The Writers Write Interview – Tuelo Gabonewe


Essentially:  Tuelo Gabonewe

  1. If love were a colour, what colour would it be? Maroon
  2. What is the colour of anger? Red
  3. What is the colour of money?  Burgundy – not an everyday colour – not easily attainable.
  4. What is the colour of beauty? Yellow – bright and sunny.
  5. What is the colour of desire? Red
  6. If your life were a city, what city would it be? Maybe Springbok, in the Northern Cape?
  7. What is the number you associate with reading? 7
  8. What is the number you associate with writing? 7
  9. What is your favourite number? 7 – I used to play football and my shirt number was lucky 7.

Writing Sense

  1. Writing sounds like a busy city – with people from all walks of life – reticent characters, quiet characters, like me.
  2. Writing looks like a nondescript amoeba – always changing shape – never static.
  3. Writing tastes like greasy spoons – taken from a wide variety of dishes – it’s a mixture of all good food.
  4. Writing smells like a garden full of flowers – somewhere that is a retreat – a perfect combination of all plants and flowers – different aromas.
  5. Writing feels like solitude. I like to write with quiet around me. I even switch off my music. It’s a place I go to reflect on my thoughts.

In your novel… 

If the village outside Rustenburg, called Tlhabane, the setting of your novel, were a country, it would be South Africa, specifically Soweto – mixture of cultures. It would  shop at Spitz – a shoe store selling fancy imported, Italian items.

  • Tlhabane sounds like somewhere vibrant and busy – just like home.
  • Tlhabane looks like a sprawling hive – very hot – where I come from there are 3 sections – “Bester” is the suburb – “GG” is made up of shacks and homes altogether – “Oukasie” the old location is the slum area.  Mixture of all types.
  • Tlhabane smells different types of sweet and spicy aromas.
  • Tlhabane tastes hot and spicy
  • Tlhabane feels like home

Authors: Siphiwo Mahala, Tuelo Gabonewe, and Thando Mgqolozana

More About Tuelo

What is your favourite meal? I’m a “meat” guy – steak, wors, pap and half cooked eggs.

What are you reading?  Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. It is a mystery, detective novel. I have just finished Boxwood by Camilo José Cela, a Spanish author. It’s a very strange book – a little long-winded without any paragraph breaks or even full stops. He is a controversial, intelligent writer.

Where do you live? Johannesburg City Centre

Why do you live there? I recently moved from Rustenburg to Johannesburg and was all over the city, but someone told me about the apartment where I am living now and so I took it.

How has living there affected your writing? I lived in Randburg before and enjoy the vibe of the city and the ability one has to disappear among the crowds. There is always something to do, and I love to walk around on my own, from place to place.

What is your favourite quality about yourself? I am level-headed and consistent. I work for client services at a bank and I am able to deal with irate customers and manage to calm them down.

What is your least favourite quality about yourself? I can be a little soft and I am open to being taken advantage of by others.

Do you have a favourite quote? Dreams are like clouds. Only their shadows belong to us. ~Mia Couto

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am most proud of my two-year-old daughter. I have also realised a dream in being able to have my book published.

The Book 

  1. How did you come up with the title of your book? I believe in a catchy, colourful title.
  2. If your hero were an animal, he would be a tiger. He prowls and skulks in the grass. Watching, analysing everything.  He’s tough.
  3. If he were a city, he would be Vanderbijlpark near the Vaal River.
  4. Why did you choose to write this particular book?  I wanted to write a funny story. I wasn’t sure if I could be comical enough.  I wanted to draw on my own experiences as a child growing up outside Rustenburg.
  5. What was the hardest part about writing this book? I was challenged by the idea of writing from the mind of a 9-year-old boy, even though I was 23 at the time. There are a lot of things that you have to think about and put yourself into a child’s shoes. You have to capture the honesty and vulnerability that only children can achieve. I had to balance the clumsiness of a 9-year-old with his cleverness, and not sound like an adult.

Mini-Bucket List? 

  1. I would like to be the greatest author that ever lived.
  2. I want to raise my daughter to be strong and successful.
  3. I want to travel through Africa – especially West Africa – love the culture, the chill out music ,and the food.

When you stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? 

I don’t ever want to stop.  I would like to drop dead in the middle of a manuscript.  I’d like many, many titles behind my name, not just five or six.  I want everything I say to be interesting to somebody.

Follow @Tuelo_Gabonewe

Vicki Cicoria and Tuelo Gabonewe

About the book…

Leungo, a nine-year old with a very interesting outlook on life. views his parents as good-for-nothing savages who care only for themselves; who drink themselves silly with friends who come round every day, leaving any concern for his education by the wayside.

When Leungo’s father, goaded by a piece of advice from a particularly inebriated friend, takes him into the bundus to meet and spend time with his grandparents who haven’t seen him since he was an infant, Leungo experiences a profound culture shock, and he begins to realize that what you have is better that what you can only dream about.

Planet Savage is a shining début novel, filled with humour, from Tuelo Gabonewe, who will leave you with some profound insights while you roll on the floor laughing.

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