Teacher turned author on second book

• By Rosalia David

AUTHOR and teacher Kalina Martin has released her second book titled Ino Tila after launching her first novel Andola Tuu a couple years ago.

In a one-on-one interview with Confidente’s Rosalia David (RD), Martin (KM) divulges what inspires her writing journey while giving a glimpse of the content included in her latest book.

RD: Kindly provide a brief background on who you are and where you are from?

KM: I am an author and a language teacher at Shaanika Nashilongo Secondary School in Okahao, Omusati region. I was raised in different environments and this made me grow into an observant person. I observe everything happening around me and I am always triggered to give my views through writing of course because I don’t really do much talking unless given that opportunity. 

RD: When was your first book published and was writing always something that you wanted to do?

KM: My first book Andola Tuu was published in 2019. Writing has been my thing which I remember doing from a very young age. Of course I never tried writing a whole book at a young age but I remember expressing my thoughts in small notebooks.

I started this with drawing pictures that presented the ideas I couldn’t express in words and when I knew how to write clearly I always carried a diary, not to record the daily activities but to write in my views on certain issues. It came clearly at a later stage that I could actually write a whole book to be read, inspired also by the books I used to read written by different authors.

RD: How was that book received?

KM: Andola Tuu was truly appreciated especially by the youth. I received so many reviews on it and a lot of them really showed that its content is making sense to a lot of people.  They learnt from it the things that I didn’t even learn myself when I was writing it.

RD: How would you describe the journey so far?

KM:  I would say the writing journey has been an exciting one. However, this doesn’t make it perfect because it comes with challenges. When the ideas come in, you are expected to find a very quiet place just to note them down while they are fresh, if you let them go you might not get them the same anymore. 

RD: When was Ino Tila launched and what inspired the title?

KM: Ino Tila was published in March 2022. It is an anthology of poems and among the poems is the main poem titled Ino Tila that also became the title of the book.

What inspired me to have this poem the master of all and having it as a title is the concept I have been feeding myself with ‘The power of the mindset’. Ino Tila simply means fear not.

I have been observing people with so much potential but they just don’t unleash it because there is always fear of the unknown stopping them.

So that title is trying to tell the readers that yes we are living in a wicked world but that should not stop us from pursuing our dreams. 

RD: How has Ino Tila been received so far?

KM: I am glad that people are coming through and I will be more glad to have reviews from them because one thing I know about people in my home country is that they will support you on the books but some end up not reading them. I am looking forward to the day when the majority of Namibians will develop a reading culture like in other countries.

RD: How many pages does it consist of and how long did it take you to write the book?

KM: Ino Tila has 48 pages. The period of writing is indefinite. For Ino Tila these are the poems I have been writing from time to time at different occasions and when I realised they are enough for a book I then had to come up with an idea of the leading poem that will also be my book’s title.  So I don’t really have a definite period of time that I can remember when I was writing.

RD: Now that your second book is out, what is next?

KM: I truly cannot tell what’s next, but I live by what comes in my mind at a time. I may say I will continue writing but that is not definite because writing for me doesn’t just come as my personal choice, it comes with a great source of creation that is responsible for having me waking up with an idea of writing.

RD: When you are not writing what do you do in your free time?

KM: I do public speaking. I edit fiction books and also translating them from English into Oshiwambo and vice versa.  I am also a teacher by profession, so I spend most of working days at school with the Namibian child.