Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting Businesses off the ground

Luthando Teyise is publishing editor of SMME Business friend. As the New Year tapered to an end he spoke to Lebohang Motse about his new publication…

LEBOHANG: Why is it so difficult for so many black companies to get off the ground?

TEYISE: Alas, statistics have revealed that many newly established close corporations seldom survive beyond the first six months. Only recently, Cipro which is the registrar for intellectual property rights has lamented the fact that of the five thousand new businesses which are registered each month, only around 10 percent survive the first twelve months of operations. This has the result of making thousands of c.c’s to lie dormant at any given point in time. This really is a shocking state of affairs and something drastic obviously needs to be done to reverse this trend. This and other factors gave birth to the idea of publishing informative newsletters to assist the emerging and existing SMMES. My publication is appropriately titled “SMME BUSINESS FRIEND” and is a small contribution towards addressing the above problem.

LEBOHANG: What will you be reading during this festive season?

TEYISE: I always read anyway, no matter how busy I am. I will be reading some good books once again during the break. I was lucky enough to get a copy of Bolaji’s new book, Tebogo and the pantophagist. It was very nice of him to dedicate the book to the late journalist, Gloria Marobele. It was such a tragedy when she died so young, as she was so promising.

LEBOHANG: I presume you are planning great things for your publication next year?

TEYISE: Of course. A good publication is predicated on adequate marketing, and I have quite a lot of experience in this wise throughout South Africa. I believe the sky is the limit for my SMME Business Friend

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Why I cut my locks" - Seleke Botsime

Interview by Thato Nkatswang

Seleke Botsime, the well known Free State muso, painter and writer made waves this week when the controversial muso cut off his dreadlocks that had been his trademark fo r almost ten years! Thato Nkatswang spent time with Seleke Botsime, the man behind hits like Zimbabwe and A song for Buhle, and The grass is green on his first album Confrontation.

What’s new and happening now about you?
I have taken some time out and learnt and about the man that I am, growing and most importantly listen since to me listening is a skill. Another thing is that I was conceptualizing spending more time writing my first book that I released in June 2009- called “Blasphemy”.

Are you happy about the sales of the first album?

Yes indeed! Considering the fact that I signed it under my label(blue print production) with limited knowledge of music industry ! I didn’t do much of the marketing for it. I just got in the studio after dealing with so many emotions and now when I think back I wanted some therapy and music was my way out. I was so unhappy with so many things, my life and including the loss of someone that I loved so much, even in the studio I was crying a lot while doing the project. “Confrontation” to me was to say to the music industry “Hear I am- make a space for me”.

That is quite deep; do you think you can give me some clarity about that?
Let’s leave it for another day! It was just one of those moments when you wanted to shut the door and stay in bed for the rest of the day if not all your life, if you know what I mean.

Tell us about the new project? And about the new look??? We heard that you had some offers for your hair!

I am working on the new album called Resurrection! I know that people will think that it is still soon. But I decided to go back in the studio, and let’s call this project “reloaded” I do my very best to create music that will linger and it was not a mistake for me to find myself in the studio the first time. I write music to express my inner self and it’s about words not forgetting that my music is scripture orientated. And about my new look I thought about cutting my locks for sometime now and I believe it’s a time for growth ,and what I can promise my fans on the new project is a sound that is more stable and grounded than before, so my sound will compensate my looks!. To all those that thought that I will eventually sell my locks I just wanna say it’s against everything that I believe in, sorry!!.

So it’s not easy to be able to sell a lot of albums without having a record company. I believe that in due time I will be signed. I think most of the so called artists get in the industry for the money, and when it’s not coming they feel disappointed I realise that a lot of junk is what sells lately and really good music is not on the shelf anymore. A famous artist once said “What good is a song if it doesn’t inspire” One has to do it just for the love of it, but if the money comes let it be a bonus and beside the album I am working on a biography of the great musician called Gideon Selebano “Magiva”.

What do you think needs to be changed in the music industry, and how?
I don’t think there is really much that can be done, but I want people to know that there is only a fraction of artists who are really making money in the industry. Then for the rest of us we are just trying to survive. There has to be a way of making extra money for one to put food on the table and pay the bills.

I still much believe that the radio stations must start giving us more air play than overseas one’s, and to appreciate us more as local artists, and lastly the artist must polish their material if they want to be taken seriously in this industry. There is really no room for clowns.


Okay! I don’t like it when people forget that I have my life to live and I deserve some privacy too irrespective of being a musician. . I expect to be treated like any one else. Its true that some time I happen to loose it , and being controversial I will say I think people misunderstood me and at the end of the day that cause a serious problem.

Any spiritual belief that you live with, an album that you are playing now, and last word to your fans.

“God is never far” and the album that I am listening at this moment is of Simply red album called “stay”. And to those who believe in me from day one “Ndiya bonga kakhulu” May God be with you always.

I was very sceptical about the interview, but all I can say now is that I finished it being a fan of this handsome, artist of Bloemfontein and Free State news wishes him good luck in this cut throat industry!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"My unbridled love for poetry" - Skietreker

Interview by Gloria Marobele

Richard (“Skietreker”) Seape is one of the most dynamic young Free State writers around. A powerful poet, he writes in both English and Afrikaans – and also in Setswana! His debut book was titled Apartheid ek gaan jou boks. “Skietreker” was one of the frontline writers honoured by the Mangaung Local Municipality/Bloemfontein Public Library recently. Here, Gloria Marobele finds out what makes him tick…

GLORIA: You are still quite young and already recognized and honoured as a writer. How did you feel being honoured by MLM/ City Library the other day?

RICHARD: Picture a train moving at a very fast pace
Don’t look back and don’t think twice
Close your eyes
And picture a baby learning how to talk and walk for the first time
On the Inside it feels like Heaven when small efforts are appreciated
But it pushes and inspires from within
And makes one want to kneel down and say a prayer work harder
And keep on doing it only with love
God is a fact
(Modimo are mesebetsi ya hao e tlao latela)

GLORIA: How do you explain your great passion for the world of literature?

RICHARD: We hear and see things but with words
We create a picture
A symbol of the past and present
Something that is part of us
Defined by those who speak art
Even when they are sleeping
How about we change and value literature
Play with words like jazz
Sit and converse
Until we reach an agreement that says
The same budget the same length
Equal speech

GLORIA: Your specialty is of course poetry. Are there any African or South African poets you admire?

RICHARD: My inspiration starts at home with writers of mind like Delazi, Infinite motions, Shasha, PMZ, Kagiso, McKenzie (Shups), Pule Lechesa, Kgosietsile Dinthoane, Bareng Dichabe, Thabo Mafike, Seleke Botsime and from there the pen takes me to the heights of Maya Angelou, Bessie Head, Antjie Krog, E’skia Mphahlele,Buchi Emecheta, Kgafela oa magogodi, Hymphatic, Kwani E, Lebo, Napo, Saul Williams and I will need another two pages! (laugh).

GLORIA: Who are the writers who have encouraged your writing?

RICHARD: I believe that most of the time it is not
How you write but what you write, not necessarily what you say
But how you say it,
So along my journey I had the privilege to meet
Great writers who each played a role in lifting my weight and spirit
So even when the sun is not shining because of them I write,
Mr. Bolaji has given me so much as a writer and is certainly an icon an inspiration, and Charmaine Mrwebi my sister with a conscious mind.

GLORIA: I understand you have a great collection of articles on literature, how did you build or collect it?

RICHARD: It all began with a dream inspired by what I saw. I began cutting pages which I felt were close to heart. The actual dream was to see myself one day amongst those who will go down in history. When coming generations read and embrace the spoken word.

GLORIA: You have already published a book of poetry in Afrikaans, why did you decide to write it in that language?

RICHARD: Writing in Afrikaans came as a blessing for I never knew I could write until I realised I had actually published a book. It was too late to walk away. I tried but I fell in love.

GLORIA: What are your future plans in the writing career?

RICHARD: I’ve never really considered that I would ever take writing as a career, but to march as I can… the war is far from over so I shall continue to read and learn from those who came before us so that I can also leave something for the next us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"How I wrote my debut book: Enemy of the State" - Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga

"How I wrote my debut book: Enemy of the State” – Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga

Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga is a new author; yet he is already an award winning author. His debut book, ENEMY OF THE STATE has garnered the “Mangaung Up and Coming Author of the Year (2009) Award”. Here he speaks to S Botsime on his love for the world of writing…

How do you feel to have your first book published?

I feel very happy because it has been really a long walk. I have published stories in newspapers before but ‘Enemy of the state’ is my first imprint in the literary world, which is a very humbling experience for me because many great men and women have travelled this path before me.

How long does it take you to write your short stories?

It does not take long at all. It took me about a month to finish these ten stories and already I have stories that would be in my next book hopefully by next year.

You are based in Bloemfontein, who are the writers who have impressed you here?

I have not been here for very long and I am still learning about many writers. I like the mind boggling columns and articles of Seleke Botsime (smiling; as he’s referring to the Interviewer) who has just published his first book, ‘Blasphemy’, the writings of Pule Lechesa and others. However the writer who impressed me most is Mr O Bolaji. I really love his book, Thoughts on Free State writing where he bemoans and laments the lack of reading culture among black people. To quote from the book: “For many [black] Africans formal education is a means to an end. If I can get a tertiary certificate, better still a university degree, it is an open sesame to a good job and comforts. Hence it is in no way unusual to see many well educated Africans whose ignorance is frightening. Many of them have read only prescribed text books along the line and have hardly broadened their minds” Africans are rich people but all these years we are just beggars standing our mineral and other resources. We have to change our way of thinking and living. The first resource of any nation is its people. Take for instance DRC, it is very rich in Coltrane used to make laptops and cell phones but its people its people are refugees scattered all over the world. Our education is not fulfilling its purpose. The purpose of education is to teach us to think intensively, critically and to equip us with the power to think objectively not just read prescribed text books and boast about certificates hanged

What inspired you to write?

Growing up in a family where I was the only boy, I took to books so early in my life. This was like a habit to me, and as I grew older I became an avid reader. My main areas of interest were biographies and philosophy. I read biographies of Dr Martin Luther King JR , Gandi, Mandela , Biko , Fredrick Douglas , Bob Marley , Mother Theresa, Tiger Woods and many more. I read philosophy and my favorite philosopher is Socrates. Besides these two areas I also read novels of Dambudzo Marechera, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and many others. One day I was coming from Blackstone Primary School when to pick my young brother Prince when I met Mr. Garan’anga. He stopped me because I was holding a book. We talked and then he showed me his work place. I went back to see him and he gave me books to read. This became our routine until one day he asked me a question I could not answer. “After all this reading what do you want to do?” Really I didn’t know. I told him I will become an actor like my hero Denzel Washington. Mr. Garan’anga told me that I was a writer. I only knew how to write essays at school. However he told me not to fight myself, “just cool down”. I did like that till one day I woke early in the morning and wrote my first story that was published in the Teen Column of the Herald. I then started writing articles to many newspapers like Sunday Mail, Daily and Sunday Mirror, and the Daily news which was later banned. With the advice of my friend, Philip Chidavaenzi who was a journalist I enrolled at Christian College of Southern Africa. In 2006 my piece “Africa needs justice from the west not democracy lessons” was nominated for the Lorenzo Natalie and European Commission. The following year in my last year at school, I also published an article: “We badly need moral salvation” in the Zimbabwe Independent that was nominated for the Lorenzo Natalie Prize.

How did you get in touch with literature?

When I came in South Africa I was introduced m to Mr. Bolaji a renowned writer. I was used to writing letters and essays, so I did the same with him. Then one day he told me to diversify as a writer. He said I could start by writing poems or short stories. This is how it all started…now I have published a book of fiction! Great!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spotlight on Mokwena Arts...

Spotlight on Mokwena Arts and Cultural Group

Interview by Neo Mvubu

Mokhele Ben Makatu spoke to Neo Mvubu about the arts and cultural group that he and his fellow members started years back, the challenges and achievements and what they have in store for us in the future. He spoke of the input the group has had on the development of arts and culture in his community. Now let’s take a look at what he has got in store for us …

Q. When was the group established and by whom?
A. The group was established in 1997 and registered as a Non-Profit Organization by Mokhele Ben Makatu with 10 other members

Q. What has the group done so far?
A. We have traveled to the Malapo National Festival in Pretoria, we have won many competitions and awards in the Free State, we have attended the Macufe Arts festival many a-time and the Grahamstown Art Festival.

Q. What has your organization done for the community?
A. We have built a hall in Thaba Nchu for the community to use it; the elderly use it for when they receive grants and the children use it as a cultural centre. The same hall is also used for Abet students to learn in. The organization has been developing the arts in the community of Thaba Nchu and creating awareness of culture in children to further regain people’s pride in our heritage.

Q. Where did you get the money to build the hall?
A. We, the management decided to dedicate all our salaries to building the hall, some of the money came from sponsorships from the National Lottery and Motheo Local Municipality.

Q. What are you planning to do next?
A. We are planning to go to the Vita FNB Dance Umbrella which will take place at Wits University.

Q. What have been your major challenges as a group?
A. We have been having transport problems and the hall we have built has leakages. We have received sponsorships that we have allocated, we have distributed the funds to help our community but the government has been struggling to help with the little needs we have.
Courtesy of Free State News

Monday, June 8, 2009

Julia Mooi talks about her new book

Julia Mooi talks about her new book

JULIA MOOI is the latest black female author in the Free State. She has just published her debut book titled OMOSEYE BOLAJI: Further Perspectives. Seleke Botsime briefly talked to her about her book:

Seleke: What is your book all about?

Julia Mooi: It is another study of the works of the very impressive, creative writer, Omoseye Bolaji, who has always been a fantastic inspiration to all of us. The book is divided into quite a few parts: the general Introduction written by me; the first essay in the book – a rather long one also written by me; then there are articles and essays written by literary figures like Pule Lechesa, Peter Moroe, and Paul Lothane. We all pay tribute to Bolaji’s writings. At the end of the book, most of the major articles and essays published on his (Bolaji’s) writings over the years are listed for record purposes.

Seleke: But there are already many books published on Bolaji’s literary work…

Mooi: The thing is, Bolaji is so prolific, and new articles on his work appear regularly on a yearly basis. My book includes many of the latest articles written on his work; remember two new “Tebogo Mystery books” have been published by Bolaji within less than two years – Tebogo and the haka (2008) and Tebogo and the epithalamion (2009). You can say my new book is the most up to date publication on Bolaji’s literary work thus far.

Seleke: Your book is of course on literary criticism/appreciation. Many find this genre difficult or “destructive”.

Mooi: My approach is that as an intelligent reader one can appreciate the literary contributions of certain writers, and try to interpret this in certain ways…it is not about doing a “negative, hatchet job” but being logical and fair. I mean how many of us can write creatively anyway?

Seleke: Which female writers do you admire most?

Mooi: I can’t say I know them all, but one has to always respect the pacesetters like Miriam Tlali, Laureta (Ngcobo), Sindiwe Magona, Tsitsi Dangarembga…in South Africa we also have a new excellent female writer, Angela Makholwa.

Seleke: Apart from this new book of yours, what other stuff have you published that pleases you most?

Mooi: I was very happy to publish a very fine article on Free State Black writing in Free State Libraries – that was in 2001, but the article is still on the Internet! I was also delighted to publish another article in the literary journal, Turf (2005)