Durban is currently the hub for the exchange of knowledge and literature as the 22nd Annual Time of the Writer Festival continues.
Guest writer and newcomer, ex Generation’s actress, Pan-African media expert and activist and published author, Rosie Motene, spoke about her first book, "Reclaiming the Soil: A Black Girl’s Struggle To Find Her African Self".
Last year, the book was chosen for the One City, One Book campaign and had an overwhelming response from it’s readers from different types of communities and territories who resonated with it.
It talks about Motene’s journey to find her true identity after growing up during apartheid with the white family her mother worked for. Rosie had access to the best of everything but as a black girl she floundered without her own culture or language.
It took Motene over ten years to complete and a further two with her publisher.
“I started when I was at a low in my life and in serious therapy. I needed to reflect on who I was, what I had done and where I saw myself. I lived most of life in denial about my identity and realised for my own sanity, I needed to do something about that. I also needed to work on the relationship with my biological parents,” said Motene.
During the writing process, Motene dug deep into her past, coming face to face with some dark and painful memories but at the end found closure.
“At times I needed to heal and find closure. Some wounds are still healing. I have also revealed a lot about myself and how I wish to conduct my life, moving forward. It created beautiful sense of African pride and importance in the way I think, speak and conduct myself,” she said.
Some of the themes in her book include interracial adoption, identity and the importance of language.
She said she’s ecstatic to be at the festival and honoured be to visiting remote communities in KZN.
“As a nation we do not read enough and we do not encourage others to read. It’s also another way for us to share our personal journeys. I love the fact that KZN pushes diversity and vernacular languages,” said Motene, whose currently reading “I Tweet What I Like - So Sue Me”, by award-winning author, Jackie Phamotse.
The former actress left the world of entertainment in 2015 after she noticed the high level of sexism on set.
“I devoted my activism and power to challenging production houses. I do a lot of work as a GBV consultant. I also offer support to survivors by referring them for counselling, legal representation and helping them in their journey. I am a professional speaker and a blogger, I write on my three passions in life, women, Africa and the arts,” said Motene.
The Festival ends on Saturday.