Sonwabiso Ngcowa is 34 years old and lives in Masiphumelele. He is a friend and tutor to Mbu, and is helping coach him for exams. Sonwabiso completed his Matric at Fish Hoek High school in 2002. He went on to study a diploma in Business Management at Cape College, and then worked for Standard Bank at the Fish Hoek branch in customer services. In 2011 he made a brave decision to follow his passion for writing. He resigned from his work at the bank and has applied at UCT to study Social Development and Medical Anthropology. Fundza has serialised his first novel Conversations with Lungile as well as various short stories.
An Interview with Sonwabiso
Why do you write?
It’s a way to express the conversations I have with myself when I am being honest with myself. I want to share my thoughts and the things I have learned in life so far with others, through my writing.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading non-fiction. It’s a book by Lutz van Dijk, called A History of Africa (Tafelberg). It is really opening my eyes to the truth about our continent, and things I was never taught at school. Lutz has also been a great inspiration to me as a writer.
What is your message for young people in South Africa?
Picture where you want to be in the future and take the first step to get there. Believe in yourselves, anything is possible with hard work and courage. Don’t get derailed by obstacles in your path, persevere.
NAC Project Highlights
A highlight on the day:
Being in a room with such talented people was a highlight in itself to me. Such must be repeated. Certainly, a highlight activity for me was that led by Helen where we wrote parts of a story in focus times. If I apply that to my writing, I should be able to write and finish all the book concepts I have and the ones that will still come to my mind.
Advice to developing writers:
If in some parts of your story you cry, or in some others you laugh until you fall off a chair, most likely more than one reader will do the same. Carry a small piece of paper with you always. These parts of your story may come when you are in places you least expect them to come, in a taxi or bus, in class or at a friend’s party. Jot it down.
Working with Asavela:
I saw a bit of myself in Asavela as my mentee, he is just great. I saw in him what Ros and Dorothy had been asking me to do, ‘direct the movie’. That, is writing a short story or a novel. Asavela came with this talent in him. He knew the angles of his story and could explain them. He directed the movie. As his coach, I just had to guide and nurture this talent. Big Ups to Asavela Pheko!