It is very admirable to encounter someone who is doing amazing things despite their difficult circumstances. It is people like that who remind others that even if your cirumstances are bad you can still pursue what gives you pleasure or makes you happy.
Khethiwe Luthuli, a 29 year old domestic worker from Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, currently based in Richard’s bay, is one such individual.
“Telling stories has always been my passion and I love writing,” she says shyly.
Despite her day job as a full-time domestic worker, she also runs a Facebook blog where she writes isiZulu short stories for her predominantly isiZulu Facebook audience. Her stories have gained a lot of traction and positive comments from readers.
“I write using my cell phone every time I have a chance after working hours.”
“Having grown up with foster parents until the age of 13, I was exposed to a culture of reading and storytelling. I was always a keen writer with an eye for other people’s stories throughout my schooling.”
After her matriculation, it was her circumstances that hindered her from studying further. She had to stay at home and help there instead. She later started working as a domestic worker as a means to make money.
Today she still works as a domestic worker full-time, but despite that she still manages to write. She writes late into the night, using just her Samsung Galaxy which she claims has become reasonably easy to type with.
She receives a lot of love from her readers/supporters, whilst staying true to her home language of isiZulu through her drama pieces.
Although she says that her writing has become routine for her and that she has grown accustomed to using just her phone, it is hard to imagine just how strenuous it must be typing Facebook entries of more than a thousand words, especially after a long day’s work shift. Not to mention an entire short story!
“It has become easy for me and I write during my spare time,” she says.
“Readers of my stories like them a lot and comment saying that they love and enjoy my stories, it is them that motivate me to keep on doing what I do.”
Khethiwe started producing her own material and posting it on Facebook for pleasure. Now that people have got to know her writing she says the goal is to keep it going because it also makes her feel proud to contribute to others’ entertainment. She says her inspiration comes from the everyday people whom she encounters and whose stories she finds interesting.
“Whenever I meet someone with a fascinating story or read about something interesting from a magazine, it usually sparks up ideas for a fresh story or a new twist for a new entry.”
Apart from her day job and her writing passion, she also has a passion for karate. She has a brown belt and says she even received an award in July of this year.
“I enjoy karate and I take lessons five days a week, Monday to Friday.”
“It is rare for me to need something to do when I have free time on my hands because I use it to write a new story.” She says the aim of her stories is to impact social change and hopefully make a difference in someone’s life beyond just entertaining people.
Her personal story is fascinating because, despite working full-time as a domestic worker, and not having had the chance to further her studies, she still followed her passion. The limited resources she has to work with has not stopped her from doing what she loves – which is writing.
Her Facebook page, where she has published a number of books, poems and short stories, has a lot of followers!
Her first commissioned short story has been published on FunDza’s mobi site as the weekly short story: The title is Ithunzi Elimnyama in IsiZulu and, and Dark Cloud, in English.
One of the readers’ comments sums it up:
I am speechless…
“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman