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.
Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Branson
Drake – Look What You’ve Done
Connect with Mihlali on his Facebook page, Pieces by Mihlali Songcaka