We had the good fortune of connecting with Lethabo Mathatho and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lethabo, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Yes I have habits that contributed to who I am, but it is only now that I realize that I have adopted habits that helped me succeed. I started by reading articles about anything that is happening in the world, which lead to watching documentaries about global issues. This became a norm that every morning on my way to school I’d read an article and in the evening before I sleep. Reading articles paved a way of me reading books. I started listening more when I’m around my friends and did less talking. I started asking more questions about anything I did not understand. Those are some of habits that helped me succeed.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I Am Lethabo Mathatho, I’m 19 years old and I just finished high school. I am an author above that I am story teller. I write mostly about problems that we encounter in society. Issues surrounding gender, race and sexuality. In simple terms I may say that I am an activist for equality.

What sets me apart from the others is that, I am unable to keep quiet on injustices. Somehow I become compelled to speak up for those who are unable to speak up for themselves, because not only am I speaking or writing for myself, but for my generation and generations to come.

I am mostly excited about my short story titled ‘The thick roots’ which was featured in the ‘Social Justice Stories :No Longer Silent on GBV’ anthology in collaboration with South African Schools Debating, which was published in the year 2021.

I am where I am today because of my family and debate coach . Without their help and support, I wouldn’t be here today. With coach pushing me out of my comfort zone during debate practices, by asking questions that I’ve been avoiding, either about gender dynamics or race. He allowed me to seek answers on my own, the only thing he did was ask and that let me do the research myself.

It was never easy from the beginning, because when I began writing at a very tender age, I wrote about what I experienced at school, especially about the bullying I encountered. This lead to writing more, about my daily experiences, so it was not easy because in most cases I was pouring out my emotions. I was venting to myself , till I discovered that my work had some power.

I’ve learnt that people will listen to you, but only a few will be interested in what you saying. Only a few will engage with, but the best lesson was to always be unapologetic about who I am and who I am becoming.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m not someone who goes out but the first place/event I’d recommend in my town(Polokwane) is a debate tournament, if there is one that weekend. I’m most happy and over the moon when I’m at a tournament, whether I’m participating or not it doesn’t matter. A place to eat? The Container Bar is the best place. We usually have charity sporting events in town such as marathons and aerobics which I like to attend . We might attend a quarterly social market event that takes place at Savanah Mall. To wrap up the trip, we’ll visit our local water-park, where we’ll cool off.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Alot of people deserve my shoutout because they have shaped who I am today. But there five people that I will forever give gold medals to, because without them I wouldn’t be here today. My mother(Mokgadi Mathatho) this women has been there for me always, in any activity that I do. She celebrated my small wins with me and encouraged me. My debate coach(Kyle Lyle), he is not only my coach but a mentor, he always pushed me to limits that I never thought I’d reach. He believes in me even though I don’t believe in myself. My brothers who supported me financially in my extra murial activities, be it money for data or transport. With them around I knew I’m always sorted. Lastly Tshepo Magagane, a friend who always supplied me with books. She became my personal librarian. Without this people I wouldn’t be who I am today and they will always be the foundation of who I am and who I am becoming.

Twitter: @thabo_thaboo

Facebook: Lethabo Mathatho

Image Credits
The credits goes to Emkay Malwandla

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