Pretoria - Blind author Kamogelo Mogajane has beaten all odds to become one of the country’s best writers.
Mogajane, who has a sighted twin brother, said he lived up to the notion that “success comes from pain, pain comes from trial, trial comes from a vision, and a vision comes from a person”. He said this simply meant a person built their own personality and future.
The 20-year-old, who lives in Soshanguve, has written three books. His third and most recent is titled Strong Woman.
He is also a director of various stage drama plays and a pianist at jazz sessions.
He said Strong Woman was based on the reality and hardships women faced in a polygamous family. The woman on the cover is his mother, Miriam.
Mogajane said he only used his mother as the face of polygamy because he grew up in a family that practised the custom, but was in no way negatively affected.
The message in the book was directed to all South Africans because the country was filled with cases of gender-based violence, he said.
“As a young writer my goal is to educate and uplift South Africans through writing and drama.”
His other two works are Mpepumpepu, a Sepedi poetry book, and Sebatakgomo.
He wrote Strong Woman when he was 19 and said this was his best work so far.
He published Mpepumpepu while a learner at Philadelphia Secondary School in Soshanguve Block L. Before writing Mpepumpepu the first book he had ever written was stolen.
“My love for writing developed at 14 years old after reading Es’kia Mphahlele’s Down Second Avenue, he recalled.
He was also inspired by Thobela FM presenter Happiness Thomo Maake, who introduced him to books such as A man Who's is Not a Man, The Beauty Myth and Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man.
His love for writing grew more while at school. He would go to school carrying short stories he compiled using a braille machine.
“I would read them aloud to my twin brother and he would write them down down. I love art in general, but I prioritise writing because it is something I have fallen in love with.”
Immediately after receiving his matric results in January, he enrolled for a computer course at the South African National Council for the Blind.
“Writing helps me express what I’m feeling at that moment and share with people through motivational talks. The only thing I fail to do now is to write poetry, because I’m used to reading mature books,” he said.
Mogajane lives in an RDP house with his three friends who he met while at school. He said his plan was to develop young writers' talents while they were still at school.
“Writing is difficult, so if young writers don’t have a mentor, they will not do it.”