My Mzansi Heart sweeps the reader along two equally entertaining narrative strands, one set in the present day, the other in the past, which together form the story of King Adz’s life. The book explores music, culture, food, urban youth culture in South Africa based on King Adz’s life. His writing style is rather gripping, engaging and conversational. Represents chats to him about his latest book.
- Firstly, I’d like to say congrats on such a relevant, easy yet engaging read and it’s also visually appealing, your advertising and creative background comes out in how the book is layed- out, was that a conscious decision to structure the book like this?
Thanks. I had always wanted to write a graphic novel and this was my chance. I had been working on the idea of this book for many years, ever since leaving South Africa to work in New York, and everything fell into place when Jacana published by youth advertising book THE STUFF YOU CAN’T BOTTLE, which lead to a conversation about MY MZANSI HEART.
- I had many “AHA” moments while reading the book because you talk about things i can identify with while you’re telling your own story. Tell us more about My Mzansi heart?
MMH is a piece of my soul distilled onto the page. I have never written anything so personal (it is my 5th book) or so artistic. My previous books were about advertising and street/youth culture but MMH is something else. I wanted to re-define what my work was really about, and this reflects how amazing South Africa is as a country that this book was born out of it.
- How was the writing process?
I write everyday and by now I have the discipline to be able to sit there and work without having to go out and ‘enjoy’ myself, lol. I wrote two books last year as well as travelling and working as a brand consultant across Africa. The two seem to go hand in hand! One was MMH and the other was my next book about how brands have to behave if they want people to like them – so chalk and cheese.
- How long did it take you to finish the writing the whole book?
The concept took a decade. From start to finish. But actually sat at my iMac actually typing and designing it took a year.
- What triggered the idea to write My Mzansi heart?
Reading ‘My Traitors Heart’ by Rian Malan was the beginning of it all. I don’t want to give away too much as you need to read the book, but reading Rian’s amazing book got me started.
- You’ve been living in S.A for so many years, but what else did you learn about South Africa while writing this book?
I learnt that not matter how long I live here I will never get my head around the place – which is a good thing as if you don’t quite get something you always go back to it… I also learnt that no matter how far I stray or how long I stay away I will always love the place and yearn to return to the red red earth to watch the flames from the braai licking at the rapidly descending darkness.
- The tone and style in this book is fun, witty, it felt like you are having a conversation with someone, sort of how you’d have a conversation with a friend. You wrote the way you speak, am i correct?
I have worked on my writing ‘voice’ for many many years. It’s all I have! I want to be able to tell a true story but be accessible at the same time. Someone, back in the day, read my work and then assumed that I was black. This was the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid my work as a lot of my hero are not of the causation persuasion. Now-a-days it is easy to type my name into a search engine and find a picture of me, and discover that I appear to be white.
- What’s the least thing you love about South Africa?
The fear that runs through the streets, especially after dark. It’s a powerful force. Also the corruption that ultimately the poor and downtrodden pay the cost for.
- What do you love about S.A?
How long have you got? My love for South Africa is all wrapped up in MMH…
- What are your favourite hangout spots in Durban, Cape Town and JHB?
My favourite spot right now is Dobsonville Stadium, where I recently spent an evening watching the Swallows get hammerd by the Chiefs. Me and my mate Dan were the only white guys in the place, but we were welcome with open arms – even though we were Swallow fans in the Chiefs part of the stadium. This is a great example of why South Africa is so great.
- What do you want to contribute to the growth and development of South Africa?
There are many factors that have saved the country from descending into an entirely different place. The main factor is the love that people hold in their heart and the forgiveness that Madiba tapped into upon his release. The abundance of international blue-chip companies and the relative stability of the place can’t hurt either.