe in your own writing before everybody else does. You must validate yourself before you can seek out someone to do so.” This got me thinking. I don’t just write, just for the sake of doing so. I write because sometimes it feels good to be alone with your thoughts. It feels good just to get lost in the rhythm and pace of your ink, words and pen. My problem is not that I am not being validated about my writing. My problem is that I have an incredibly bad self-esteem that I will not be helped to get over unless I help myself. I can only help myself by believing in myself.
There are a lot of reasons why I write. I like hearing and telling stories. I am not a fan of foreign stores- stories I cannot relate to. I am a loyal fan of African tales. Stories about people and their lives inspire me to write. I am at a phase where I am looking at story writing and telling in a different light. I want to make township stories known. The stories we hear about townships are mainly about the same issue- how a poor black kid makes it to the top and forgets about his background, stories about women living in shacks and heading families and so forth. But these are not enough. These stories are often told in theatrical form and no novel has been written about other stories. I am an education and entrepreneurship enthusiast, but no one is writing about the Black Economic Empowerment- its detriments and effectiveness, no one is writing about post-apartheid schools in townships. Even though a lot of money has been invested in the education budget but disparities are still apparent in the schooling system.
Writing is just an exhilarating activity.