Meet young author and playwright, Molahlehi Magwala

Author, short story writer and playwright, Molahlehi Ernest Magwala, Flaxman Qoopane and "Seroki"/ "Praise Singer" at the Macufe Wordfest in Bloemfontein, Mangaung, in October 2016.

Molahlehi Ernest Magwala from Thabong Kasi in Welkom in the Free State is one of the few youths who writes novels, short stories and plays.
Magwala published his famous novel, The Rough Diamond, in 2015. He said: “I wrote my novel in 2013 and only decided to publish it in 2015. The Rough Diamond is part of my life story in its childhood stages. The book is relevant to where I come from and where I am heading. It is about a young boy who was rejected by his parents and sought peace, comfort and attention in drugs, in writing and in his school work. The character, Joseph Konye Jnr, was very talented and had a gift for writing and football. This was not recognised and appreciated by his parents and his family.
“It is a story about valuing gifts and appreciating one another. Through everything he faced, he picked himself up and worked hard to build a better life for himself and his future family.”
Magwala said, due to self-publishing, he only published fifty copies which have all been sold. “I managed to launch The Rough Diamond at the National Afrikaans Literature Museum (Naln), Sesotho Literature Museum (SLM) in Bloemfontein, Mangaung, on
1 August 2015. The people who bought my book have responded positively and say it is a masterpiece.”
Molahlehi was born in 1986 in Thabong Kasi, in Welkom. “I remember when I started attending Nanabolela Senior Secondary School in Welkom, I started writing songs, but later I decided to venture into short story writing. I have written some short stories including The Healer and the Beauty Queen, The Girl by the riverside; uNomsa and I love being Black. I want to publish them as a collection of short stories. My short stories are about culture, friendship and love. I have some plays, including Dunder-Head and Four Generations. One play is more about domestic violence and the challenges children are facing in households, the effects and challenges of their school work and academics. I want to start a theatre company so that these plays could be staged in the country at places like community halls and theatres like the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (Pacofs) in Bloemfontein.”
According to Ernest, writing has always been a communication tool that has been used for decades and it will forever be used.
“To me, writing is my work, my career and my second love. Jesus is my first love. Writing has power. This is one tool that has been used to reveal the history of every culture in the whole world. We communicate with the thoughts and true stories of authors through writing. People must start to read, because reading changes and empowers the reader. Everyone has a story to tell. I do believe everyone can write, though it does take a person with a calling and gift to publish and put together a masterpiece.
“Everybody should go to a library and read books. Those who have money can buy books. I read a lot. I have read most books of the African writers and I spend most of my time in libraries; writing, reading and doing my research. Some of the great writers I love and whose works I like reading, are Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, Dr K.P.D. Maphalla, Omoseye Bolaji and Reverend Frank Chikane.”
Magwala’s parents are Ben and the late Nomakula Magwala. His younger brother is Thella Walter Magwala. This promising author, short story writer and playwright attended Thembekile Primary School and Nanabolela Secondary School in Welkom. His dream is to organise creative writing workshops at Thembekile Primary School and Nanabolela Secondary School. – Flaxman Qoopane