Telling MY STORY
Bona|March 2020
Four readers share their experiences of publishing their first books, and the importance of telling African stories.
Amanda Mtuli & Fundiswa Nkwanyana

Anelile Mandisa Gibixego (29) lives in Johannesburg, and is an author of a book called iGoli Dreams. She’s also the founder of NoKurasa Publishing, and works as an environmentalist specialising in aquatic science.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MY STORY

I wanted to create awareness around gender-based violence. So, I wrote a relatable South African story about it. The concept is about coming to Johannesburg with big dreams and aspirations. It also explores the taxi industry, township lifestyle and corporate sector.

TELLING IT

I spent a lot of time researching themes that I wanted to focus on. I interviewed people, watched footage of rape survivors and even went to police stations gathering information. Afterwards, I focused on the plot and character building. It took me only three months to write the book because I’m very passionate about advocating against gender-based violence. It then went through the editing and proofreading process. I chose to self-publish because I wanted sole responsibility for my project, and to keep my creative freedom. My book was published in 2018.

THRIVING AGAINST THE ODDS

Access to funding is a challenge because in order to create a quality product, you need to spend money. Distribution is also hard because distributors and bookshops want a huge percentage of your profit. Most of us often sell from car boots. But, through hard work, I managed to make a profit. The publishing world is tough, so I decided to officially open NoKurasa Publishing in 2019. This is a publishing space that is safe for storytellers. I want to continue writing and publishing books because our stories are important.

Mantedieng Mantis Mamabolo (32) lives in Johannesburg, and is a self-published author of a children’s book titled Boipelo’s Family Tree. She works as a technology business analyst.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MY STORY

I struggled to find books about LGBTIAQ+ people and queer coupling or partnerships. So, I wrote a book about a little black girl growing up in a LGBTIAQ+ home; the primary caregivers are in a same-sex relationship. I wanted to write a book that I could read to my children one day.

TELLING IT

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