UFH student’s book inspired by true and personal experiences up for Mzantsi Arts and Media Award

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Pained by the tragic loss of his sister who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2016, Abongile Ngqoleka, a UFH Social Sciences final-year student, turned to the might of ‘pen and paper’ and penned a book to document his sorrow, seven years later his book has been nominated for the Mzantsi Arts and Media Awards #Mama23.

In its 4th year running, the annual awards ceremony seeks to celebrate and recognize the achievements of South African artists and media professionals in various categories such as music, film, print television, radio, and sports.

Ngqoleka’s book titled: NAKHANE which means “To build one another” has been nominated under the awards’ Best Writer category.

Originally from Mount Frere (KwaBacha) in the Eastern Cape, Ngqoleka, who was born in Johannesburg endured several hardships in his life. This includes being orphaned at age eight which led to him and his younger brother being raised in an orphanage and later, the tragic loss of his sister who died at the hands of her partner.

The book follows the life of a female teenager, named Namhla whose life turns for the worst when her mother dies, leaving her to be raised by her father who became her rapist, infected her with HIV and impregnated her when she was 17.  Namhla names the child Nakhane 

“Set in the dusty villages of the Eastern Cape, the book seeks to offer readers an incisive glimpse into the murky and unspoken reality where both mother and daughter share the same pain unleashed on them by the one person who is supposed to shelter and protect them,” explained Ngqoleka.

The self-published author said he dedicates this book to the memory of his sister.

“After many years of seeking solace and closure over my sister’s death who was raped and killed by her boyfriend, I decided to just let the voices in my head out and produce my first offering which I dedicate to her.”

He adds that the book deals with various social ills that continue to plague societies such as gender-based violence, rape, persecution of people living with albinism, homophobia, life of an orphan, teenage pregnancy, HIV and Aids, absent fathers, depression and gender inequality.

Commenting on being nominated for this prestigious award, Ngqoleka said: “It means a lot to me. I honestly can’t describe the feeling. Such things are hard to achieve when you’re doing everything on your own, with no sponsorship and no agent representing you. It would mean even much more if I could bring the award home to Eastern Cape because this award is not only for me but for every black child in this province, who like me, comes from humble beginnings yet give it their all to make things happen for themselves.”

To ensure he bags this win, SMS "MAMA 876" to 40439, SMS cost R2, and lines for all nominees close on the 5th of May.

The awards ceremony will be held in June in Pretoria.