As a first time author, Tumi Morake faced many challenges when putting together her memoir. The toughest was having to decide what to share in her new book, And Then Mama Said.
“You want to make the book worthwhile, but you also don't want to burn bridges and put yourself so much out there that you have nothing left that's yours,” says Morake.
On Monday, the 36-year-old's much-anticipated debut book hit the shelves. It offers a glimpse into the life of South Africa's queen of comedy and covers a number of major incidents in her life.
Morake also opens up about the loss of her mother, as well as her tumultuous relationship with her beloved husband.
The memoir is the voice of Tumi in private, as well as a behind the scenes perspective of a pioneering South African star, who has been both deeply loved and viciously hated by her audiences.
Morake said: “The book is funny, where I touch on light-hearted moments, and it's sad, where I share my darkest moments too”.
Morake isn't afraid to admit that she has a certain sense of insecurity about it. “I wrote this book myself, and I am not an author, so of course I feel insecure on that level because it's my first book and it's my voice."
Opening up about her mother's death was the most difficult for the Free State-born comedian.
“I don't think I've spoken about what it was like losing my mother in such detail. I had to relive it all while I was writing it, and that was really tough."
The mother of three also reveals the horror of being maliciously attacked on social media after her 2017 car crash.
She was travelling with her husband and three children to Sun City when they had a head-on collision and almost lost their lives. “The realisation that you can only protect your children to a certain degree, the reality of how ugly people can be, and to also have your life flash in front of your eyes, was incredible.
“To see people celebrate my possible death knowing that there were children in the car and thereby implying that even if my children were dead, it was something worth celebrating in their small minds, just made me feel like I really need to focus myself on what's important.”
Morake says the Jacaranda race row was also a huge learning curve for her. She caused a storm when she likened white South Africans to bullies with an on-air analogy.
“It taught me to open my eyes more, to listen more, and to read between the lines. I was spoilt because when you do comedy in this country, you sit in a room full of people with different cultures and different races and you never get this kind of rubbish. But when you're on radio, it's so intimate, you don't know where this person is hearing you.”
Throughout her story, she carries the voice of her mother, and with it the indispensable life lessons that made her who she is today.
“This book is dedicated to the woman who raised me. I credit my resilience to her...” Morake hopes her book will help to inspire others to be brave enough to be true to themselves.
The Saturday Star