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'Telling and reading stories that are relevant to us'

Entertainment - Date: 14 May 2018

Written by: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho / Viewed: 8929


“We add value to our present times by reading and writing the stories which are relevant to us as Africans.”

A prominent poet and writer, Vonani Bila, made this bold statement while he was addressing book lovers and readers, publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, and pupils during the recent World Book Day celebration at the Makhado Public Library.

“I try to read things that make sense to me – and that’s the literature that surrounds me and exists in my social structure,” he said. “The stories are structured or pieced together from miniature details which contribute to a whole. We need to make our stories more relevant to our world.”

Bila said any writer should at least first focus on what they know best: he gave the example that he comes from an area where there are painters, sculptors, singer, farmers and bead-makers. “My stories start with all those people, because that’s what I know,” he said.

The award-winning author and acclaimed publisher, Rudzani Tshianane, said that in the book world, the journey started with being a reader. However, he developed a love of writing as well. “Publishers still rejected some of my work that I knew was of high quality,” he said. “I knew the worthiness, necessity and quality of my stories. They always said that as a Black writer I should write books suitable to be prescribed for schools.”

Tshianane felt that his stories should not only be seen as set work in schools; he wanted to write beyond the schools’ curricula. So, he set up Vhutsila Publishers and published his own works as well as those of other writers.

“I want to thank Vho Maano Tuwani of Guyo Book Service, who encouraged me to start a bookshop as well,” he said. “He is a selfless man, for not all people can invite competition.”

A representative of Protea Boekhuis, Leigh-Ann Lendon, spoke about the availability of books and the book market, which includes the social media. She encouraged readers to read more books and writers to continue writing.

This year’s World Book Day theme was “Reading Empowers”. In Louis Trichardt, the event was hosted by Guyo Book Service, in partnership with the Makhado Public Library. Guyo Book Service’s managing director, Maano Ṱuwani, urged people to read more books to get more knowledge and for entertainment and enjoyment.



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A representative of Protea Boekhuis, Leigh-Ann Lendon, spoke about the availability of books and the book market.


Vonani Bila reads and writes stories that are relevant to him.

Maano Ṱuwani encourages people to speak less about books but read them. 

One of the godfathers of African poetry in Tshivenḓa, Nthambeleni Nyamananga Phalanndwa, reads a poem by WMR Sigwavhulimu during the event. 

Published poet Rudzani Mmbengwa reads two poems in tribute to the late poets Tendamudzimu Robert Ratshitanga (Bepha ḽa Vharendi) and Thifhulufhelwi Makhado (Lufuni Lwanga). The poems were written by the late poets themselves.


Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.


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