Carla Lever: It’s hard to break into South Africa’s very small publishing industry. You’ve proven that going it alone can be a great solution, by self-publishing your own very successful book of poetry. Can you tell us a little about what that involves?
Vangile Gantsho: My debut poetry collection, Undressing in front of the window (2015), taught me that no one will willingly open doors for you. You have to knock, or break the doors down yourself. And in order to do that, you must always be willing to learn. Self-publishing requires more than just raising funds. You still need a good team. And it’s not an easy process. It’s difficult, expensive work…but fortunately also deeply rewarding!
“I stayed under water for sixty days before I met my mother
in a burning hut on the mountain
She could enter only to fetch me and put me down
Was allowed only to feed me
then return me to the fire”
(red cotton by vangile gantsho)
Sketch of vangile gantsho by Judy Seidman done at a Feminist Women’s Art Network reading and writing event
organised by the @1in9_Campaign, a South African collective of orgs and individuals motivated by feminist principles & the desire to live in a society where womxn are agents of their own lives.
The Mail & Guardian’s Lethabo Mailula, an LLM candidate and gender activist working at University of Pretoria, wrote a review on danai mupotsa’s feeling & ugly and vangile gantsho’s red cotton ~ African, feminist, poetry collections.
The Mail & Guardian’s Zaza Hlalethwa reviewed
our first two published books,
feeling & ugly by danai mupotsa and red cotton by vangile gantsho.
Photo by Boipelo Khunou. Click here to read the review on the Mail & Guardian website.