Thursday, December 20, 2012



Interview by Raselebeli Khotseng

Question: Who’s Thabo Mafike?

Answer: Mafike is a pastor, Author and Motivational Speaker

What’s the purpose of the tournament?

To decrease escalation of crime caused by gangsters, especially in Bultfontein through sport

How did you come to this conclusion/Inspired you?

I was inspired by the arrest of my cousin who was a member of a gangster in Bultfontein. Most of these gangsters’ members are soccer players and this made me to decide to come up with this project so as to rehabilitate them.

When did this project begin?

It started four years ago, around 2009.

Who are the participants here?

Youth from Bultfontein and North West (Makwasi). Those gangsters’ members who are not participating playing a role of supporting role. Moreover, this is important as it is occurred during festive season when crime is escalating.

Are there any other participants except those mentioned?

Yes, this year we have included ladies’ soccer and athletics

How will you start the tournament?

It will start by a lecture on Wednesday the 12th – 14th at Town Library. On Friday the 14th at 12 a.m it will be an open ceremony at Phahameng Hall where councilors, community and Ikgawatletle Primary school children together with its school majorettes will be addressed by the mayor in his opening ceremony

Any sponsors supporting you?

Yes, NYDA will give vouchers to young business people and talk to them about business success. Another is Channel for Life Network from Jo’burg will partner with them and sponsor metals and trophies for men of the matches. TNT sponsors the main trophy for overall winner whilst Visible Speed will invest thirty thousand rand into the tournament for three years. Herbal Life sponsored sports bottles for the second and third winners; UOVS will address young ones on farming methods. The Tswelopele Municipality in Bultfontein has agreed to provide accommodation and stadium for participants; and Lefika radio Station will cover the events in general for the populace.

What are your achievements thus far?

From its inception every year two students are sent to tertiary institutions, whilst P.C Tech gave out some learnerships. Presently, three players from Theunissen have been scouted by BFN Celtic.

What’s your goal in this venture?

It is to make this a qualifying tournament that creates jobs for unemployed youth and also to meet Oprah Winfrey to register some Free State girls in her girls’ School…lastly, I intend to visit Brazil if God allows me, to meet a team that will scout players for 2014 Tournament.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meet Phinithi James Ntelekoa

Bloem's own diamond roughing it!

You have been making waves in literary circles even before your works are formally published! How did it all start for you?

I was born 1983 October 24 in a village called Motsemotjha, Mafeteng, Lesotho. Around the age of 3 or 4 my grandmother, older sister to my maternal grandmother, took me with her back to Bloemfontein when she came for a visit. Growing up in Bloem meant adopting its dialect, and it's one interesting point because in Lesotho they have names for literally everything under the sun that comprise their fauna and flora. One other distinct feature of Basotho language is their affinity for endonyms or autonyms (for patriotic sentiments, of course). Back to me...I went to school 'till standard one; my other grandmother came to fetch me back to Lesotho. Leaving your lil' life behind isn't a cakewalk but I 'assimilated' back to my native habitat easily. Like most boys my age, I duly rocked up my herdboy gear - blanket, wellingtons, and a stick - to join my peers at the meadows with our family cattle (talk about coming to greener pastures).

And how did you really get introduced to the world of books, creative works?

It was during this period in my life that I discovered an old 'trunk' stashed under my grandparents' bed. Inside was the world I would frequent a la escapism; a range of used books of literary and scholarly merit tagged with my mother’s and her siblings’ names. Books are not government-funded in Lesotho. Sadly, gradation of syllabuses defeated the purpose of keeping ‘em for the next generation. I devoured all but the algebraic, but even these would spot occasional "if Peter bought 5 apples..." of which I'd search the entire math books for. If there’s a scale for literature, I’m unashamedly a plus size. I used to have a feast back then. The ones with pictures would further nuance my reading experience. Of all books that I read, I fell for Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I still read it even today and I never cease to discover something new, so every time I grab it a literary expedition ensues; the more you learn, the more your extra-sensory perception heightens.

What about your early education?

After 5 years I came back to SA as my mother got married this side of the Mohokare River. I went to Setswana primary school called Kgonyane in Phahameng. I was so good in Setswana once the teacher got irate at his class for being outdone by Mosotho: he flogged the entire class, except me, and sent us all outside. ‘Went to high school in Tsoseletso, then CUT (Technikon Free State then) to study Office Management. I dropped out on the 2nd year due to financial constraints, did some shady office work for few companies, and discovered my love for graphic design and sound engineering in the process as I'd download softwares and fool around with them. Now I dropped office work for Graphic Design and Sound.

Obviously you have augmented the work of other (FS) writers, haven't you?

DVD for Hector Kunene's book launch was post-produced by me. I conceptualized and designed an anthology for UOFS lecturer called In The Potter's Hands (my poems to this project were rejected for no apparent reasons). I volunteer for an international NGO called - It's under the umbrella of this very initiative that I'll be going to coupla township high schools in Bloem to record poetry for Amisrael Poets for Peace (Africa) CD+Book, to be available from our Bloem libraries. These will embrace students and average poetry enthusiasts.

You are making progress in this wise?

Remarkably so, as Bloemfontein libraries were happy to assist me in any way they can. You and your readers are welcome to submit their (strictly) ‘positive’ poems at Amisrael Poets for Peace (Africa) on Facebook. The criterion for submissions is social cohesion. I volunteer my services (music production and design) to Tessa Muller's projects (Young Legend's Academy and Mangaung Cultural Collective) from UOFS as part of doing my bit to empower women on the move. I volunteer my graphic design services to Trevor Barlow Library and there are few pipeline projects. I have collaborated with Brigitte Poirson, author and former lecturer (France/England), where I conceptualized an anthology (its title and design) and contributed few poems. Friends from South America (Chile) are awaiting my arrival to exhibit what I've been carrying out in my country a la Cannes.

It is also understood you are also putting a novel together?

Yes, I am busy with a novel, "My People". If it wasn’t for the mind-numbing research it demands I believe your question would have been slightly different…probably quoting from it. I found a secret, if not an epiphany, to writing a good novel: if you don’t feel xenogeneic to the characters, you’re not there yet! *ahem*

You obviously have a bright future ahead in the world of writing...

I sincerely hope so. Literature comes second to my first love, Sound & Design. I’m my worst critic as am never satisfied. Phillippa Yaa De Villiers advised me to ‘let go’. BTW, I have a collection of poems enough for an anthology and I RARELY write. I noticed that I can write an anthology within a week’s time. I’m both visceral and organic – I worry about the art of semantics later – when you write to impress it becomes perfunctory. But, I want my novel to precede the likelihood of my releasing an anthology.

What are your general thoughts on literature?

Just a two cents: one thing I loved (and still do) about literary zeitgeist of the time, after every read there would be this lingering aura around me, though I understood one-third of diction employed, as though I've been to some idyllic, picturesque place 'far, far away.' It's unfortunate (for me) that literature is by nature fluid, susceptible to evolution; I terribly miss authorial styles of yesteryear, not classics per se. These seem to write in a different dimension from your post-modern authors. But, to its credit, post-modernism literary landscape is much deepened, now. For example, I'm a hay-uge fan of review aggregators (tech-insight and savvy, books, movies, music etc). They are repositories for [witzardry] - portmanteau I coined, thank you very much - and I'm their apprentice. Another thing that I find uncanny about classic literature is what I like to call quasi-cinematography. Today, if a writer lacks this quality I read him once, from there it's designated disposable (I give it away), lest the story offset this literary abomination with a compelling and involving yarn.

How far are you with the novel?

I can't say for sure, but all I can say is I have about two-hundred and something pages of drafty odd bits and pieces to compress into 100 pages. I hope to immortalize Free State with "My People". Anthropological as it may be, it’s quintessentially ecclectic. Also, I would like to see it landing rights on both sides of the pond - cinema and tv. Bro Omoseye read an ask him for a ‘theatrical trailer’.

I rarely protest in poetry, if ever that. I write solely with creativity in mind, so some of my works may be tad vapid, and some elliptical, but they all help to weave an intricate tapestry of my layered personality. For brevity challenged individual, I have obsession for Haibuns and Haikus - that infinitely concentrated moment of perception condensed into 17 syllables of verse (I can’t remember where I purloined this phrase) – and I’m not a huge fan of odyssey- esque works though I do acknowledge the creative feat behind them. More often than not, when I do write poetry, the goal is to conjure that unique brand of awe esoteric to the audience watching every magician's move but then remark, "woa, how did he do that?!" Exhibit A:



Or avant garde

Forms, colours and textures,

Either undulating or flexuous,

To enchant the aural or ocular

With their own artistic vernacular


Of the semiotics

Achieved with a brush stroke,

Sculpted stone or in harmonic tone,

Through our social lenses, mirrors or prisms

Exhibit our collective poetic isms


By the way, our National Laureate, Ntate Keorapetse Kgositsile and Dr. Bantu Steve Biko touched a bit on 'semiotics', and I think I'm one of the few who noticed this intellectual feat. I don't want to get into this subject so to challenge your readers to ascertain my pseudo-dissertation for themselves. I keeps it elliptical like that. (side note: don't edit out "keeps")

About the anthology you've done with Brigitte Poirson, though 'brevity' isn't your best trait, can you give us a synoptic review?

That’s a good one. Speaking of which, here is an ode I penned for Via Grapevine, a production of various poets from around the globe. This serve also as Exhibit B for the 'awe' statement I made earlier. (see the link below for free PDF download of VG)

St Lear: Ode to 'Via Grapevine'

VIA Grapevine

Is our baseline

VISA to unchartered galaxies

Stave of legends and galleries

VISTA of memory lanes viewed from places hypeathral

Some are sepulchral, and others scriptural

VITALS that sustain our inner cosmos

Imbued with Ethos, Pathos and Logos

ESTIVAL are others, like a 'good season' for Pinot Noir

Authored in black and white, like an auteur of Urban Noir

SALIVATE at this titivated Cipher's Digest

A banquet consummated at the Rhyme Fest

VARIETALS with earthy African notes are on the house

Be imbibed in spirits and let your sixth sense be aroused


NATE IV (nate the fourth), is it your real name if not what does it denote?

Yes, it's my personal brand, nom de plume if you like; it’s an anagram of 'native' as well. I love anagrams and my novel is peppered with those. Anagram for Sesotho is 'soothes'. It is said there's uncanny truth in anagrams and all life’s wisdom is in them. For example, anagram for Clint Eastwood is “old west action”, for Parliament “Partial men”. Just Google "Truth in anagrams". Now, just to show off:

Via + S = Visa + t = Vista + L = Vitals + e = Estival + a = Salivate + r = Varietals

My ego is yours to lavish with awe-some adulations. I don't know if you have noticed but I show Hip-hop influences. There are good stuff out there, though rare and far in between. Oh ja…I can read Spanish, too. No praises….tough…tough audience tonight.

Thanks for your time. I enjoyed talking to you. Please, stop flying below the FS literary radar.

Why thank you. I'll try not to. Thanks for the electronic interview; I'm monosyllabic and socially awkward in person. Thanks to Omoseye Bolaji and Pule Lechesa - they've spurred me on to take writing seriously. I give much love to my friends, Libby Stroik, (University of Winsconsin, USA), Brigitte Poirson, my sister in arms, and to all who comprise the repertoire of Free State orature (oral + literature). A term introduced by the Ugandan scholar, Pio Zirimu.

Any last thoughts?

Just for levity, if I may, do socks give you nigh-unbearable discomfort in summer as they do to me? No? I can't believe I'm the only one in the predicament of this fashion. Yes, my mantra…”don’t take yourself too seriously: Carpe Diem!”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dr. Cool shines at Macufe Poetree show!

On the 11th of October 2012 Macufe poetree took place at PACOFS Ofm Downstage.
Among the 20 poets who where featured that evening there were likes of Napo Mashiane, Lesego Rampolokeng, Ice Bound, Jah-Rose, Hector Kunene, Afurakan Mohare.

Also strutting his stuff was the poet who many say was on fire that evening and he mesmerized that stage with the unforgettable perfomance. Who can it be none other than Seiso 'Dr. Cool' Mpete, a poet from Bloemfontein who never disappoints with his performances anywhere in the country.

This is what he had to say about the Macufe poetree night:

“Thanks to Macufe and Jah-Rose productions for giving us SA poets a night to always remember.”

When we asked him of how does he manage to keep his performances accelerating positively he said “I once told myself that I'll forever stay hungry, as much as I'm honored for my achievements and my fans..
every time when I perform, I perform like a beginner who is doing his best to be recognized because all what God was to give me a Talent and now it's up to me if I'm gonna keep it alive or let it die.”

“My highlights of that night would be Napo Masheane performance, and my friend's performance Lesego Rampolokeng, Marvelous performances if I may say.” as he continued “I will like to thank all our fans
and supporters who came across the Country to support us, we are who we arebecause of your support.

"To my fellow Artists... I cote myself hahahaha... If you want to stay the best in what you do 'NEVER ALOW YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS TO LEGENDERELIZE YOUR MIND OR IT WILL ALL BE OVER.' close cote hahahah...”

Congratulations to Jah-Rose productions and Big ups to the Doctor of words Dr. Cool!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Omoseye Bolaji: A voyage around his literary work

Interview with Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga, the author of the book, Omoseye Bolaji: a voyage around his literary work...

Congratulations on your new book, Mr Soqaga. What inspired you to write it?

Thanks, whoever may meet with Mr Omoseye Bolaji knows very well that he/she will be somewhat motivated to write or get interested in literature. Fundamentally I drew my inspiration from Omoseye Bolaji years ago, and I never looked back

I understand it took you five years to write this book. What type of research did you do?

To make research about a prolific writer like Omeseye Bolaji is not an easy task because often he produces new literary materials. However I was able to gather information about him from libraries and on the internet and slowly and steadily the book took shape.

How did you got involved in what critic Lechesa calls "quintessential literature"; knowing so much about books and African writers.

I appreciate reading so much and the more I read books, the more I need to read another one. Moreover Africa is my birth place and I am absolutely boastful about its heritage and values!

Will you agree that African writers are not recognised enough?

Definitely, our African societies are not familiar with African writers. For instance, you can go to our schools and ask the pupils about our local black African writers, you will see that most of the pupils are not popular with our writers.

What did you learn during the process of writing the book?

To write a book, especially about an author who has successfully written over 25 books like Omoseye Bolaji is not a simple thing; but however I was able to apprehend that details are very important. The research was illuminating and quite fantastic although I was frustrated when I lost the original more comprehensive manuscript be honest I still lament this.

How do you feel seeing so many positive reviews of your book by fine critics?

Honestly this is my first book to be published, and I do know critics and reviewers will be interested in it. For now I am totally motivated and inspired by those reviewers they; also open my eyes to the errors I might have committed.

                                                                Ishmael Soqaga (above)

Some reviewers say you over-praised protagonist, Bolaji in the book. Do you agree?

Why not? When someone is doing a great and wonderful job in Africa we celebrate and rejoice with him/her. Why can’t we admire and praise our heroes and heroines when history books tell us about them?

What is the importance of literature; and do you plan to write another book?

Literature is the well of life for any society, it can be taught from the childhood at home and it contains profound moral lessons of life. Our past African oral literature has now been converted to formal written language; therefore it is important to retain that precious treasure. When further ideas develop in my mind I don’t think I have to hesitate to write them down.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


A new book, Interviews with effervescent writers has just been published. Although a national, international work, the book has a remarkable Free State presence. The Mpumalanga based editor of the work, Christine Mautjana, here talks about how the book came into fruition... What inspired you to produce this work, Interview with effervescent writers? Christine: To be frank with you, I have always wanted to put together a book of interviews with cross section of writers. I co-operated with other enthusiastic writers all over the place in making the dream come true. I understand there was a "weeding-out" process – that many writers who should have featured in the book were not used in the end. Christine: Yes, in the beginning we had about twenty five writers. I have studied other books of this ilk and wanted this one to be rather different. The focus was on the quality. I did not want repetition...or banality. Some of the authors’ answers did not contribute much to literature, and regretfully they had to be excluded. To what extent were you inspired by the works: African writers talking and Talking with African writers? Christine: Yes I was inspired by them. Those were, and still are, classics of African Literature. What I did in this now work was de-emphasize the role of the interviewer so that there would be no confusion and there would be a cohesive flow. I also noted that you singled out individuals’ quotes from each a writer as a sort of preclude to their interviews. Why did you do this? Christine: (Smiling) You know, A work like this is also a learning process for the editor. Every writer, and their perspective is different For example in the book, writer Teboho states facetiously that Sesotho readers are as scarce as finding a sober man in a bar! This made me laugh my head off! How much of a learning process was this book for you? Christine: I discovered that there are so many writers out there. Writers are inspired by a number of disparate factors. As a woman, I was very much impressed how widely a woman like NMM Duman has read and has a very fertile imagination. Yet she has a low profile, unlike so many limited writers always running around for publicity. I can see you have included a few white writers in this work. Did you find them much different from their black counterparts? Christine: No, the impression I got is that writers are more or less the same irrespective of their colour. They love to see their ideas in print, they all wish that much more people will read in general... and they also wish to purify their society – Maxwell Kanenyama is a good example of this, as he is always preaching in his his short stories

Thursday, January 26, 2012


By Nthabiseng Lisele

PULE LECHESA, hailed by many literary pundits as a literary giant of note in the Free State and abroad has succeeded against all odds to carve a niche for himself as a fecund writer of substance. He has done so by churning out impressive literary essays, a book of poetry, short stories and so forth. In this latest remarkable book, Essays on Free State Black literature, Lechesa outlines the breath-taking literary revolution that has taken place in the Free State province – which has happened on a rare scale unlike any other community in Black Africa. He also focuses on the contribution of the Free State writers at the grassroots level to mainstream poetry.

Here Nthabiseng Lisele fired a few questions at the excited author….

This is your fifth book, how do you feel about your latest release?

I’m very excited because it’s been long working on this book and finally it’s out! I’m more relieved that it’s been released and focuses on quintessential literature.

What is special about this book as distinct from other books you’ve written before?

This book celebrates the good work of the previous writers so you can say inter alia I’m honouring many of them on my book – and adding to the corpus of literature in Africa.

How long did it take you to write and complete this book?

It took me 5 years to complete it. For the past 5 years I’ve been compiling essays and reviewing other authors which brought the completion of this book.

What do you think is the importance of Literature in the society?

There is an odious saying that: “if you want to hide important news from a Black man, hide it in the book!”. So I believe that if our society can indulge more into reading, and it can be any book, they can get knowledge. And Literature is playing that role of informing, educating, feeding the mind of the society with brilliant ideas and broad knowledge.

You are known worldwide as a tough, ruthless, literary critic. Are you not afraid of writers hating you?

No, ma’am (laughing)… Their hatred won’t stop me from writing but instead will help me correct errors I might have committed obliviously. Writers love to massage their egos and in civilized societies it is the norm that if writers are wrong they should be corrected. For an example, if there’s a certain chapter I stated that it is winter season but only to find out that I said one of the story’s characters was wearing a sleeveless shirt, I’m confusing my readers and I deserve to be corrected.

Do you think you are playing an important role in the advancement of Literature?

Yes, I know so; because knowledge is power and people need to be empowered. And history of Literature should be run throughout this present generation until another generation takes over.

Briefly, who are the major writers that you have featured in your latest book?

Hector Kunene, Jafta JahRose, NMM Duman, Sipho Mnyakeni, Omoseye Bolaji – I have many essays and interviews with him in the book; Deon-Simphiwe Skade, Flaxman Qoopane, Ntate Kgang Motheane. Most writers are at least mentioned; including young Teboho Masakala...there are many literary allusions worldwide in the book.

How will you describe the current state of writing in the Free State?

I think we are on the right track. For example, recently, celebrated international critics like Achal Prabhala have noted the impressive literary trends here and continue to put us on the map. The world, Universities, internet etc continue to highlight the great things happening here in the Free State.

Congratulations again
* Published in Free State News

Sunday, January 15, 2012


He has apparently just burst onto the literary scene with a string of profound short stories. But Charles Matorera, a Free State based Zimbabwean has always relished the world of reading and writing, as he explains briefly here...

JERRY: You are making your mark as a writer. Going down memory lane how did it start; from your youth perhaps?

CHARLES MATORERA: I think I inherited the story telling talents of my grandpa who was a WW2 hero; he could tell you a story a dozen times and you could still be interested to hear it again. Most of my stories I could tell people and they would ask "why can't you write a book?"

Also at school they encouraged us to read anything, even lost newspapers. At home it wasn't easy as they were subsistence farmers... they always had a job for you, so any reading would have to be only at night.

Who are your favourite writers?

Charles Mungoshi, Chenjerai Hove, Shima Chinodya, Ngugi wa Thiong, Chinue Achebe, Mahommed Takur Gabar, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, Wilbur Smith, Robert Ludlum hey the list is endless...

Zimbabwe has a strong vibrant literary tradition. You must be proud of this as a Zimbabwean?

Zimbabwe is literarily rich; the British Council, Zimbabwe Publishing House helped a lot - but nowadays politics has intervened into literature and things have largely fallen apart. Yes we have got great talents like Marechera and Dangarembga and a lot in local languages but the economy essentially killed the market.

We hear everytime about daunting challenges facing African writing. What is your take on this?

African writing needs a face lift, there are no publishing houses who go deep in talent search and try to develop new writers. The governments are also not helping, so we do people who take writing as a career. But surely, we do have talent; so much so in the Free State here!

Some give in to despair and cynicism over this. What will you say is the importance of literature anyway?

The importance of literature to me is:

a)the footprints of our lives to the future generations like the bible, rock paintings and hieroglyphics tells us about the past.
b) entertainment - we mostly read to enjoy
c)education, it's hard to con a literate person

What are your next literary plans, dreams?

I would like to go into novels when in the future. I would like to promote literature in Africa, helping the hidden talents to get exposure. The final dream is to one day help convert the great African stories into motion pictures. Thank You