Young writer defies odds to launch book

Nwabisa Hope Kope with her first published book. She is joined by programme director Gerald Nomlala.

Perseverance paid off for Khayelitsha author, Nwabisa Hope Kope, when she launched her Xhosa book Ibali Lika Veli noMveli, at Isivivana Centre, on Saturday May 26.

Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the centre for the launch.

The 31-year-old was urged to continue writing despite life’s challenges, a subject at the centre of this book which looks at hardships that are prevalent, predominantly in the townships.

It also aims to educate children about the consequences of making bad life choices.

Ms Kope says the book also appeals to parents to instil discipline in their children and cautions against spoiling kids. Ms Kope said parents should play an active role in the upbringing of their children.

Through the book, which was compiled over two months, Ms Kope also hopes to contribute to the preservation of isiXhosa.

Ms Kope, who also runs an educare centre, says cultural heritage and knowledge is passed through language.

She believes that language is important in affirming and maintaining well-being, self esteem and a strong sense of identity.

“Children need to be loved, but they must also be reprimanded when they do something wrong. I wish this book could be part of the schools’ curriculum,” she said.

Ms Kope said she would love to be a well-known writer.

“I have discovered that the are few books written in isiXhosa by young people for children, hence I opted to write the book in my mother tongue. This is our language and we should preserve it,” she said.

She added that she started writing at primary school, something she inherited from her mother. She described financial constraints and limited resources as the biggest challenges facing up-and-coming authors.

Ms Kope said she had written five books before, but those were never published due to financial difficulties. Her latest book had been funded by the National Library.

Friend and a former colleague, Zimkita Phala, urged her to continue writing. She commended her for taking on the “bold task” of preserving isiXhosa.

She called for the support of young writers for the development of more writers. She said she believed this was only the beginning of great things to come.