WIDE RANGE: Sabata-Mpho Mokae writes about everything from circumsion to mineral rights.
He could have been a lawyer making pots of money, instead he gave up his legal articles to pursue his passion.
And the sacrifice seems to be paying off as Sabata-Mpho Mokae has just launched an anthology of poetry, Escaping Trauma.
The launch took place in Kimberley on Africa Day.
Mokae told The New Age the anthology was a collection of poems written over a period of 10 years.
Mokae says he doesn’t write many poems because it takes him a long time to write.
“As much as poetry is all about emotions and what to go through at that particular time, for me it takes a lot of time to put it together. I go through each stanza with an open mind.”
He said after a decade of contributing poems to journals and various anthologies, he decided it was time to have a book that has “most of my work”.
He has selected 50 poems. He pays tribute to other artists and public figures such as Sol Plaatje, Robert Sobukwe, Katie Melua, Hugh Masekela, Lebo Mathosa and Moses Taiwa Molelekwa.
He writes about burning issues such as circumcision and mineral rights, as well as the Karoo landscape, the Big Hole in Kimberley and the life of bachelorhood in Johannesburg.
He acknowledged the support shown by the department of sport, arts and culture. “Through them I will see my books placed in all the Northern Cape libraries. They bought most of the books for public consumption,” said Mokae who has dedicated the work to his cousin, a medical doctor and renowned writer, Gomolemo Mokae.
“He inspired me in terms of writing. I would see him every day writing with passion. He is a qualified medical doctor – he left his career and took up writing as a career. That was a sacrifice. I have made a similar sacrifice by leaving the department of justice and following my passion – writing,” he said.
Mokae has contributed to several books of poetry and also black history. In 2010 he released a biography, The Story of Sol T Plaatje.
He is a regular participant in the Writers’ Festival in Kimberley and the Sol Plaatje Literary Festival in Mafikeng, North West.
In 2011 he won the South African Literary Award. His debut Tswana novel, Ga ke Modisa, will be published in July. He is studying towards an MA in creative writing at Rhodes University.