To celebrate SA Library Week, FunDza hosted a fun ‘tea on Twitter’ chat on 20 March to get its readers and writers to engage with one another and to shine a light on literacy and the power of the pen… or in this case the pixel!

FunDza posed seven questions and asked its Fanz and professional writers to answer these as best they could. Joining us for the 90 minute chat were authors Sifiso Mzobe, Kaydee Mashile, Zimkhitha Mlanzeli, Ros Haden and Ndibulele Sotondoshe. We were also joined by FunDza staff members, our online community and literacy organisations such as SA Book Fair, Activate Change Drivers, Perfect Love Publications and Cover2Cover Books to mention but a few. 

Lots of others participated too, and the conversation became a hotbed of discussion about publishing and a celebration of stories. Discussion points included asking writers to introduce themselves, write about the first time they had written a story, speak about combatting writers’ block, write about the influence of other writing on their work, reflect on the extent to which good writing is due to talent or hard work, tips on getting your work published, and much much more.

The discussions were vibrant and many truths were told. Most of the writer agreed that being a good and extensive reader was vital to being a good writer.

Sifiso Mzobe said: “True. You cannot be a good writer if you don’t read, and read well.”

While Ndibulele Sotondoshe added: “Through reading you’re able to pick up new words and expand your vocab. It also helps you look at topics from different perspectives and improves your story telling skills.”

And, Manando said: “Reading and Writing cannot exist without each other! It’s a combo!”

There were also lots of tips on how to get published and get one’s work out there, including the benefits (or not) of publishing content online as ebooks.

Published authors Ros Haden and Zimkhitha Mlanzeli

Finally there were some great tips for aspiring writers.

As KayDee Dineo Mashile said: “Also, very important, take constructive criticism from objective people and grow from that. However, don’t internalise critiques. Your writing will not appeal to everyone. Rather invest your energy in learning what appeals to your target audience and write for them.”

And BooksbyTumeloMolelek said: “Wow, this is one of those tough ones. What you say might encourage or discourage. One of my mantras is (If you don’t want to invest in yourself, how can you expect other to?). Read (investing in yourself). Write (investing in yourself). Publish (others or you investing in you)”

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the perfectly distilled cup of tea with us! Stay tuned with us on Twitter… and hopefully you can join us for the next Twitter Tea chat!