This month Kokoro Press released Cries of the Forgotten by a bright new voice among authors in postapartheid South Africa, Percy Makhuba. Raised on a farm in South Africa, Percy Makhuba works fulltime as a pastor of a ministry. The author has written such a fascinating approach to and vision of achieving a society free of violence, we wanted to know more about him. Please welcome Percy Makhuba who has graciously answered some very personal questions.
Kokoro Press: What inspired you to write a story about ending violence against women?
Percy Makhuba: There was a time in my life where I was being abusive and recognising that I have abused my wife was the first step of accepting my problem. I also congratulate myself for taking other measures for wanting to correct my behavior. I have control over myself and the way I choose to behave is to be a REAL man, husband and good father to my children and that is the whole reason why I wrote about ending violence against women.
Kokoro Press: Do you relate to the protagonist, Tshepo Nonyane? If so, in what ways?
Percy: I relate with Tshepo simply because of the way he loves his wife and that is my definition of loving and he is a spiritual man like I am. He makes me feel better knowing that it’s okay to feel alone, confused and lost. He made me accept the fact that you’re never going to know what you’re future is like and if it’s scary it’s a part of life.
Kokoro Press: Cries of the Forgotten brings in many different aspects of South African society, one of them is the long tradition of sangomas (medicine men/women). Having grown up in South Africa, were you exposed to sangomas and what was that experience like?
Percy: Growing up as a black child in South Africa, I grew up believing in Sangomas, and always thought they are powerful and my mother is a sangoma as well. l have accepted that is what she believes in, but I have found out that their ways of doings things doesn’t go with what I believe in now as a Pastor. I do believe there are prophets and that herbs heal people.
Kokoro Press: Your lifetime spans both sides of apartheid. Do you see an appreciable difference in South African society since apartheid was abolished?
Percy: Not much has changed for most blacks – slow progress, overall improvements at the start but beginning to slide now. There is freedom of movement – live where you like if you can afford to.
Kokoro Press: You are a pastor who heads a ministry. What drew you to that occupation and can you talk a bit about what it’s like? What are the difficulties? What are the rewards?
Percy: A burning desire to serve the Lord full-time. A desire to see lost souls saved. On a regular basis, pastors face the reality of people who have been part of their church deciding to leave. More often than not, these people have received a great deal of ministry and have been given special attention to get them through difficult times. And though it may not be talked about much at our local churches, when people leave your church, it usually hurts. What is rewarding about it is when you see people testify or get healed by your words. When you feel appreciated by your congregation.