I compiled and published my first collection in 2011, when I moved to Johannesburg. It was a very innocent and ambitious publication; at least that’s how I see it now. Since then, I have only contributed to other anthologies and performed very little between 2011 and 2014. Life had really taken a different turn when I moved to Joburg (more towards the worst than best). I found myself living someone else’s dream, confined and isolated from the world – all in the name of love. I was writing, but only barely.
I was in a very emotionally and mentally abusive relationship for five years and once I came to my senses and broke free from it, I knew I had to tell my story so that more women could learn from the experience. After that break up in 2013, I was penniless, living on a friend’s couch and deeply depressed. My two closest friends kept me alive until I was sane enough to get back on my feet. I found myself in the corporate world and stable again, writing, performing and slowly making connections in the industry again. Slowly but surely I was coming into my own and kept pushing forward.
When I started compiling this new book and writing new stories and poems in retrospect, the experiences taught me so much about myself and how much I’ve overcome. It was also a great form of therapy and release from the past. The content is very candid, honest, and exposes so much truth about inner struggles as well as how living in the big city affects you mentally, physically and spiritually.
I’m hoping that this book will reveal all sides to life in Johannesburg: the smoke and mirrors as well as the bare naked truth. There are happy experiences, beautiful changes, disturbing accounts of poverty and violence, struggle and victory. I also share about my experience of becoming a mother and how that has impacted the way I view life and gender identity now.
Some have called Gau-Trained my memoir but I don’t really think so. As much as it’s very personal, all the poems and stories are relevant to any person, from Joburg or elsewhere. It gives readers a different perspective on things they otherwise would ignore or sweep under the rug or are even afraid to be vocal about – especially women. With this collection of poems and stories I’d really like to change how people view book launches and literature events in general. The tour will officially take place in 2018, nationwide at first and thereafter across borders. The project will take the form of a stage production incorporating music, dance, theatre and visual arts. I’ve been hosting fundraising events giving readers a sneak-peek to the content. This is specifically because it’s important to build a following before any product is released. The public has shown great support and interest thus far.
Gau-Trained depicts exactly how Gauteng has trained me over the past six years and I sincerely hope it touches and changes many lives.