Today we talk about Broken Diamonds, a book by Smanga Shabangu published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Smanga Shabangu to get to know him better, what was the moment that brought him to the writing of his book Broken Diamonds, as well as which authors of the present and/or the past he takes as a model.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What is the moment that brought you to the writing of your book?
On the 1st of Dec 2020, after having learned I would be again denied spending Christmas and New Year with my then 2-year-old daughter, I was in so much pain emotionally, mentally, and spiritually that I forced myself to find something creative to do in order to escape my pain, lest my mental health suffered. While rummaging through my house for what to do, I happened upon an engagement ring I had been meaning to get rid of after healing from a toxic space. Given that this ring was the last remnant of that toxic space – coupled with that the same space had birthed circumstances that saw my alienation from my daughter – I was even more determined to get rid of its diamonds eternally. It was in that moment that I decided to create a story to get rid of these diamonds in five slides; post one slide a week on social media throughout December just so I could “not see” the absence of my daughter. However, I was in so much pain that five slides became 10, which became 20. The more I wrote, the more I escaped the pain of being alienated from my daughter.
- What are the crucial themes of your book?
One of the crucial themes of my book is Identity. This comes as I first confront the aftermath of my own toxic experience, wherein I come to realize that I had been in a space that had only left me with shards of a self I could no longer recognize. I knew that I first needed to find myself – whatever was left of me – for all I could see before me were broken reflections of my former self. After first confronting my brokenness, I accepted that I needed to take effective steps in re-building myself. It was important to seek help to achieve this, which takes us to the recurring crucial theme of ‘courage and heroism’ that is lived through the characters that make up my Carat Disposal Team. Riddled with mystery, suspense, countless moments of faith and doubt, another prominent theme is that of ‘reflective introspection’, which spans across the rest of the upcoming volumes of Broken Diamonds. Through this theme I take the reader on my own personal journey of healing and finding myself, while dually telling the heroic tales of courage displayed by my Team.
- What is the message you want to communicate to your readers?
Though the book was born out of pain, there was a deliberate intention to also have as much fun while writing and doing my photography, which I did! With this being Volume 1 of my first literary work, I look forward to taking all my readers along as we travel with my Team to finally get rid of these broken diamonds. Parental alienation – in reverse – is more painful, hurtful, stressful, and harmful to the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of the alienated innocent child than it is to the alienated adult father. To every father who continues to suffer parental alienation from their child(ren) regardless of how much they strive to be present in their lives: May you never stop fighting to be the fully present father you have chosen to be. Regardless of having tried everything within the law to be part of your child(ren)’s lives – perhaps often without success – do not give up on your chosen path of hands-on fatherhood. No matter how many times you may lose each battle, choose to keep standing for your paternal rights, and seek to be the present and hands-on father you know yourself to be.
- Which authors of the present and / or the past do you take as a model?
Enid Blyton was one of the authors that played a huge role in bending my mind towards creative literature. I first read Enid’s books in 2nd Grade, and from her first book I wanted more. Enid Blyton, whose books my father would buy me after realising how much I enjoyed them, exposed me to creative writing that always left enough room for my uninhibited childhood imagination to occupy. As High school began, my mother introduced me to African authors. While exploring African novels, my mother began to tell me about Chinua Achebe, Mongo Beti, James Ngugi, Steve Biko, William Konton, John Munonye, and Francis Selormey as authors whose works would bode well for my imaginative mind. True to her word, these authors would come to be the great influence they still are in the writer I am becoming. It was Chinua Achebe, Francis Selormey and Mongo Beti, whose titles such as Things Fall Apart, The Narrow Path, and Mission to Kala respectively educated and sharpened my sense of creative writing, while schooling me in the African art of storytelling. Through their richly-narrated storytelling, Chinua Achebe and Co always mentally brought to life the colourfully-diverse tapestry of African village life.
- Are you working on a new writing project you can tell us about?
I am currently working on an African children’s book that is in my home language of siSwati. This is a book that captures in writing all the traditional African stories I grew up my mother narrating to me before I even began elementary school. Hearing these African stories being told to me every evening – as we had no TV then – would send me into this imaginary world where I would create every scenario as it was being told to me. This became a mental exercise that became habit, a habit that would become the creative career I have today. With my mother’s generation slowly dwindling, I do not want these moral-premised African stories to be lost to the generation after me that never got to hear them, given the digital age we now live in. I am currently preparing to do original recordings of these stories from the few grandmothers alive who luckily still recall them in full. In addition to these written stories, I have also composed over 35 new siSwati idioms and proverbs which I am very excited about, and cannot wait to share with the public upon release of my next siSwati children’s storybook.
Europe Books thanks the author Smanga Shabangu once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Broken Diamonds. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, may this book provide you with courage and motivation to never stop fighting to seek and want to be the father you have chosen to be, present in your child’s life despite the battles that you are called be faced. Often men are forced to fight for fatherhood and women should support fathers even if together they have decided not to be a couple anymore. They have to be there for their child(ren) always!
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!