Name: Mazakazi Somhlahlo
Country Representing: South Africa
What inspired you to enter the Ultimate Storyteller Contest?
I love writing and as an upcoming writer I believe entering a storytelling contest will open closed doors for me. I may not win this contest but I do believe that I will be recognized somewhere. Seeing people telling their stories on the Hadithi Ya Africa social media platform and how they where not ashamed to tell their stories. I knew from that moment I wanted to voice out my experience and how it all started. I even thought of writing a book about it but what better way to start telling my story through a storytelling platform.
When I thought my world was ending because I always felt like a failure my entire life because I was never math literate and I never passed my matric with good marks like my brother and twin. I knew I was a disappointment to the family, having a calling made me feel amazing and for the first time I felt like a blessing. At that time I knew that it was actually the beginning of many blessings and I want to share the feeling that took place when I saw my mother smile because I did good. Girl child/black child when you are chosen amongst great people do not underestimate yourself because you can, and you will always be different from others whether it may be your twin or your sibling, my ancestors chose me amongst amazing intelligent beings and that’s something,don’t look down on yourself always believe that you can and when you believe do not let that opportunity go. Grab it with your hands and own it, it’s yours and do not let judgement overcloud you. So this is me letting you know that it’s ok to be different.
What does storytelling mean to you?
Storytelling is what makes you different. It is when someone relates to something similar to your own experience making listeners feel accepted and loved. Storytelling is a way of welcoming rejected pupils by their friends and family. It is the only moment you feel free to become you and be proud of who you are. It allows you to be free and speak your mind and educates those who think they are worthless. Storytelling brings hope to the hopeless.
Storytelling also means sharing your own story on how you came about your challenges of life and how you made the impossible possible, you get to share that when you set your mind on something, it’s possible to make it reality. It is about telling your story the best way you can. Above all storytelling is not just entertainment, it is the most powerful influence to teach and inspire people. The stories can create an emotional connection and give one a chance to gain a deeper understanding of other people’s experiences.
Why did you choose the story you told in your first submission?
Losing my father was the saddest thing in my life. It felt like someone took a sweet out of a child’s hand. It was quite shocking how I knew about my father’s death before it was confirmed. The way he died makes me believe that I need to voice out my pain. No matter how hard I cry I will always be in pain. My psychologist always says writing is a form of healing and now this platform gave me a chance to heal, and the things that kept on happening down the line were interesting, I mean no one could wake up and know what was about to happen except for me.
I wasn’t shown visions only about my family but also about some pupils at school. It was quite interesting more than being scary. Seeing someone else’s problems knowing that you can help them heal or help them get rid of it is amazing. The only difference then was that I was only a child and I didn’t know how to help. I wanted to tell my two sided story on how my calling brought tears to my life and also how it brought happiness into my life.
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