Tseliso Monaheng is a 28 year old Johannesburg-based writer from Maseru, Lesotho who has extensive industry experience and has been featured in Mahala Magazine, Chimurenga Chronic and Africasacountry. More recently, he was also responsible for curating and editing a series on South African Hip Hop for the latter publication.
We caught up with him to ask him a few questions on his love of writing, videography and photography as well as finding his place in the South African creative culture.
- When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?
Can’t recall. I started out rapping, so I guess sometime in the nineties. The progression was natural. I’ve been writing professionally for 8 years now.
- Who is your favorite author and why?
Don’t have one. Charles Bukowski comes close because his sentences are so simple and he’s so direct. I like Bessie Head because she writes beautiful sentences. I like Thomas Mofolo because he started a literary revolution. I like a couple of other Lesotho-based authors. I like Bloke Modisane. Man, I can go on… but basically, I don’t have one.
- What kinds of things do you write about. Why do you write?
I write about whatever needs writing. I write because I know no other way of being. Actually, I do, but I don’t like that path. Writing’s challenging man, that’s why I dig it.
- How did you end up in photography and shooting videos?
My parents made me the unofficial family photographer without me ever getting told. I was the point-and-click don at home taking family pics like no one would. That was the foundation. I still don’t regard myself a ‘photographer’ though. I just capture people’s souls for fun, that’s all! The videography bit started when my mother bought a camcorder some ten years ago. I’ve been doing lil’ experiments since then.
- You’ve done a lot of work with musicians, and more recently you filmed Msaki and the creative process behind her debut album. How did you end up getting involved?
When not chasing invoices, I chase tall buildings and interesting people. Some of them happen to be musicians. My love with the studio and the general process of making music comes from my involvement with the Lesotho hip hop scene since the late 90s. Msaki and I had a conversation in someone’s car on our way from Limpopo sometime last year in which I told her that I’d dig to follow her around. She was like ‘ja, sure’. I was like ‘yayurrr’!
- What is the best creative project you’ve been a part of?
The one which made it possible for me to smoke tons of marijuana while sharing laughs with good people who have good energy.
- If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?
I’d tell people that there’s more to Lesotho than blankets, mountains, balaclavas, and all that other stereotypical bullshit.
- What do you believe is your life’s calling, have you found it yet?
This right here- this is it.
Find Tseliso Monaheng on Twitter @tselimon
Tseliso is also responsible for the filming of footage involved in Msaki’s Indiegogo campaign. Find his work at http://igg.me/at/msaki
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