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13 March 2018 Photo Edwin Mthimkhulu
Solomon Mahlangu inspires UFS alumnus first Sesotho book
Ace Moloi questions and delves into the concept of freedomin Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho

Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho is the title of Ace Moloi’s anthology of short stories and the name of one of the 14 stories in the book. The anthology is the first book in Sesotho published by the three-time author.

On Friday, 16 March 2018, Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho, an Art Fusion Literature product, will make its debut public appearance during a public reading at the University of the Free State’s Equitas Auditorium at 17:30.

Moloi’s first literary offering was In Her Fall Rose A Nation which was published in 2013 during his final-year as a Communication Science student at the university. In 2016, Moloi published Holding My Breath, which was praised widely for stirring emotions in readers who related to the heart-wrenching narrative of losing a mother. It was only this year that the author managed to achieve his teenage goal of establishing himself as a vernacular author.

Solomon Mahlangu, an African National Congress freedom fighter and Umkhonto we Sizwe militant who was convicted of murder and hanged in 1979, was the inspiration behind the anthology. Mahlangu inspired the Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho story, which is the story of the selflessness of a captured guerrilla hero in the face of police torture and his eventual death by hanging. It represents Mahlangu and those who suffered during the struggle for liberation. 

“My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom,” are the supposed last words uttered by Mahlangu that inspired the book’s title. Tholwana Tsa Tokoloho means “the fruits of freedom” in Sesotho. For Moloi, writing in the vernacular symbolises the fruits of freedom. “I’m trying to write in a revolutionary spirit, in Sesotho, because we haven’t done that. We have not seriously interrogated political concepts in Sesotho or in any native language,” he said.

Graduate unemployment, violent crime, and sports are some of the other topics tackled in the book. These act as a catalyst for debates over the evidence of ‘the fruits of freedom’ in post-1994 South Africa. 

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English, Afrikaans, Sotho, and Zulu part of first Literature Festival
2016-08-11

Description: Literature Festival  Tags: Literature Festival

The first Literature Festival was a huge success, attracting
young and old during this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival held
at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Leopold Frechow

It may have been the inaugural year of the Vrystaat Literature Festival, but, with the success of this year’s event, there are bound to be many more.

Main purpose of the festival

Acting Director of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), Cornelia Faasen says: “The main purpose of the festival is to celebrate the South African literary scene as a multi-lingual, multi-cultural landscape, and to bring prominent writers to the UFS in order to open dialogues and discussions with them.”

Because of the students’ role in the arts and culture in general, the Department of Student Affairs wanted them to be involved in the festival too.

Contribution from African writers

Both local and international guests were involved. This year’s theme, “Our Africa”, attracted many African writers too.

Some of these writers include Chika Unigwe, originally from Nigeria, who rose to fame in Belgium, and the Iranian author, Kader Abdolah, a political refugee who escaped from Iran to the Netherlands in the 1980s. Wilfried N’Sondé, originally from the Republic of the Congo, and now living in France, was also a festival guest.

Festival offers something for everyone

Several authors celebrated literature in English. In addition to this, Afrikaans books and writers were featured alongside other indigenous languages, such as Sotho and Zulu.

Faasen says that she hopes that this festival will be the first of many. “We are hoping that this event will find its own legs with more students and academic staff from the UFS involved.”

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