‘The life I almost ruined’

• By Rosalia David

WITH the high number of school dropouts, Rundu-based budding author Angelica Kawana will be releasing her first book titled ‘The life I almost ruined’ that focuses on social behaviour that affects the youth.

In a one-on-one interview with Confidente this week, Kawana explains the book in detail.

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

AK: I was born in the town of Gobabis, in the Omaheke region. When I was in my third grade, my family and I moved to the coastal town of Lüderitz, where I was raised and completed my primary as well as secondary education. I am, however, originally from the Kavango East Region, specifically from a village called Sambyu (Mantjenya) on the outskirts of Rundu. I currently reside in Rundu, where I work as a police officer.

RD: What is the book ‘The life I almost ruined’ all about?

AK: The book narrates a story of a teenager named Kayando, who is faced with a lot of challenges growing up in a settlement where she is expected to be perfect as she is from a religious background.

It explores the culture of the Kavango-speaking people and their way of life as well as embodies all the contributing factors such as peer pressure, teenage pregnancies, wrong crowds, lack of self-discipline and low self-esteem, to mention but a few, that lead to certain choices that young people make that could potentially destroy their lives.

RD: What inspired the title of the book?

AK: I would say the main character herself inspired the title. Once you read the story, you will be able to understand why I chose the title. It covers everything young people who lose focus endure, before the realisation that they are heading towards the wrong path in their lives and must change for the better if they want to succeed. The title basically describes the whole story.

RD: What message are you trying to convey through the book and what changes does it aim to bring to society?

AK:  I have observed, that a lot of young girls, especially in my region of origin, do not take school seriously and are too fast to engage in sexual activities, thus raising the teenage pregnancy rate high. So many drop out of school to go take care of their babies and often never return.

Also, these young people, both boys and girls, involve themselves with wrong groups that lead them into making bad choices that ultimately ruin their future and they end up on the streets with no direction in life.

Therefore, I am hoping, through this book, I would be able to change the mindsets of these young people to go after their dreams and teach them the value of life, the importance of making the right decisions and the benefits of staying focused to what is relevant and in so doing, we will have a society filled with positive and goal-driven youth.

RD: Has writing always been your passion, and when did you realise that you wanted to be an author?

AK: Yes, writing has always been my passion. Growing up, as early as at 11 years old, I used to read a lot of novels. As I got older, I began to create my own characters in my imagination and that was when I realised that I could potentially become a writer too.

In the year 2013, in December, I was at my lowest point in my life and usually I would get myself a bunch of novels to read but one day I just found myself with a story idea and I jotted it down in my journal. I kept working on that idea and found myself narrating a story. I then decided to share it on my Facebook and when I saw that people loved it, I then created a page where I shared a lot of stories…today that page ‘Angie’s Comfort Zone’ has over 5 800 followers.

RD: How long did it take you to complete the book and what were some of your challenges?

AK: It took me about four years to complete the book and of course, just like any project, there were a few challenges.

One of the challenges was finding the right publisher, another was availing adequate time to work on the project as I had so much on my plate then, and then it was the issue of funds as I could not secure sponsorships, regardless of having written to so many agencies and companies…but that did not stop me as I was on a mission and I wanted to showcase my talent to the world and in the same vein be the voice of the voiceless through my stories.

RD: What are some of your expectations once the book is on the shelves?

AK: My only expectation for when the book hits the shelves is for it to speak for itself. I am looking forward to mentoring young girls and to visiting schools to engage with them.

I would be content in seeing how it will win young souls and I hope and pray that the book will motivate them to stand up for themselves and to be the change they want to see in society.