Did you always want to become a writer?
It wasn’t until I fully understood the meaning of my name Abueng which means: Let him speak, that I started appreciating and being serious about writing. I was always good at school especially with compositions and comprehensions and presentations. I was always a good storyteller but of course, back then I just saw it/myself as a loud mouth and an attention seeker.
How did you get interested in writing poetry in particular?
In as much as I talk a lot and I can go on and on, I have come to appreciate the art of talking less, being able to say what you need to say clearly and in a short period of time. I have learned/observed that we use too many words at times and in the process lose the essence of what we are saying. Like one of my favorite writers, Bhodidharma, said: Freeing oneself from words is liberation.
So Poetry for me is a discipline that challenges you to not only be precise about what you say but to say it beautifully as well. Flo Mokale and Thabiso Afurakan Mohare introduced me to it in my Varsity days, and I never looked back.
What are some of the challenges you have faced to get your book published?
The biggest one was finding a publisher that shared my dream. There aren’t that many publishers that deal with poetry. Then I needed to raise money for the design, layout and printing of the book, and, in my case, the recording costs and printing of the cds as well. [And then money] for the launch, and the publicity to spread the word about your book and distribution [was also required].
When all of that is done all your savings are spent.
How much of your work reflects your life?
All that I wrote about particularly in this book is about my life, it is the relationship journey I have been through, the joys, the lows, and lows of lows, the hope and believe that one day I will find that girl of my dreams.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write because you love it. Find joy in it. If you are doing it for any other reasons besides those ones, you will be setting yourself up for disappointments.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
People believe you to be smart and learned and they treat you with extra respect. I love that. But mostly is knowing that somewhere someone has found answers, peace or even happiness or cried because what you wrote speaks to a certain aspect of their lives, and that it has in someway changed their lives. I love that more.
What are you working on now?
I am working on my next book. I am happy with the progress so far.
If you were to write a book about your life, what would the title be?
Aa bueng Mafoko.