When she was called to the stage to talk about her latest book, Umsinga Weemfihlelo, Nomthandazo Dyamdeki’s face lit up with enormous smile and you could feel her pride radiating.
The launch of her book, funded by the National Library of South Africa, was hosted by the Isivivana Centre and Khayelitsha library on Friday March 19. The launch also formed part of the activities held to mark Library Week, from March 15 to 21.
Ms Dyamdeki, whose book is targeted at young adults, said she had committed to writing only in isiXhosa because the quality of spoken and written content in the language had been “diluted”. In addition to this, she said, young people were simply not interested in reading materials written in their mother tongue.
She said many argue that it is difficult or boring to read isiXhosa books but she feels that the content of her stories and her writing style will keep readers engaged.
She started writing this book in 2013 but stopped in 2015 as she wanted to focus on her studies. After finally completing it last year, she submitted a manuscript to the National Library with the hope of acquiring funding to have it published.
She was over the moon with joy when they agreed to provide the funding, she said.
“I feel happy that this book would be known for years. People are going to know this book. But my ultimate wish and prayer is this to book to be adopted by the Department of Education and be used in the curriculum.
“I hope to see my books being all over the country and some translated into English,” she said.
Talking about challenges, she said publishing companies rarely give young people a chance to publish their work. Those rejections, she said, frustrate young writers and could potentially to destroy their ambitions of publishing their work.
Now 23 years old, Ms Dyamdeki said she was just a 12-year-old pupil at Samora Machel Primary School when she wrote her first book, Ukuhamba Kukubona. She is currently pursuing an Honours degree in isiXhosa at UWC.
Co-ordinator of the community publishing programme at the National Library of South Africa, Nelisa Lunika, said through such events they wanted to show young authors that there was funding available to support their work.
Senior librarian at Khayelitsha library, Vuyokazi Rani-Njambatwa, said the event was aimed celebrating library week as well as celebrating the work of local authors and that it was important to bring such events to the community so that up and coming authors could know which channels they should follow to get their work published.