Mmabore Mogashoa recently came second in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award. She tells Lielly Kawa about her life as a healer, writer, poet, singer and her upcoming book on Sepedi indigenous knowledge
As one of the finalists in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, tell us what does this mean to you as a writer?
As a writer this is very motivating and encouraging. I am nominated among the best and the fact that I am one of the finalists is exciting. Winning this award will be a sign that my work is being recognised among the best and it is appreciated. For me it is not only about winning but the mere fact that it is recognised, that alone is enough. This also serves as a chance for me to meet other poets.
What inspired you to publish a Sepedi book that focuses on indigenous knowledge?
I have realised that people are slowly losing interest towards their culture. I want to encourage people, more especially the youth, to be proud of their culture and to have more knowledge of it. This book is another way to preserve our Sepedi culture which is slowly dying. Our children find pride in speaking and celebrating other traditions, so this encouraged me to want to do something about it. I am trying to instil love of our culture in the people and create awareness on the importance of our culture.
What can readers expect from your book?
This book focuses on everything indigenous, particularly the Sepedi culture. Readers can expect to learn how things were practiced and done in the Sepedi culture. It serves as a guide on how to cook traditional food and how to make traditional beer. It also serves as a guide on what kind of traditional clothes to wear and their meaning among other things. The book is written entirely in Sepedi, and I want people to be able to relate to it and me as a Sepedi writer, when reading it. As a heritage activist, I took it upon myself to preserve our culture, as a form of a book.
Who is Mmabore Mogashoa?
Mmabore Mogashoa is a 42-year-old woman from Ga-Mogashoa in Sekhukhune, Limpopo. I was born there, and I went to both primary and secondary school there. I am a heritage activist, poet and author. After knowing for a while that I have a calling, I gave up my career as an engineer to become a healer. I have since been working as a healer, a poet and a writer. I have been writing ever since I was young, and I have always had a journal where I would write about my day and feelings. Writing has always been part of who I am.
How was it like growing up in Ga-Mogashoa as a young girl?
Growing up in Ga-Mogashoa as a young girl was amazing. I had a normal up-bringing. I did everything that young girls did at that time. I went to collect wood in the mountains and went to fetch water from the river. I have always been artistic, so that has always been part of me growing up.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am a hands-on person, so normally I diarise what I have to do for the day. I do not sit down the whole day without anything keeping me busy, so there is always something to do. If it happens that I have nothing planned to do for the day, I usually check the Internet and social media on events and things to do.
How do you manage to be a mother, healer, singer, poet and author all at the same time?
I know how to prioritise and manage my time. I am a highly organised person, so whenever I know that I have work to do, I prioritise on it. With this said, I do not forget my other roles. I have time for everything, only because I love what I do. This motivates me to do even more. I am not only focused on all of these, but I also work with different schools around the village to find out challenges that the youth is faced with.
When will the book be available for people who are interested in it?
The book is finished and ready to be published. What is left for now is only for it to be printed and published by the end of the month
What are you busy with at the moment?
At the moment, I can say I am busy with a little bit of everything. I am one person that never focuses on one thing and I still write to keep me busy. I am an activist, so that alone keeps me busy apart from being a healer, a singer and an author.