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
POETRY AND LITERATURE IS HOUSE
The same budget the same length
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.