Nomthandazo Noma James – A woman of many talents

Nomthandazo Noma James

Nomthandazo Noma James is increasingly making a name for herself in the sphere of writing poems. Her five poems have been broadcast on Lesedi FM.
James and Khotso Nkhatho, the executive drama producer at Lesedi FM, are co-authors of the poem Komello.
James says she is fortunate that Thabang Morobane, the producer at Lesedi FM, introduced her to Khotso Nkhatho, in 2015.
“Nkhatho came up with the idea that we should each write a poem, Komello (Drought) in the Sesotho language. I accepted his request and I wrote my poem, which impressed Nkhatho. I was likewise impressed by his poem. He decided that we should go into the studio to record our poems jointly. That was my first step to success. The poem was broadcast on Lesedi FM and liked by millions of listeners of the radio station.
“Nkhatho invited me to his office at Lesedi FM, sat down with me and requested me to write another poem about anti-racism. I could not let that opportunity pass me by. So I wrote the poem Re Kgahlanong le Kgethollo Ya Mmala. I went into the studio to record my poem and it was also broadcast on Lesedi FM. Another poem broadcast by the radio station was Ba re Ba o Qetile (They Say they Defeated You). When I wrote this poem, I was very emotional. Working with a great name like Khotso Nkhatho was a wonderful experience. He inspired me to work harder and write more poems in Sesotho. I am grateful to Lesedi FM which made me very famous.”
Nkhatho said: “Nomthandazo James is a very talented young woman. She writes many poems inspired by her imagination. She will go a long way because she loves what she does with all her heart. I am happy her talent is developing. I am confident she will publish her poetry in the future.”
Nomthandazo’s interest in poetry started while she was attending school at Tsholohelo Primary School in Mangaung. She says: “I remember I was in Grade 7 when I started writing some poems titled, Our School Uniform, The Moon, Me, Our Christmas Gifts and many others. My class teacher noticed my talent and encouraged me to read more books about poetry. I remember some of the books that I read are Beginning-To-Read Poetry compiled by Sally Clithero, Around The Seasons by Eleanor Farjeon, and Tower Blocks Poems Of The City written by Marian Lines. I spent a lot of time reading these books as well as writing my poems in English.
“I attended a few events at the Mangaung Public Library, including the International Literacy Day. Many learners from primary and high schools in Mangaung attended the event. There were many activities; some learners read stories from books, children enjoyed a story-telling session, the kids enjoyed colouring-in and I had the opportunity to perform one of my poems. After the event, local poets and writers congratulated me on reciting my poem.”
On 24 September 2007, Nomthandazo performed with Celebrate Our Poetry in Botshabelo during the celebrations on Heritage Day which was attended by the then Minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan. She says: “I shared the stage with the veteran poet, Don Mattera. On 23 September the same year, poets such as Napo Masheane, Nthabiseng Jah Rose Jafta, Masoja Msiza, Lesego Rampolokeng, Fred Bila, Jessica Mbangeni, Serame IceBound Makhele, Kgafela Oa Magogodi, Sabata – mpho Mokae and Flaxman Qoopane performed at Pacofs in Bloemfontein. I regard Lesego Rampolokeng and Kgafela Oa Magogodi as my poetry heroes.”
James is also a columnist for Free State News. She adds: “The women in the media who have inspired me are Felicia Mabuza Suttle (show host for, her column was Straight Talk in Sowetan Sunday World), Liz Khumalo (chief editor for Drum Magazine) and Redi Direko (columnist of Redi ‘s Take in Sowetan). I used to read what they wrote and two years ago Moses Vinger published my first column, The Living Amazed Corner. In my column I motivated the readers of the newspaper. I wrote about the challenges that we are facing as people. My audience target was everybody – the youth and our parents – because life is not about age. If something happens to you, it does not matter what your age is.”
In her column, Don’t get used to failure or it will get used to you, she wrote: “Many disappointments can bring frustration to your life but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Knock, and if no one opens, move to another door. Shout for help, and if no one answers, seek help. If no one can help, don’t give up. In life we do have options and choices but what do you do about it is up to you. How about you try God? I mean, people can reject and disappoint you, but not my God…”
On Friday 26 August 2016, the motivational speaker Nomthandazo Noma James visited the Sehunelo High School at Batho location in Mangaung. She gave a motivational speech about depression, disappointment, failure, gossip, low self-esteem, sickness and stress. The students benefitted a lot from the inspirational talk by James. – Flaxman Qoopane