Happy Birthday, Siphiwo Mahala, born 26 October
- Writing, to me, is an offshoot of my passion for reading, a habit that I developed from an early age. I grew up as an introverted child and as the only boy in the family. Books became my closest companion.
- Contrary to popular perception, writing short requires a lot of discipline as there is no luxury of time and space. One has to develop a story using very few characters, and every word used must be accounted for in order to develop a concrete and aesthetically powerful story.
- [My ideal readers are] imaginative individuals who allow words to invade their minds, penetrate their heart and soul, and take them to the highest peaks of ecstasy.
- I write at any given moment. Inspiration to write comes at the strangest of times and in very awkward places. I once wrote a story on the programme while attending a funeral. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed by voices in my head I sneak out of the bedroom and sit in my study without my wife noticing.
- I always begin with handwritten sketches before using the computer. Much as computers are a more advanced medium, I find them quite obstructive when writing a new story.
- Books are resilient, enduring and will remain an essential part of our civilisation. They possess a certain aura of intimacy that cannot be obtained in iPods, kindles, computers and all such devices. They are reliable companions that keep you company when you go to bed, to the beach, in a taxi or even in a remote desert. Books are sources of entertainment as much as they are fountains of knowledge and wisdom.
- I always try to write work that resonates with the broader society and that would exhort people to take action.
Siphiwo Mahala is a South African writer. He is the author of the short story collection, African Delights, and he received the 2006 Ernst van Heerden Creative Writing Award for When a Man Cries. He is the Head of Books and Publishing at the National Department of Arts and Culture.