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Ntema unravels Soul Seeds

‘Unknowingly, unknown voices have emotions too, and such emotions have unknown devotions too, where unknown elites have unknown intentions too’ reads an extract from a poem titled Emotions of Unknown Voices from SOUL SEEDS: Reality and Mental inspiration poetry anthology by Onalethata Ntema.

The extraction is one of the few that depicts Ntema as no pushover in poetry.  He has all it takes to be counted among the best in the country.

In an interview with the 29-year-old Ntema known as ‘Mambo de Poet’ in arts circles recently, said his writing is a passion influenced by his background, life situations and his close family members.

“I am inspired by life situations and reality circumstances, my daughter Deczybelle’s inspiration has immensely crafted the art in me over the years and my cultured mother Ndaruka Ntema is the yardstick to the art I am,” he said.

Ntema comes from a family of seven and is a descendant of the Wayeyi people of Matsaudi village near Maun. He is a man of many hats as he is a sociologist by profession, an applied researcher, a creative artist and self-employed.

Soul seeds, which is his first book, was published in the United Kingdom through XLIBRIS Publishing LLC (c/o Author Solutions – a Penguin Random House Company) on 17 February 2014.

He says Soul Seeds: Reality and Mental Inspiration poetry as the title denotes explores elemental functions of thought, reasoning and relative reality. “The book portrays an analysis of life and its other forms of creation and how each of the seeds sustains or defeats the soul and the need for personal discipline and appreciation.”

Ntema applied imagery in his poems to put thoughts in a basket of various emotions to paint thoughts and issues.  “It is a reflection of situations and circumstances, scattered thoughts are thrown into an imagery of life and reality through a natural psycho-philosophical approach,” he said.

He said his poetry presented an inspirational material written to suit all ages and kinds of people in pursuit of emotional strength, natural intellectual reasoning and expression.

The book, he said, also sought to promote and deliberate on African social thought, history, nature and wildlife, culture, love, pain, and tolerance amongst others.

Ntema says he has a complete sentiment to what he writes however, he likes reading “My Goal, My Future” poem which he says is an inspiring lyrical poetry piece that seeks to elevate people of diverse and unique identities and capabilities.

“I recited it in 2013 during a Block Training for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and at a UNICEF/DMSAC Fun Youth forum in 2014 in Kasane.”

He believes every individual is unique and acquires the art of life to lead a goal for the future, as capable intellectual beings beyond the eyes of creation and beyond intellectual disability.

Consequently, he said Soul Seeds which has been in the market for about nine months was marketed and distributed by XLIBRIS International and was available in more than 15 000 online book retail stores worldwide including Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Noble, Loot and Kalahari. 

The book has received warm reception from the reader community, especially the international readers and tourists but experienced very slow reception among the locals except for the Safari curio and gift shops, he added.

Ntema pointed that the low sales in Botswana needed an intensive product marketing strategy thus, he has partnered with different sales agencies and individuals to distribute the book around the country.

“We are working on various activities such as wallpapers, posters, postcards with extracts from pieces of poetry in the book product,” he said.

He noted that although creative writing was developing in Botswana with an increase in writers locally and internationally it was at a slow pace.

He attributed the low growth to the small population as well as the low reading culture which limited artistic growth and revenue generation through creative arts.

Ntema pointed that traditional writers continued to develop due to government support through bulk-buying of their book products while it was hard for self-published writers like him who have published internationally at their own expenses for their products to break through the local markets although he said they made attempts to lure government support.

“There is need for art to be recognised as a sustainable livelihood means and to cultivate and sow seeds at a tender age, and encourage collaborative networks and cultural art events between and among creative arts custodians and stakeholders.”


On another note, he appreciated being part of the annual Maun International Arts Festival IV of 2014 which gave aspiring and established artists chance to build networks which he says was a great experience since the event attracted participants from the United States of America, Malaysia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada and Botswana.

Soul Seeds, he said was also available on www.soulseedsntema.com. ENDS

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