Friday, May 3, 2013



Charmaine Kolwane Mrwebi is a young female writer born and bred in the Free State. She has published two books comprising a literary study; and poetry. Well known literary critic and essayist Raphael Mokoena recently engaged in a quick question-and-answer session with her…

RAPHAEL: How do you feel having published two important books – as a quite young Black SA lady?

CHARMAINE: I feel like I am in a reverie state and I still have  to be awoken; yes I have always had a dream of publishing for as long as I can remember, it is just that the possibility of me publishing against
thousands of odds painted it as an impossibility. I feel honoured that people, friends, God and circumstances in my life have made my dream of publishing a reality. I feel like a small child who received a Christmas present, I still go back and re-read my books in the privacy of my room when no one is looking just to convince myself that it is done.

How difficult is it for a black woman to be a writer these days?

I will like to believe that  the difficulties that were supposed to be experienced by me today as an black women  were paid for during the yester years by literature soldiers  in South Africa and in the my
Free State province. We all know what apartheid did to our black writers and heroes who were dictated on what to write and when to write. So over the years literature soldiers of old have fought for the
writing environment to be more accessible and inviting to the up and coming writer, I mean when you think of Mr Mokopu Mofolo , the first literature soldier who was the first black man to publish back then ,
for one to just imagine and try to think what he had to endure to make his dream of writing a reality. Challenges facing me as a black female writer include funding and to publish my book and also distribution of my books. I had to finance the publication of my second book and it has been an expensive investment as I had to pop out some thousands of rands to invest in this baby of mine, and eventually I had to print less copies because of my limited funds and as I myself , I had to go out and sell and knock on doors that are welcoming and some not so welcoming.

Who are the Black female writers who inspired you?

I was introduced to Bessie Head during my matric in the year 2000 by my English teacher Mr Wesi, and I was smitten, it was indeed love at first digest! I love Bessie Head ‘s style of writing and how she endured discrimination and her personal crisis yet she was able to pen down such moving stories. Mr OmoseyeBolaji introduced me to Tsitsi Dangarenga and Buchi Emecheta six years ago and till today I am still in love with these authors, I personally favour Buchi Emecheta because she was a single woman with 5 children in a foreign country but was able to defeat the odds and published numerous book and got to graduate at University. Lebo Mashile is my personal poet goddess who moves me with her performance

Pundits - like myself - often wonder; why would you write a whole book (study) on Omoseye Bolaji in particular?

I wrote a whole book on Omoseye Bolaji after meeting him and reading most of his books, I was firstly inspired  by his human nature, as he is a humble individual who loves literature and people in general, for
I expected someone in his calibre to be arrogant but he presented himself as a mentor - as he also introduced me to the writing of my now favourite author Buchi Emecheta and Tsitsi Dangaragemba whom upon reading their collections moved me as a young woman to press on against all forms of challenges and sharpen my vocabulary and view on life.  I also wrote about his books as I love his style of writing and his hard work as an author. His style of writing is informative, deep and filled with a lot of suspense , I felt moved and privileged to give my views on his sophisticated works and collection.

You have inspired other black female writers to come out and write and publish. How do you feel about this?

I feel blessed and praise God that the seed planted in me by literature heroes including Bolaji, Dr Zakes Mda ,Buchi Emecheta has now born fruit and now includes galvanizing other writers to publish their work. The literature fraternity is blessed when each one teaches the other and eventually we are going to have a community of writers telling stories and contributing towards solutions in our country. I feel that I have to keep pushing and investing seed of literature continuously even in midst of challenges.

From the internet we can see many articles, appreciations of your own writing. Do you think black African writing should be judged by we Africans, or by the “white” world largely ignorant of many aspects of our lives?

This is a very emotional question and I had to think deep before I could answer, but after serious thought I have come to the conclusion that as a writer it is of less importance who critiques and judges our work, whether black or white; as a writer our main concern should be to write and not concentrate on critic’s view on our work. And lastly we should march on and acknowledge that as writers we shall receive critiques and compliments for our works and I shall choose the latter… and let the compliments I receive heal any pain and confusion provoked by the critic.
Thank you


NewsWorld said...

Excellent. This is the way to go for our talented black sisters and mothers

Skietreker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skietreker said...

These are the type of woman we need in our society, more of such & we shall indeed change our way of thinking and the manner in which we approach books congrats Charmaine!