Sibongile Gratitude FisherSibongile Fisher’s story is one of those that remind us at Fundza just why we do what we do, and just how rewarding and impactful it is.

Fundza ran a ‘Mentoring Young Writers’ project in Gauteng form 2014 – 2016 where emerging young writers were paired with published authors. Their task was to write two short stories linked in interesting ways. The mentees gained invaluable help with honing their craft from their mentors during this process and the mentors commented on just how important it was for them to be working with young writers who brought a fresh colloquial flavour that put mentors back in touch with writing relevant, accesible and relatable stories.

The project ended with a bang at the launch of the print anthology of the collaborative stories that mentors and mentees had written, It Takes Two (Vol 2) was launched at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesberg. It was a vibrant event with the writing pairs chatting together on the ‘red couch’ about their experience of the project. For the mentees it was the first time they had seen their writing in print. And it was the first step in their writing journey that will continue with boosted confidence in their abilities. Getting published is a huge hurdle to overcome and it’s always on the other side.

One of the mentees didn’t waste any time in working with the skills she had developed over the project to write her next short story. A story that has gone on to win the prestigious Short Story Day Africa award. The story, A Door Ajar will be available online soon and the print anthology  in March (we’ll keep you posted!)

We, at Fundza are immensely proud of Sibongile Fisher’s accomplishment. Nobody can say what the project meant to her better than Sibongile herself:

“I joined the Fundza mentoring young writers’ program after being recommended to do so by my drama teacher in 2014. I had never written a short story for publishing before so I was pretty nervous with what the outcomes would be. The program taught me so much about the importance of process. Ros and Dorothy were amazing mentors who guided me well. My voice was allowed to be, and it made it easy for me to receive their advice. I learned writing techniques that I will take with me to the grave. It is because of ‘A Sea of secrets ‘ which is my first published story under the FunDza’s “It takes two” collaborative writing project that I have not stopped writing since and now two years later my short story ‘A Door Ajar ‘ has won the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize. I couldn’t be more honoured and humbled. And it’s all thanks to the Fundza team and readers who gave me encouraging feedback to never stop.”