QandA
Jackie Phamotse photo_reduced
Q&A with Jackie Phamotse

Author of BARE: The Blesser’s Game, I Tweet What I Like, BARE: The Cradle of The Hockey Club, and BARE III- Ego.

by Ezekiel Kekana

Jackie Phamotse is a writer, businesswoman, social activist, and a creative mentor. Her debut novel BARE: The Blesser’s Game, was published in 2017 and was awarded the African Icon Literary Award in Lagos, Nigeria in 2018. Her second book titled I Tweet What I Like was inspired by the late struggle icon Steve Biko, I write what I like. She followed that up with BARE: The Cradle of The Hockey Club in June 2019. Jackie’s latest book is called BARE III- Ego. In this exclusive Q&A session with EW Blog Editor, Jackie talks about gender-based violence and receiving death threats over her writing about “society secrets”.

Question:

BARE III- Ego is your latest book, did you ever thought that the BARE series will become this successful?

Answer:

 

To tell you the truth, BARE saved my life. When I was young I thought I was going to be in Advertising because one of my primary school friends wanted to be in the field, I didn’t even know what Advertising was at the time. In high school I played netball and soccer, and my strongest academic work was in geography and English. I started writing when I was around 17, however I never believed I could be a professional writer or storyteller. When I came back to Gauteng, things were a little difficult. My mother was very sick and the abuse at home had increased. So I ran away from home after matric. I stayed in Braamfontein with a friend. My life changed for ever. I meet people that changed my life for the worst. Back then, in 2012, life was different. I saw things that no ordinary girl could see, the person I dated was a wealthy monster. He had it all, he was smart, and deceitful. But little did I know that, that abusive man that I wanted so badly was destroying me. After I left that relationship I continued writing. I left my small modelling career and went back to school. I completed my marketing and sales qualification and started to writing about Treasure’s life. A character that was very close to my heart because she was my alter ego. Her life was just like mine. And so that how the BARE series began. From pain and struggle. I had lost everything and it gave me a sense of pride. I didn’t think for one second it would be this big. I am so grateful that I could birth it.

Question: Take us through the process of writing the first edition of BARE- The Blesser’s Game, what triggered you to write the book which truly created contentious debates in the country?

Answer:

 

I was alone, living in someone’s back room. I didn’t have a clue what was next for my life. My childhood was the main course of my pain, so I started writing about it. Just to understand my own pain. It took two years to map out the manuscript. Bare the blesser’s game was published in 2017

Question:

With the two books, BARE- The Blesser’s Game and, BARE- Hockey Club, what message(s) were you trying to convey to South Africans, especially to young vulnerable girls?

Answer:

 

I wanted to just tell my story, however the undertone changed when I became honest with myself. South Africa has a painful history and we are still yet to witness that repercussions. Our parents have blocked us out from real family issues and in that the effects come out in our own lives. The increase of rape and domestic violence is evident in the men we encounter. I wanted people to know the truth about our generation, to see themselves in me. To also find their own voice and understand the world we live in.

Question:

Your second book, I Tweet What I like. The title is a bold and very directive. What made you to decide on that title?

Answer:

 

I have followed out South African history for years and our struggle hero’s. Steve Biko’s story stood out for me. That’s where the name comes from. We live in an era of social media and influencers. The book, that’s a look at the laws and trends that govern social media. I question the policy’s and the fair use of freedom of speech online. I look at reputation, human trafficking, advertising and dating sites etc. It’s an all-round social media guide.

Question:

 

 

Your writing about “society secrets” seems to have rubbed the other people the wrong way, did you anticipate that they will be people who will not be happy with your work?

Answer:

 

Yes. My books don’t shy away from the truth. There is no book series or book that’s like BARE-The Blesser’s Game and BARE- The Cradle of the Hockey Club in the market. I received a lot of death threats and I have countless starters. It’s part of the game. Many people have tried to silence me for years. Others even went as far as taking me to court to make sure that I never publish in SA again. I believe I am doing the right thing, exposing the truth and creating awareness. Many people are scared to come out and report crimes because of these kind of things. So what can I do? I have to write, to ease the burden of being the forgotten generation. No one cares about women in this country. Every day men kill women and child in all kinds of communities. Rich or poor. No woman is immune. We all have to do our part in helping those who have lost their way. It is hard writing about these topics because there are a lot of powerful people that don’t want anyone knowing about their bad dealings. The sex cults and the boys clubs. But history has to be told as we live it. We can’t just sit and watch, someone has to stand up and fight. And in this case it’s me. I have made peace with that.

Question:

Do you think that writers should have the autonomy to write whatever they like without fearing being sued?

Answer:

 

Yes. It’s our constitutional right. Our writing forms part of public education and our countries legacy.

Question:

If you were to invite three celebrities to your book launch, who will it be and why them?

Answer:

 

I would most certainly have my mentor, Mama Daphne Mashile Nkosi. She is the CEO of Kalagadi Manganese. She is bold, well-educated and is a leader in her own industry. The first woman in this continent to own and run a mine. Another person would be Michelle Obama. Her activism speaks for itself.

Question:

What or who inspired you to start writing?

Answer:

 

No one really. Writing is personal for me. It’s my own outlet.

Question: As mentioned above that BARE III is your latest book, just give us a sneak peek of what is it about without giving much?

Answer:

 

People don’t know the real names of the people in the secret society, so I shared some…

Question:

Which book are you currently reading?

Answer:

 

I am currently studying with UNISA and my focus is around the criminal justice policies. So, the only books I am reading are from my criminology books

Question:

What role do you think the government should play in promoting a reading culture in SA?

Answer:

 

The government must create a budget and polices that protect literacy. No one in this country can become anything without books. Writers should be acknowledged and most importantly our books should be included in educational studies. When people learn about their own people, they find it easy to relate to educational material. We continue to learn about people that oppressed us, how is that still relevant in a democracy?

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More