'There was a ghostly ambience inside the house.' An interview with Thabo Katlholo #WriterPrompt winner.

I'd always known he loved her more and I'd grown to accept things as they were. I was not surprised when he died a week ago and left her everything; the bankbook, the twelve cattle and the Mazda skorokoro - but to be frank, his death is my rebirth. Good grounds for my pilgrimage back home.

A lot has changed in the past fourteen years but I remember this gravel road; the donkey cart that brought me here from Namibia when I was fifteen. I remember many more things about my 'taking' more than all else.

My first night in Ncojane, the dimly-lit, almost non-existent village in western Botswana. I was afraid - not of the man I'd been married to or his menacing first wife who was rumoured to have eaten the eyes of the second wife I'd replaced. I was afraid of the dead whose house I'd been installed into.

There was a ghostly ambience inside the house. I felt the dead woman lurking on the walls. Her gouged-out eyes staring at me from the dark thatch; her breath soft on my earlobe telling me to run.

Thabo Katlholo kicked off the #WriterPrompt sessions for 2016 winning with his ominous story of marriage. His debut novel The Mud Hut I Grew Upon was published in 2014.


Which African writers (or books) inspired you to write? 

KATLHOLO: Wole Soyinka. I have been a big fan of Soyinka’s plays since I was a boy and The Lion and the Jewel is my all-time favourite. I still own a copy of the book and often I go back to it for tips on creating dialogue between my characters.

What is the best writing tip you've been given?

KATLHOLO: Thick skin is compulsory in the writing business. Learn to take bad reviews and accept good reviews without getting big-headed.

What have you been reading lately?

KATLHOLO: I am reading two books simultaneously. At the office, Dr. Unity Dow’s Juggling Truth and at home, Terry Hayes’s I’m A Pilgrim.

Thabo Katlholo is a poet and novelist currently residing in Botswana's capital city, Gaborone. He holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Botswana and Certification in Project Management from the University Of Stellenbosch Business School. When he is not writing, Thabo is in Public Health and uses most of his time to advocate for tobacco control policies in Botswana. He blogs at www.thabokatlholo.com

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Interview by Tiah Beautement a.k.a @ms_tiahmarie