FunDza interviewed 10 Fantastic FunDza Fanz! Meet Josh…

Josh Lemmetjies, 12, closely watches the world around him. Gangsterism and environmental issues are just some of the social topics that concern him. Through his writings, he is able to envisage a better society and a better planet – and he wants to see other young people empowered to achieve a better world for themselves.

Interest in literacy

Josh lives in Cape  Town with his family. After school, he sits and writes by hand. “When I’m writing I feel like all the emotions are coming out of my body,” he explains. “I feel the excitement of writing just to express myself.”

His writings address serious social issues that take place around him. Nearby to Josh’s house is Hanover Park, a tight-knit community that is troubled by gangsterism. Concerned by this, Josh wrote a piece called Dear Mr. President. “It’s about a boy that lives in Hanover Park that wrote to the president about the crime that is happening in his community. The president visited his community and there was a massive change.” Speaking about the wider impact of his writings, Josh wonders if the story might one day “catch the eye” of President Ramaphosa himself and result in changes for the communities around him.

Through reading and writing “about what is currently happening in South Africa,” Josh hopes to effect social change. He wants young people to stand up for themselves. “If in the poorest communities people can have access to phones and the internet, [they can] report to the police and inform one another.”

A letter to planet Earth

Josh likes to go to the local park where he enjoys the harmony of nature. Bubbling behind that is a concern, however. He has watched as the environment becomes damaged – and he is worried about our planet’s environmental future.

“There’s one poem [I wrote] called To Earth. It is about the attacks that it is receiving from nature and how humans are not taking care of earth properly.” In the poem, he writes to earth: “Thank you Earth for not giving up / The hurt, the pain, the pollution and warming you have stood it all / This is a letter from me to you Earth.”

“I feel very concerned and worried about what is happening to Earth,” he explains, and “we need to change the way we waste and use things and the way we do not reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Inspiring others to change

Issues of gangsterism and the environment are heavy burdens for a young person to take on. But through his writing and reading, Josh wants to encourage others to think of solutions. He hopes “that my stories will reach other people and it will encourage other people to start writing their own stories, because  it will be nice to see that other people are reading and writing and educating other people.”

The national lockdown during the pandemic allowed Josh time to discover and delve more deeply into FunDza. He enjoys reading other stories, which in turn inspires him to write more. “It inspires me to write more and the stories that I read are very enjoyable,” he explains. 

It is not surprising that Josh aims to help others in his future. He plans on studying medicine one day to become a doctor. Wanting to expand healthcare access, he hopes that becoming a doctor will allow more people to get the help that they need – “because not everybody is open to pharmaceutical health or clinical health.” Armed with a strong social conscience and his skills in creative writing, it is no doubt that Josh will go on to impact our world for the better!

We asked Josh:

Why do you like reading FunDza? 
Because it inspires me to read more, to write more and even the fans’ writings is very inspiring and it’s enjoyable.

When is your favorite reading time on FunDza? 
When I’m usually alone or I am in bed.

What is the best story that you’ve read on FunDza and why? 
The Fake Pastor because there’s a lot of action and there’s a lot of things that are happening in there.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time besides reading on FunDza? 
I usually go over my school work. 

To read about the nine other FunDza Fanz, click here.