Sonwabiso Ngcowa is a writer, poet now living in Cape Town. He was born in Alice, Sheshegu, in Mpozisa village. His work has been published with FunDza (online), Cover2Cover and Oxford University Press. Sonwabiso also regularly writes reviews for the literature section of the Cape Times. His book reviews have also appeared in papers like The People’s Daily in Nigeria and Pambazuka Africa News online. His short story, “In Search of Happiness” was printed (2013) and used at Human Rights youth workshops ran by the Holocaust Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
My Definition Of Success | Eating when I am hungry. Being able to clothe myself when I feel cold. Receiving medical care when I am sick. Having people who care for me, because, in success I wish to learn to care for others even more than I do now. Ultimate happiness is success.
My definition of success has changed over the years. Initially I saw success as having loads of money, flashy cars and calling orders. But a type of success where I am the only one dictating direction is not the one I want. In success I want humility, for people to feel free to challenge me.
What Drives Me Is Not About Me | The constant imagination of a different world drives me. What if? What if we re-looked at all that is not natural? Socialization. What if we wiped the slate clean of all socialization, re-imagined a world with no patriarchy, homophobia, xenophobia, racism and all the things we have been socialized to think they were always there? What I have mentioned here is not only for the educated person. It is for all persons from the one human race. All have what it takes to live true Ubuntu.
My Highlights | One of the highlights in my life was in 2011. I resigned from The Standard Bank of South Africa. Many thought it was a bad idea to leave a place of ‘permanent’ employment for things that are not guaranteed out there. An application that was pending at UCT at the time. To write books where I had had nothing published at the time. Yes I was scared. But in 2011 I was ready to make that move, even with all the nervousness.
In my career as a writer, my highlight is to have my first novel, “In Search of Happiness” published, and translated into German.
The Difference Between good And Great | Good people work with what they are given. They make that circle continue. That is the start. Great people think beyond what they are given, what is available. A person great at what they do walks into a day knowing that things don’t have to be the way they are. He is willing to make changes.
My Key Strength Is | The hunger to learn and my strength I believe has been to keep that hunger. I try always to be truthful when assessing what I have done. This means that I can do things better next time.
Characteristics That Led To My Success | When I am alone I have full on conversations with myself. I argue points and try to make sense of things around me. At first I told no one about it because I thought I people would think I am weird. Now I know it helps me and I should never be ashamed of things that help me.
Critical Skills I Have Developed | Communication skills. I keep trying to improve my written and verbal communication. Whether it be replying to emails or speaking to an audience.
How I Use My Mind | When I have thought of something and I know it can be done, I try to arm myself against fear and obstacles. Because I know it CAN be done.
Lessons I Have Learnt | In my life I have learnt that hunger and absolute poverty don’t have to be permanent. I have learnt that there can be no limits to my dreams. I have the sole power to create these in my mind. I must therefore not be scared to knock on doors of those I think can help.
How I Deal With Doubt | Not very well. I am still in the process of learning the best way.
I had the fear of public speaking. I only faced up to it when I realized that I don’t have to be perfect in front of people. If people expected me to be perfect, perhaps a robot would be hired. But, people don’t want to listen to a robot, they want to listen to me with all the emotions of why I am standing in front of them.
Performing At My Peak | If I do something and have the time to go back and listen to myself going through it again to me means I have given that particular project time. So performing at my peak is very much linked to my time management. I love planning, even if I don’t stick fully to that plan because life can be chaotic. I love the pleasure of working with a fresh mind. My mentor Dr. Lutz van Dijk taught me this. “Sleep Sonwabiso, wake up in the morning and look at it again,” he would say.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I love reading. I enjoy reading fearlessly written autobiographies. Music also keeps me inspired. I love stories, poetry, so lyrics matter a lot in my music selection. However, sometimes I listen to artist who I don’t understand the language they are singing in. I think the tone of peace is the same in every language. I pick this up even if I do not understand the lyrics.
My Goal | Is to have a PhD in Social Development studies.
The Meaning Of Life | Abundance and sharing. There are things in abundance in this world. Humanity just needs to learn to share. Some people throw away excess food. Some people go for days without eating.
The Best Advice I’ve Received Is | Do it now and rest later.
Advice On Building Wealth | Go for it. Just remember to smile. Remember to share.
On Inspiring Others | Communication. I try my best to communicate properly and timorously. I have a serious talk with myself if two days pass without me having replied to an email. It does happen sometimes.
Respecting deadlines, no matter how small they are.
I Am Inspired By | Dr. Lutz van Dijk inspires me and he is my role model.
Also, my role models are women who breastfeed on empty stomachs. Though it should not be that there are hungry people, these women fight everyday with their children on their backs. I love their fighting spirit.
The Legacy I Would like To Leave | Is to continue doing work I know is positive for humanity while I live. People must therefore write my Legacy as they see fit.
Useful Links |
Watch below as Sonwabiso Ngcowa shares his message about bullying: It Gets Better