ABOUT: Yacoob Manjoo


Yacoob Manjoo is a writer, blogger, husband, and father of two. Writing is his passion, and sharing beneficial knowledge and insights has been a pillar of his life for more than a decade. An anthology of his poetry and prose is due for publication in late 2019. He writes at dreamlife.wordpress.com.

Two of his poems are featured in The Coinage Book Two. “Summer Daze” was written on the last day of the year, after his first-born has completed her first year of pre-school. The poem is a reflection on his own childhood summer holidays, along with the anxieties of the coming school year – all of which was evoked when considering that my child was now in the same cycle we all went through – enjoying a well-earned rest, yet part of the system that would take her from childhood to adulthood, training her for life.

Contrary, “Rooftops” is an escapist poem where the poet reflects on rooftops as places to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life; a quiet space to reflect and get some perspective – reminding oneself of the bigger picture, and allowing one’s eyes – both the physical and spiritual – to envision what lies beyond the invisible walls of one’s regular existence.

Order a copy of The Coinage Book Two here.

ABOUT: TWD Mohapi

TWD Mohapi has written many books of varying genres including poetry, short stories, folklore and novels. Although he started writing poetry in English, he has only ever been published in his mother-tongue, Sesotho, resulting in an illustrious literary career spanning 30 years. His many accolades include the Thomas Mokopu Mofolo Award for the poetry anthology, Bophelo ba Ka (1992) and the M-NET Literary award (African languages category – Sesotho) for the novel Lehlaba la Lephako (2002). In 2002, he received a Certificate of Honour for his contribution in promoting and developing Sesotho Literature in the Free State province.

He has travelled widely and led a South African literary delegation on an expedition to China visiting the Chinese Writers Association. In 1996 he founded the Sesotho Writer’s Association (MoabaSesotho) and served as its chariman until 2006. When he is not writing, he edits and translates literary manuscripts for various publishing houses.

 

Read more about him here.

Order The Coinage Book Two here 

ABOUT: Ronelle Hart

Ronélle Hart was born in 1961 in Pretoria but was raised and attended school in Nigel. She completed her BA in English and Psychology in 1983,  and later her MA in Psychology at the University of Johannesburg. Ronelle has been working as a psychologist in private practice in Johannesburg for the last 23 years. She has always loved writing and how words and stories tell about who we are, and how they shape our every awareness, deepening our engagement with life. She writes about personal memory, food, relationships, and the experience of therapy. She mainly blogs about psychological issues and has had some of her poetry published in local and international literary magazines. Several of her food memoir pieces have appeared in popular food magazines in SA. She has two adult sons, one baby granddaughter and is married to a jazz saxophonist. She is a contributing author to the Life Righting Collective’s “This Is How It Is” anthology, which came out in print form in 2018.

Her memoir, Magnolia Season, tells of the death of her mother of late-diagnosed, terminal cancer 17 years ago, and the almost simultaneous dissolution of her marriage, reflecting on time and place and season.

To read this touching story and more, order a copy of The Coinage Book Two here.

ABOUT: Thibedi Mokgokong

Thibedi Mokgokong is a poet who discovered writing through the strain of living in a house where “a child is seen but not heard.” Poetry was a way to express complex and suppressed emotions in a verbose but quiet manner. The weight in his poetry comes from words and expressions long kept but never spoke.

Thibedi found himself picking a degree to study post-matric haphazardly, merely going by what was then called an M-score. He was accepted into the University of Johannesburg to study a BA degree in Psychology in 2006 and went in to work in insurance.
His poem, “Lobola”, was published in The Coinage Book One.
Two of Thibedi’s works are featured in The Coinage Book Two. In his poem, “Made of Clay”, he explores a person’s ability to adapt to a changing society regardless of the conditions they face. While the short story, “Lighthouse” is rebellion against a corrupt government by non-political individuals and ramifications thereof.  It also highlights the dire indirect effects that the rebellion has on the relatives of such individuals, namely the children and spouse.
Most of Thibedi’s flash fiction and poetry is available to peruse here.

ABOUT: Jeannie Wallace Mckeown

Jeannie Wallace McKeown lives in Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) and works full-time at Rhodes University. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes, and has had poems published in New Coin, New Contrast, Poetry Potion, Aerodrome and other literary journals. Her work appears in the anthologies Voices Of This Land 2nd Edition, For Rhino in a Shrinking World, the EU Sol Plaatjie collections VII and VIII, and on the AVBOB Poetry website. She is the mother of two boys, has just the perfect number of cats, and a dog who wasn’t planned but is now an integral part of the family. Her collection, Unremembered Poems, will be published by Modjaji Books in 2019.

Her poem “Even-Handed” is featured in The Coinage Book Two. It is a simple and beautifully written reflection on the concurrent exploration, experimentation, growth and change within ourselves and others.

ABOUT: Christine Coates

“City Swim”  and “Learning to Drive” both explore both loss and grief. The poet uses her imagination and magical thinking to cope with the loss of her father, eventually coming to some sort of acceptance of this loss.
In “Carrot Juice for Ma Coates”, Abbi’s mother becomes sick with cancer,  Abbi visits her to support and help look after her. She becomes frustrated when her mother thwarts her attempts to feed her fresh carrot juice and other nutritious foods. Abbi recalls a time when she was a student and how a friend, Lydia, invited her home for the weekend. She remembers the strained relationship Lydia had with her mother and their issues around food and weight. Abbi reflects on how, as teenagers, they both longed for independence, to fly towards freedom. As Abbi begins to accept her mother and allow her to be the way she is, she appreciates the close relationship and support her mother has always given her. Ultimately she is able to let go and allow her mother to fly.

Chat with Mihlali

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mihlali Songcaka, I’ll be 25 in September. I was born in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. I speak IsiXhosa as well as English, Sesotho/Setswana and Afrikaans. I used to play rugby and I started writing poetry in 2012.

What were you like at school?

I had a mild temper but my kindness overshadowed it. I was always respectful towards fellow students and teachers.

Since you write in English, were you good at it in school?

Honestly, I wasn’t good at it and the subject gave me a hard time.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would like to have a book published in 2019. I would really like for my poems to be well-known and to build my brand. I would also like to become a good performer and a better writer; and to have my work being used in theatre, film and television series.

Which writers inspire you and why?

Honestly, I have not been inspired by any writers and I don’t know many writers but hat inspires me are real-life events and the lives of others.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few poems that I would like to get published this year.

Why do you write? As in, what made you sit down and start writing?

If I could remember, I would tell you but unfortunately, I don’t remember why I started. I do remember that I wrote a long rap verse for a friend and he told me that it rhymed well. What initiated the poetry is something that I’m still trying to figure out and oddly, since I don’t remember why poetry feels so special to me.

What do you use to write?

I use my laptop and sometimes I write with pen and paper. Most of the time, I feel that the poem I want to write at that specific moment would be better written by hand than on the laptop and it would come out better.

Where do your ideas come from?

Real-life events from people, sometimes from a sog or my own emotions and feelings or just even random words in my head.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Firstly, writer’s block and trying to show others that my style is completely different from the usual stuff they read/hear.

Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Yes, I do. I just don’t write or think about a poem in my head. So, I just leave that poem ad do something else.

Do you read much? If so, who are your favourite authors?

No, actually I only started reading this year, but so far, the book I’m enjoying is Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop

Which celebrated person, living or dead, would you most like to meet and why?

Well, I have a list but I recently met Sipho Nkosi on Freedom Day. He’s on my list right along with President Cyril Ramaposa and Patrice Motsepe.

Favourite book.

Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Branson

Favourite film.

Transformer sequels

Favourite song.

Drake – Look What You’ve Done

Connect with Mihlali on his Facebook page, Pieces by Mihlali Songcaka

 

 

Imbokodo (Winnie Mandela)

You saved us,
You fought for us,
Inspired our mothers and sisters
around Africa and the world.

Showed man and woman,
and embodied,
Strength,
Courage,
Vision.

Showing us as the nation,
Never to back down
and to keep fighting,
You left us
and into dark holes,
Our hearts fell,
Mama Imbokodo,
To the nation,
The world,
You are a hero.

Mother and daughter,
Strong and courageous,
Never say die,
Imbokodo.

From mother to daughter,
Your teachings, your words,
Your songs, your voice,
Echoed through the generations,
Imbokodo.

Your spirit remains,
In the black clothes and doeks,
Mothers and sisters,
Pay their respects,
Imbokodo.

Imbokodo,
Long live,
Long live,
Madikizela,
Mama wethu.