“Being a writer was always one of my dreams,” she said. “From a young age already, I started writing children’s stories - the kind of stories I would have liked to read as a child. I wanted to tell the stories that others were afraid to tell. I wanted to create humour and entertainment with my words.”
2020, Need I Say More, is a Cape Flats story exploring a most challenging year in the life of students at the University of Furthering Development, along with their family, friends and more. Packed with humour, a touch of love and even some drama, the book tackles everything from criminal conspiracies to online lectures, and answers the question: What do we do when the world goes mad and nothing makes sense anymore?
“My main motivation for wanting to be an author is to write the stories that will put a smile on a reader’s face, and let them know that hope is something that we should all have,” Thaakierah notes. “2020 was probably the most challenging year ever and here we are, still fighting, still living and still hoping.”
Thaakierah didn’t spend the whole of lockdown just scribbling away - she finished her undergrad and is now completing her Honours in Linguistics. At the same time, she tutored and coached younger athletes - while also training herself. She has also just started working as a copywriter.
Despite all this she found time to write.
“I write as if it is a job. I slot it into my timetable as part of one of the things I need to do for the day - and then I do my best to just do it.
“I couldn’t have written this book without my parents, who raised me into the person I am today, pushing me beyond my comfort zone all the time. And my younger siblings, with their continuous support and always being ready to give character names. And my eldest sister, Gakeema (pictured, left of Thaakierah), who is my motivation, my inspiration and my best friend. She helped me plan the story from start to finish and she was the one who I would brainstorm with at weird hours of the night or morning.”
One Dream Down: Many More To GoBorn and raised in Cape Town, one of five sisters, Thaakierah always had a love of language - especially text. When she made her way to university, that love blossomed.
“When I came to UWC in first year, I wanted to do journalism so I was given all those subjects that would allow me to take that career path, and one of those modules was linguistics - and honestly, it was love at first sight.”
Learning more about linguistics only helped spark more writing ideas.
“The hardest part about writing is switching off the story in your head, although that is also the best and most interesting part. The story in your head does not stop, it flows and creates other stories. And then you have to put some of the words in your head down, and soon you find yourself holding a dream in your hands,” she said.
Now she is ready to begin tackling even more dreams - such as becoming an Olympic champion in weightlifting or crossfit.
“I would also like to open my own unconventional school - a school that stimulates all children with different interests. We cannot expect a fish to climb a tree so why not try a new schooling system that opens the minds and keeps learners stimulated in the fields that they flourish in.”
And of course, she has some more writing to do. She is already working on the sequel to 2020 (due out in early March 2022), and she has many more stories to tell.
“What I love most about writing is the way in which written text can create a world of images in the writer’s head as well as the reader - and those images can help inspire and connect us. That’s really the message of the book: We should all be connecting to each other with our hearts - and our differences should empower us, not divide us.”