Interview With Poet And Author Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula is an author, award winning poet, multiple-award nominated journalist before turning taking his passion for poetry, the arts and story-telling to new heights.

The Limpopo-born, Soweto-raised artist is a BA Communication Science Alumni from UNISA. He is a columnist and currently studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Wits University.

Rabbie co-authored the sought after book, The Black Consciousness Reader. The book was launched in 2017 and has seen immense success and was recently reprinted by OR Books, a New York-based independent publishing house.

He won Best Showcase at the Word N Sound Poetry Award in 2017 in Johannesburg, for the first Volume of Ultimate Form.This multi-talented artist and story-teller was a journalist for six years. On his first year he was a finalist at the 2014 Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards where he was nominated as Young Journalist of the year, for Best Feature Writing and SA Story of there.

The Black Consciousness Reader is for sale at all major bookstores nationwide and will, along with physical copies of the poetry special Ultimate Form Vol.2, be available at the Market. Ultimate Form Vol.2, as a film and the poetry therein is dedicated to the memory of his late father. It is one of the untold stories of strong, single, black fathers.

Rabbie’s father passed away in 2017, a month after the first volume of the project. This film is about the impact of the death on Wrote’s life. His mother passed away when he was six years old. He found his father’s lifeless body on his bedroom floor on the day of his passing.

The film speaks of how his father’s undying love and care made the man Rabbie Wrote is today.

Interview

Africa.com: Please give us a brief explanation about your passion for poetry and storytelling and what does it mean for Africa.

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

For far too long our stories have been told by colonisers. Tales that survived our cultural slaughter have also been fading. Only in the hearts of some of our homes do some of the stories live. Even then, if we do not carry on passing them down, we are only deculturating mother Africa.

Africa.com: You indicate that your focus is on poetry and storytelling, what exactly motivated you to leave journalism to pursue your passion as a poet and author?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

I was telling stories as a journalist for six years. By leaving the profession to pursue poetry, I just wanted to tell the audience these stories in person.

Africa.com: Where do you see yourself headed in the next 10 years?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

I would love nothing more than touring the continent with my work and put out a poetry special of the tour. I would love to collaborate with artists from other parts of the continent. I want to do this beyond 10 years.

Africa.com:We know that you have a journalism background and would like to play a role in nurturing creativity and innovation in Africa.  Can you explain what this means and why is this important for Africa and for you?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. It is time for Poets in Africa to have poetry specials flying into streaming sites from all directions of the continent. This isn’t even innovation anymore, it is inevitable. The new African audience is more tech-savvy, globally connected. This is not to say we can’t do with more books as well. However, the platform for Africans to tell African stories is infinite.

Africa.com:Your story of overcoming various life challenges is a wonderful story to focus on. Can you share some examples that could help and inspire other artists?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

We are born of a squalor. Every story of a black person is a story of challenges. We are unemployed, yet educated. We do not have clean water. We are strutting on borrowed ground in our motherland. The internet has made us forget that we are hungry. Too often we get swallowed by fire in shacks we live in, yet our DNA marking holds the same Melanin, a ubiquitous biological pigment found in interstellar space.

Africa.com:How have you used your talent in poetry and storytelling to change the African Narrative?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

If you remember the #AfricaRising movement in the early 2000’s, you would agree that change in the African narrative is already in motion. It just needs intensification. This brush of famine, poverty and foreign aid we have long been painted with, is drying up.

Africa.com: If there were one thought that you want people to recall about you, what would that be?

Rabbie “Wrote” Serumula:

I am too eager to remind my African brethren and sisterhood that before the white man, was a civilization of us that to this day can never be fully unearthed. A civilization filled to the brim with astronomical, mathematical and every other discovery that have a “cal” suffix. The nap was nice, but it is time to dance with once sleeping giants.

Nelly Gachanja
Nelly is a digital marketing professional responsible for managing Africa.com’s social media platforms. During her leisure time, Nelly loves cooking and working on her Kenyan food blog Talkingtonelly.com. She also enjoys catching up with current affairs, updating her African music collection, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with family.