Monday, May 7, 2018

Interview with author Judy Witt

Author Judy Witt joins me today to talk about her creative non-fiction book, Shades of Africa - Kwasuka Sukela (A long time ago in a land where black was not white)

Judy Witt was born in Natal South Africa on January 1944. Raised by Zulu women and then Xhosa women when the family moved to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The family later moved to Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia during the years that those countries were fighting for freedom and independence.

Caught up in the violence and terror that evolved and the Congo Revolution spillover, they returned to South Africa the day before Zambia’s independence.

Judy now lives in Sydney Australia with her husband, four married children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Please tell us about your current release.
The story is told mainly through a child’s eyes and as she grows up into a young woman. Life growing up in Africa during the apartheid years and through the violent disruption in the Rhodesia’s as that country struggled for freedom and communism. The terrible impact that the Belgium Congo Revolution had over blacks and whites as it erupted and spilt over the borders into Northern Rhodesia, a country already in revolt with the cry of Kwacha the new dawn of freedom.

The fight for black power and freedom all over Africa, and how this way of life impacted on all families white & black. Domestic violence and abuse of women and children is a normal way of life for many families of all races living under suppression.

What inspired you to write this book?
I needed to share my life growing up in Africa. To tell it the way it was, an uncomfortable truth. To lift the veil.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Place of Crying: Inkaba Yakho Iphi? - Where Is Your Navel?

Three stories told in parallel. The Xhosa and the Khoikhoi tribes, the British Soldiers and the Settlers. And the Burghers and the Boers.

‘Although Khokhoi, her mother, had named her Coti after the wife of Cagn the Supreme God of the San people. Her skin shone like gold, the skin of The San.

He had been watching as she bathed in the lagoon, blinded by her sleek beauty as she stepped out. The fading sunlight on the water drops covered her golden skin like jewels. Coti gasped when she saw him.

He was Tshane, great, great-grandson of a Xhosa chief and named after one of the first Rharhabe Xhosa Kings, or Paramount (Supreme) Chiefs. His mother was from the Xhosa Gcaleka clan. Tshane represented the amaXhosa, the fierce people of Xhosa. He was magnificent as he stood still and tall, a warrior, black as ebony his toned muscles rippled. He was nervous. She was not afraid of him.

She prayed now to the wise and powerful Tsui-Goab the Khoi Supreme God to protect her from Guanab the cunning God of Evil. Her grandmother had warned that this was an evil love, brought about by the trickster God Haitsa-Aibib. Haitsa-Aibib could change his form at will. Was he the Fish Eagle that had thrown the cloud over her?

Lt. Ian Bentley sat his horse on a hill overlooking the coastal foothills of the Amatola Mountains. From his position, he had a good view of the sea and the Xhosa village below him. It was baking hot under the African sun, and he looked forward to the evening cool. He sweated in his thick red tunic, made for cooler climates, and his horse fidgeted from the flies. Taking his eyeglass from his tunic, he focused on the village below.’

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first started to write my memoirs for my children about 5 years ago. I was encouraged to publish the story.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I dedicate a few hours every day to writing as I am retired. Between writing, and my other love of painting I also help with after school care of my youngest grandchild aged 8 years.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up in Africa during racial wars, I was hoping to grow up, happy to survive.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The fight in Africa is on-going sometimes there is no end in sight only death. Women and children are suppressed, killed for their love of life and learning. We must support their fight for civil rights and stop the killing of innocent people of all races. Everyone should be allowed to pray when, with, how, where and to whom they believe.

This book should appeal to anyone interested in knowing how it was living a life of uncertainty in Africa. Constant friction and the history of Africa during those times in the waning days of the British Empire. Hopefully society today will accept that these events did take place and learn from them. Nobody should be able to suppress a nation or an individual. My message is to promote awareness.


Thank you for joining me today, Judy.

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