In March we introduced a new weekly social media post to celebrate a different Fanz writer each week. The Writer of the Week post has the hashtag #WoW. The regular post was initiated by the editing team as a way to acknowledge and celebrate Fanz writers who have shown consistency, growth, improvement and interaction with their Fanz reader base on the fundza.mobi site.
This #WoW feature will be running for three months and we look forward to celebrating the development and performance of our Fanz writers.
One of the writers selected for acknowledgement was 24-year-old Phakamani Chamane from KwaZulu-Natal, who blew us away with his captivating writing.
Phakamani was born and resides in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently a student at the University of South Africa, studying towards a BA in Creative Writing. He is passionate about the written word, community development – especially youth development. He has also participated in numerous endeavours with a local NPO.
We asked Phakamani, why he loves to write. He says: “I love writing because I love language. I see the world as constructed of language. Words have power, and in a way, I see words as metaphors. And on a personal level, I love writing because it’s an expression of my interpretation of the environment. I get to learn more about different cultures, people and their perspectives, but at the same time show our similarities – humanity. For me, writing holds a mirror to society. It is a way to communicate across cultures, time and space. For example, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Achebe, Orwell and many other great authors from different ages still are relevant and communicate to society in this era – and the next, and so on. Also, I get to express a side of myself that I just never knew. I see myself as a mad scientist who experiments with words and concepts, to try and bring new light to old platitudes. For me, writing is fun and I love it. This is the information age, and writing gives my mind and feelings, a voice. I believe, a person who can read and write and does not, is the same as one who cannot. So, I like to use what I have before I lose it.”
>We asked how it felt to be published on FunDza and he said “It feels great. FunDza is a major publication that is growing. And their object to develop literacy and bring back the fun in writing is aligned with my goals. Being published on FunDza is humbling and fills me with joy. I feel proud to know that my work is published where many people can see it and comment. It feels good.”
When profiling Phakamani, the editing team showcased his play, Freeway to Azania, as a special feature on the fundza.mobi site.
Editor Leila Hall gave Phakamani this feedback about his brilliant play: “This is a powerful, compelling short play. Excellent work! In a short scene in a single room with only two characters you have created a captivating drama that tells the story of a family, a nation at war and – in many ways – an entire continent. Your characterisation is excellent – the characters of the two brothers are well developed and convincing. Well done!”
Intro to the play
As the village of Iboki becomes the centre of the battle for power between rebels and government agents, the people are seeking for refuge and an escape. Okonkwo is orphaned and has always wanted to leave the village, but his younger brother has other hidden plans. The play takes place in a one-room shack, made of corroding metal sheets. Inside there are two single beds, a paraffin stove, a small radio and a torn mat to cover the floor. There is no electricity and a bunch of clothes lie on top of a water bucket. Okonkwo’s bed is near the door and there are no windows in this burrow.
Do yourself a favour and read it now! You can also take a look at his online profile here.