Wednesday, October 23, 2013


‘Mbali Press is performing wonders” – Lothane

Literary commentator, Paul Lothane was on a whistle-stop visit to the City of Roses (Bloemfontein) this week. However he could not hide his excitement at current literary trends in the Free State…

Do you think the FS is still doing well in respect of Black literature?

LOTHANE: Very much so Ntate! In fact it seems to have reached incredible heights these days, with many new books churned out. Apart from the new Jah Rose production book (Peopress), Soqaga’s book on African Writing, Matshidiso Taleng's SECRETS, and Kanemanyanga’s latest book (Chapindapasi)…but of course by far the most remarkable thing is the series of fine books churned out by Mbali Press. Quite breath-taking.

You have seen some of the firm’s new titles?

To be honest Mbali is performing wonders. I don’t think anything like this has been seen before in Black publishing…I mean last year Mbali brought out a remarkable work like Interviews with Effervescent Writers. Now it is not even a case of raising the bar; it is much more than that…almost ten excellent books released in a year by Mbali! The National Arts Council grant has bolstered quality in this wise.

Which titles impressed you most?

Pule Lechesa’sBolaji in his pomp is fantastic. I read it; and with an international literary icon like Mongane Wally Serote writing the Introduction to the book, you can see it sets the tone from that…the Foreword is magnificent. I would recommend it for everybody to read. Lechesa is doing great things…he also put together a book of short stories – Free State Brewed Short Stories - where the contributors are powerful wordsmiths…people like Maxwell Kanemanyanga, Bolaji, TselisoMasolane, Charles Matorera, the always exciting George Rampai…the award-winning TebohoLetshaba has also published his new book with Mbali Press.

There is also a lady who published a book of literary essays with Mbali this year, eh?

Ja, that’s Mme Mautjana’sThrobbing SA Black Literature. A fantastic work. Another book I will recommend as a guide for all those who love our writing. What is startling is that a writer like Lechesa never rests on his laurels. Despite what he has achieved he keeps on working on other major literary projects. I understand he is now doing some projects with the great Maphalla…

You mean Dr K.P.D Maphalla, the illustrious Sesotho writer?

The very same one. I understand Mbali Press will soon be publishing the great man’s very latest work; and Lechesa is also writing a study book on him; in the mould of the one he has done on Ntate Bolaji…


(laughing) Ja. Mbali Press is taking the literary world by storm. Thanks Ntate, but I must run now…