Interview With Howard Zondo, Young Author Of Young Black And Powerful.
First, tell us about yourself, where you live and what you do for a living
My name is Howard Zondo, I’m 17 years old and a student from J Kekana Secondary School, a motivational speaker and I run projects as well for students at school. I live in SNS, Mabeshane.
When did you start the process of writing a book?
I started writing when I was 15 and most of my writing came from writing a lot of speeches at school. So I combined all my writings into one piece. Some of the things were things that I wanted to express as a young person or can’t talk to my mum about. I felt like there is a need to address all these issues in a form of writing because if I don’t they will never be solved. So basically it was me putting my feelings, opinion and views down on paper.
When was your book published and How many books have you read before you published your own?
My book was published this year around April. I read a lot of books before, one that has transformed me it was one written by Fred Bohasu (Make A Way Out Of No Way), I bought it when I was 15, it was one of his book I ever read. Most of the other books I read were from e-books (electronic books). I read many from before and after I wrote mine. I could call myself a book worm.
How would you describe your book to the audiences? What’s the message you trying to get out there?
This book is literally meant for everyone who is motivated by a fear of being average, like people who have A fear of being employees but want to become employers. Everyone who wants to achieve beyond that. As for young people, I believe we might be young today but we are parents of tomorrow. They should start reading and make good foundations for the future.
What were the challenges you came across as an author while writing a book and before you actually published it?
The main challenge I experienced was that I had a low self-esteem because I felt that maybe because of the colour of my skin has to do with what I want to do in life, looking in the lights of songs and music video’s that promote light skin people “ma yellow bone” and when you dark you will think that you won’t achieve anything. Since many are from a poor background when you light skin they think you will achieve what you want, you’re the most beautiful person so I have no problem with it but my problem is when you’re dark skin and want to change your colour because you are trying to fit in that society. I’ve seen many of my friends doing that. This was my first challenge. I sometimes feel like I would be best if I was yellow bone or white and that’s not even necessary. Hence my book says it all that I’m young black and powerful. I remember Martin Luther King’s words saying that is not about the colour of your skin but the content of your character. Those words motivated me.
What are your dreams or goals that you want to achieve/ accomplish and how are you going to accomplish/achieve them?
By the age of 25, I want to have my own law firm which is going to be my profession because I want to study law and on the other side, I want to write over 10 books at that age and also want to be a motivational speaker throughout. My dream is to become an advocate of black consciousness, to all those who have lost their image and thinking that their skin colour hinders them from succeeding. I want to bring those who have lost themselves along the journey, motivate them and bring them back. I’m going to achieve my dreams and goals by going to the university, especially law, being an author and motivational speaker I’ll have to read more books, write more of the stories that inspire and every message I want to get out there.
Who is your role model/inspiration or mentor, someone who actually helped you to get where you are today?
I’d like to define what a mentor is because for me I believe a mentor is not someone who takes you for zero to hundred but someone who takes you from 50 to hundred so that person has to be Thulane Mphahlele (motivational speaker and currently a teacher at JK high school), I met him while I was in grade 9, he got me to public speaking. He is really a mentor, father figure to me and helped me a lot and I got this far. He always told me that he’s going to guide me and not hold my hand and get me to do what I want to do, I had to work. I have learned a lot from him and have borrowed many books from him as well.
What would you like to say to everyone out there, how should they stay inspired striving to become successful?
My message would be, but firstly I believe that we are all born and created to create, designed to deliver and I believe that one day what ever dreams they have they are going to achieve them and they should bear in mind that they will be people who doubt them, laugh at them and people who will say they will never make it. All this comes down to how individual responses to what other people say about them because for every test that people face in their lives they need to be aware that it is actually preparing them for the price they going to get at the end of the day. They should never give-up in life no matter how hard it is. They have to achieve. There are a lot of people out there who have not yet achieved their dreams because of doubt or fear of failure. The honest truth is that in the journey there is pain, disappointment, heartbreaking, stress but in the end, they will succeed. They should go out there work hard and only God knows when the time is right.
In addition I’d like to say that age has nothing to do with your goals or dreams you want to achieve because your maturity doesn’t necessarily define achievements at school or the position at work, so if someone has to tell you that you can’t start something because of your age, for me if I want to achieve something I will go for it because age is just a number and doesn’t necessarily have to be a reason for not being an achiever.
By: Fortunate Machaba