Tshika Fa Eya Baneng, Tuelo Gabonewe
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Tshika fa Eya Baneng recounts the harrowing story of a young, small family that faces the world all on its own and with catastrophic results. Nana and his two children are left to fend themselves, when her family’s breadwinner dies suddenly at work. Despised and unloved by a community far-flung from everything Nana – somewhat frail and too old for her years – takes one final, drastic and fatal step to protect what remains of her family.
In this bleak drama of life, existence and death, Gabonewe’s characters are only redeemed in the worst possible ways – either through death or by sinking deeper into their poverty.
In this “transcreation”, Gabonewe moved away from English mode of writing and thought. He delves deep into his native tongue – to borrow from its rich heritage of storytelling. In Tshika fa Eya Baneng, he reimagines the same narrative, but using a Setswana devices – of idioms, proverbs, anecdotes, mannerisms that will escape any English writer. Gabonewe’s brilliance shines in the manner he writes Tshika as if it is an original work, not a translation.
Repatriation of Letters is commissioned by Sol Plaatje University in Northern. It is aimed at ‘repatriating’ works from English to Setswana. Tuelo Gabonewe, author of Planet Savage (Jacana), chose his second novel; Sarcophagus (Geko) to repatriate from English to Setswana. The novels that are being repatriated are set in Setswana-speaking communities, they have Batswana characters and they are intrinsically Batswana.
Tuelo Gabonewe is a writer currently living and working in Johannesburg. He was born in Sekhing in Bokone Bophirima in South Africa. His first novel Planet Savage (Jacana) was published in 2011. Gabonewe is a radical and a promising author of our times. He has spent his life immersing himself in societal issues that has bothered him as a young person and inflicted unimaginable pain in our society. He is currently a banker in one of South Africa’s big four banks.
Despite Tshika fa Eya Baneng being a work of fiction, and by no means a biography, it still resonates with the author’s life journey. Gabonewe’s personal story fits the profile of a migrant labourer who fled the challenging social context of rural Bokone Bophirima to settle in Johannesburg – itself a hotbed of vice – ultimately earning three degrees from Wits University and two careers as banker and author.
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