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 ...to 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.