A journey through life with Collen Serite

By Lesego Makgatho Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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IF YOU are looking for a slight take on the strides made since the inception of a democratic order in South Africa, you may want to pick up this short autobiography that could easily be read in one sitting.

Tales of a Rural Traveller, written by Collen Serite, is an autobiographical novel following the life of Mosupatsela, a young man born into a poverty-stricken family, who rises to make a name for himself in the various circles of life he becomes exposed to.

He was born to a father who worked as a truck driver and a mother who was a domestic worker. The story begins in a small village in Limpopo, Ga-Mashashane, where Mosupatsela was raised by his grandparents. It is a tale of childhood aspirations and a determination to achieve against all odds.

In eight chapters, the reader is taken through the life of Mosupatsela where he moves to Johannesburg, Alexandra, to begin school. His first home in Alexandra was at a women’s hostel.

Shortly after his arrival in Alexandra, he appeared on a popular TV show, which smoothed his integration into a community of initially unwelcoming peers who perceived him as a country bumpkin in a notorious and fast-paced township.

He flirts with a life of crime but is saved by his prominent and well-educated uncle, who introduces him to books and teaches him about the importance of education. Books then changed Mosupatsela’s outlook on life and empowered him to look beyond his immediate surroundings.

Inspired by his uncle and committed to dismantling the poverty that he was born into, he works hard to attend university, where he spreads his wings broadly and becomes a promoter, student journalist, activist and executive member of various student bodies.

Through the protagonist, this book provides insight into the lived experience of ordinary youth in post-apartheid democratic South Africa. The story carries powerful commentary on society, education, unemployment, politics and the economy, all through the personal and thrilling experiences of the narrator.

The overarching themes in the story include social issues, education, unemployment (particular focus on graduate unemployment), politics, income inequality and the economy. Subtle themes in the book also include inspiration, family life and love.

On the lessons he’d like for people to take from the book, Serite said it’s important for people to learn that through hard work and determination, poverty and hardships can be overcome.

Young South Africans in primary and secondary school levels, tertiary students including the unemployed (graduates and non-graduates) can read this. This offering is also relevant to people of all ages with varying professional orientations.

Tales of A Rural Traveller is available on Takealot.com, and Amazon. For more information on the book, visit Collen Serite’s Facebook page.

Serite is a public servant, employed in the Office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, and a political activist who is passionate about development, education, good governance, global peace and cooperation.

Sunday Independent

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