Interview with Malesela Makwesa

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in GaChaba, Mokopane but started school in Alexandra. Seeing the challenges of township life made me want to share my experiences, which many people can also relate to.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 13 years old
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I was motivated after my love for reading novels and short stories started growing.
What is your writing process?
Ideas come into me at anytime, but once I put one on paper I make sure to write everyday.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
The first story I wrote was in Northern Sotho titled 'Go se tsebe ke kotsi' and meant for television. It was about two teenage boys involved in crime. But true to the title, they did not know the dangers posed by this illegal activity.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy for me is losing myself into my characters, when they begin to come alive, as if they exist on their own.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember is Papillon. I read this novel because I had watched the movie based on it before. But reading the novel I was surprised by how words can also become visual.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The first book will be 'Megokgo ya Bjoko' by legendary Sepedi writer O. K Matsepe. Besides the quality of language and characterisation, the book captures an era of local life now out of existence. Next book is a compillation of Northern Sotho short stories titled 'Go tseba Mang?' by H. Ramokgopa. The stories draw from lived experiences of real people. Here you get drama, mystery, witchcraft and thriller and all written with master class. The third one is 'Marema ka Dika,' by J. Rakoma. This book is like the manual of Northern Sotho. It documents traditional proverbs, idioms and other parts of speech that make up Northern Sotho as a language. Number four is a novel by John Steinbeck, 'Grapes of Wrath'. I was blown by the essence with which the writer captures the lives of ordinary people. The final novel is by Ken Follet titled 'The Pillars of the Earth'. This book depicts medieval England brilliantly. It made me want to write about African history, beginning from the reach of memory.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read anything from newspapers, magazines, all literary genres as well as online posts.
What do your readers mean to you?
My readers make me the writer. We stand in solidarity for, while I have the honour to impart information they also have duty to pass it down. And that on the other hand helps conserve language, culture and identity.
Published 2019-06-03.
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Books by This Author

Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 6,160. Language: Sesotho. Published: August 9, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » African
A short story in Sesotho sa Leboa. Lapa la ga Digakile be le phala a mantši ka lethabo le mabobo go fihlela Morena Digakile a nyaka ngwana wa mošemane. Le ge Nthateng a le gona, Digakile a thoma le go duma morwa gore e tle e be mojalefa, gape e be molotaina.