Award-winning marketing guru and creative Khaya Dlanga has released his fourth book, ‘It’s The Answers For Me.’ This is definitely a read you can escape to when you turn off social media.
Khaya speaks to us about the process of writing the book and being alone during lockdown. He also shares some of the most horrifying stories which never made it into the book.
Here’s how the Instagram live conversation went…
Olwethu: Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.
Thank you so much for joining this live, we will be continuing our conversation for national book week, and today we have a conversation with Khaya Dlanga. It is national book week, so we are going to be talking about all things books this week, so brace yourselves for some amazing conversations, today we talk to Khaya Dlanga.
So, I’ve never not laughed in the presence of Khaya. I’ve never not had a huge belly laugh when I’m around him, and he’s one person who turns his, I think, his power and his superpower is turning vulnerability and infusing vulnerability into his writing style, also his ability to break down the walls of communication between people, and he’s turned it into a book. He has the ability online to literally tell a story and put our guards down.
Today we’re going to tap into, “it’s the answers for me.” If you don’t have the book that is available on the Art of Superwoman online store on shop.artofsuperwoman.com. We’re going to talk more about this book today.
So, without any further ado, let’s talk to Khaya Dlanga, who’s going to be joining me today. Someone who describes himself as a retired youtuber, an ancestor of South African YouTube, best-selling author of “These things really do happen to me,” which was the last book, to quote myself, which is the book before that. Now, “It’s The Answers For Me”.
He’s also an award winning creative and marketing guru, so let’s welcome Khaya Dlanga.
Khaya: Oh my God. I’m trying to…
O: You’ve got fancy gadgets going on. I can’t hear you.
K: Okay. Can you hear me? I can hear you now.
K: Oh, okay. Okay. Apple is doing the most.
O: Oh listen to that. (Both laugh). Is this the face that girls screen… Is this the face that girls screenshot and sent back to you, and said, “this is how I’m feeling today.” (both break out in laughter)
K: No comment.
O: Guys, in one of the answers, he asked how are you feeling today? And a girl screenshot or sent him his picture, basically shot her shot. (Khaya laughs)
I Mean, guys, these things really do happen to Khaya.
K: So, it’s so funny because I didn’t know, I honestly did not know what to say.
O: Yeah. I mean, for somebody who’s been single for two and a half years, you should be shooting your shot back at those points at that point.
K: Oh my goodness, you even know how long. Eh hayi! Kundzima, nkosinofefe. Kundzima Ekapa (in the cape) guys, kundzima Ekapa.
O: Akhushelwa Ekapa
K: Yeah Cape Town, It’s just different. It’s different. It’s different. Mhm
O: I mean, the last time we had a conversation, we literally spoke about the vulnerability in your writing. You did it again, you’re able to tear down the walls for people, and you’re able to disarm us with humor, but still have people share back to you what they’re going through, what’s going on or how they’re feeling, from just simple questions. You took us through the process of some of these questions that like, what sparks some of them, but in your mind, are these questions that you think everybody wants to ask, but some people are afraid to?
K: You know, I wouldn’t say that. I think I actually think of basic questions that if I was around a dinner table with my friends I would ask because it’s a safe space, and you expect people to be honest because they are your friends, that’s if your friends don’t lie, they aren’t big liars. (Both laugh)
So, when I ask these questions, I just want to make sure that, and also like for me, my expectation is that people will be honest and transparent because they are not, what’s the word, because their responses will be anonymous. My expectation is that people will be honest because no one knows who’s saying the thing they’re saying. In fact, I would argue and say that people are likely to be honest and transparent here, rather than they would be if they were like, let’s say, around the dinner table because they know no one else who’s answering. Yeah.
O: There are some very intriguing thought patterns that I found here, one being, I personally didn’t know that this was, I think it’s a universal thing. You talk about why Xhosa men are notorious for being heartbreakers. Is this even true? But there further down you talk about when we were kids, we called all black people Xhosa, that is so funny. You know, I came across this, I didn’t know this. I came across this for the first time amongst Sotho people, Sotho people call everybody Ke-ba-Sotho, black people are ba-Sotho. I was like, oh, so it’s a national phenomenon, everybody does this.
K: Yeah. I know, so people would say this in my comments, which surprised me a lot. I honestly, I thought that we’re the only ones who said that, and then I suppose what we realized, I imagine as kids, when you see a black person, you assume that well you’re black, so you must be the same thing that I am, which is Xhosa, and therefore everybody else is. I mean, it was so funny, like, I tell this example in the book, you know, you’d be watching a boxing match or, and you have no idea who these people are, but it’s a black person and a white person, and maybe the boxer could be an American, and as a kids we’d be like, “yoh mna, ndi-supporter lom-Xhosa wase America,” because to you/us, he looks black so he must be Xhosa. It’s just that, because they speak another language, doesn’t mean they’re not Xhosa, and I think that did not associate speaking another language with being a different tribe, you were just Xhosa, and it happened you speak another language, and that was it.
O: So, can I tell you something funny? Like, as I’m reading the book now, and then I read the section about, like all Xhosa men being notorious for being Heartbreakers, I tended to replace the Xhosa with my own biases of who I think are the notorious heartbreakers, because then it’s like, okay, you know, the whole Sotho thing. So if people also are inclined to be like, ndi favor lam-Xhosa wase-America. So, I can replace certain things with my own biases of where I feel like there’s another group of people that have those kinds of behavior, from some of the answers.
K: Actually, I’m trying to remember if I mentioned this in the book, but there’s a guy that I worked with and he basically said, so he was actually talking about Xhosa women. So he said, “Yeah, you know Xhosa women. I will never date Xhosa women, they are heartbreakers, they’re terrible,’’ and he says this about them. So, he goes off, you know, and it’s like a heated discussion, but I kind of, I let it go and I let them vent and eventually, but then it goes on to earlier, he told me a story about like this girl who had broken his heart and how horrible and terrible she was, and then he mentioned another story about another girl, and then I was like, oh yeah, where was that girl from?
Yeah, she was from Venda. Oh yeah. Oh shucks. The one who, what about the girl who did this thing to you? And then he says, yeah that girl was from… (lightbulb moment), oh, and I asked were any of those women Xhosa? He was like, oh my goodness, like none of them, and it’s interesting how people will take, you know, they’ll take things that they hear from other people and then make them true for themselves, even if they have no real experience around those things.
So for me, when I asked that question it was because I’ve never, ever, ever heard that Xhosa’s are heartbreakers or stereotypes about Xhosa people until I moved to Joburg, I didn’t know this at all, it was like a proper shock to the system for me.
O: Because I think generally in society, like wherever we are, we see a balance of things. But now when we already have our own internal biases and.
K: Sorry, sorry, sorry. Did someone say, what can they get the book? You can get this book from the Art of Superwoman store.
O: Yeah. Art of Superwoman online store. This is the name of the book that we’re talking about. “It’s the answers for me” by Khaya Dlanga, it is available on the online store. I mean, I think when we moved to different spaces, you almost knew where you came from, like, there was a balance, there were people that were nice, there were people that were not nice. And now it’s like, you only have this idea because of a small group of people that you’ve experienced.
K: That was shocking to me. Cause I was like, but I mean, there are terrible people everywhere, there are nice people everywhere, there are okay people everywhere. I mean, okay, another one, another one that really surprised me. I had just moved to Joburg, and I just moved to Joburg and there was this girl that I was seeing once I moved to Joburg. I actually met her before I moved to Joburg, and anyways, one day she says to me, “I’ve never met a dumb Xhosa,” and I was like, what?! (Both break out in laughter)
O: Let’s go to the Eastern Cape. (continues to laugh)
K: I know so many dumb Xhosa folk, I mean, come on. I was like, some of the dumbest people I know are Xhosa, so I don’t understand what you mean when you say that you’ve never met. So, it was such a shock to my system when I heard all these things about Xhosa people, people from the Eastern Cape, that I never ever heard, or, and also the kinds of things that I’d never, ever heard people in the Eastern Cape say about people from other places. So, it kind of, but I suppose that that kind of spoke to maybe how isolated people from the Eastern Cape were, and because they’re so isolated in the Eastern Cape, in the rurals, and they don’t know that much about other people, and therefore they don’t have many opinions about them.
So, this was like, when I first moved to Joburg, and I think that’s probably what happened.
O: And you know what’s so funny is I actually saw a tweet the other day of, you know, we have so many rural areas actually in the Eastern Cape, and somebody on Twitter said, “what rural areas do you guys have here in Joburg, Gauteng? The problem is that you guys don’t know how being rural is.” (both laugh). When you get out and you see the world outside like outside of your rural space, trust me, you want to work hard and have to build something better than that, poverty is not it.
K: Mm mm. I mean, it’s normal. Right? It’s so normal that it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel abnormal. So, it doesn’t feel like there’s something weird or outrageous, or not because, well I mean there’s poverty and then you know that there are rich people, but everyone is nice to each other, but this is how things are. I mean, I remember like that as a child, I’ll never forget this. And I don’t know what made me think of this, because I mean, I grew up in that area where I grew up and I remember seeing cars, so I used to go to the township, so I was very fortunate compared to some of the kids I grew up with. So I’d go in December, well parts of December and a little bit like June holidays, to Mdanstane with my mother.
So, because I could see, I had that advantage of seeing lots of cars and knowing what cars were like, and then I’d come back home and they would always play these games, like in the village with kids, as cars drove past the N2, when looking after my grandfather’s cattle. So, you look at a car from a distance, the first person to guess what car that was you would win a point, right, so I’d always win, and the only reason I’d always win is because I had exposure, and they didn’t have exposure, not because I was smarter, I just knew what the cars were.
And another thing, so what I started noticing when we’re playing this game is, why is it that all the nice cars that drive past are driven by white people? So, I’m like, I’m still a kid, I’m not even 10, I don’t understand. Then, and then it occurs to me, when we page through magazines, because we used to play this game, when quickly paging through a magazine, you put your hand down, like, that’s mine, “indlu yam or imoto yam,” right, exactly. And then what I also realized in the magazines, all the people and the nice things were white people back then, and then I was like, there’s something not right here. I don’t know what it is, and like there are no white people who live in the villages, but they always had nice cars and nice houses. Yeah. Anyway, Yeah.
O: So, there’s one particular story that you also mentioned about our biases, and how we make up stories and we internalize them and we make it somebody else’s story without even knowing all the facts, the story about the slay queen. When you ask people, it’s so funny, because when you ask people what their idea of slay queens are, there are so many different, but very conflicting answers about what slay queens are.
First of all, the question that I wanted to ask you is, how did you come about the definition of slay queen, and what do you know now that you probably didn’t know then about what a slay queen is, as you sat there and you were having lunch with your friend and your friend was like, “ah, that one ke-slay queen,” and you were like, “ah, what if I told you that she actually went to Dubai with her family?”
K: Yes, for me it’s because I feel like how I understood it was, I think the first time I just saw it was that it’s someone who slays and that’s how I kind of how I always understood it. But also, because I suppose when I, as someone who loves reading, what’s like a slay queen, like in books, so you don’t say like off of their head, right. For me, it was an indicator like, they are slaying, someone who’s being slayed, right. So, you know what I’m saying? And so, for me, that’s how I understood when I first saw the term.
That’s how I understood it, like okay. If someone was powerful, they could be like, “go chop that person’s head off,” and that’s literally how I understood it. She’s got that much power, she can snap her fingers, and something happens, and that’s how I understood it. But then, the more I saw this thing on Twitter. I was like, wait a minute, okay. I feel like what I understood a slay queen is, versus what people are depicting it as is very confusing to me, and taking this different shape and form that I had a complete opposite view to, and for them it was always about, how it always seemed to be someone who looked really good, and it’s like someone who’s glamorous, and it also came across as a bit of an insult when people say that, “oh, someone’s in slay queen.”
So, I was like I feel like I’m very confused because my understanding and what I’m seeing that social media is saying is very different from what I thought it was, which is why I then asked the question. “So, what is a slay queen?”
O: And I mean, for me, you know, I struggled with the term slay queen, not because of the actual meaning and the actual idea of what a slay queen is, but because of how this is patriarchy, misogyny does this thing, where it reduces things that are made to praise women and almost sexualizes these terms that are praising women, into objectifying women and placing them into this like tool, and thing to look at, and reducing them to positions and the positions that they have.
K: Yeah, and that’s why that conversation for me, was so great, because it was a teaching moment for the people I was with, when they were like, because it was a particular person, funny enough, we actually do know this person.
So, they were talking about this person, and they’re like, “oh, si-slay queen eso. Look at it, look at her, she’s in Dubai or she’d been in Dubai, si-slay queen etc. I was like, “okay, why would you say that?” Because I knew the whole background story, so they’re like, “why?” They’re like, “no,” and then they go, cause I was trying to understand how they define this slay queen thing. Then they go, “she didn’t pay for herself, she must have gone, she definitely went there with a guy,” and they go on. I’m like, okay, now that I knew exactly what they were, and I’m not going to lie I was also leading them into a trap, because I feel like I was trying to find out where their biases were. Then I was like, “what if I told you, she was actually in Dubai with her family?”
O: Shaking her ass in a yacht, with her family. (both laugh)
K: They were like, “there’s no way she went there with her family, it was a man, because she would’ve posted pictures.” Then I was like, “actually, I feel like you guys haven’t scrolled properly through her pictures, so I scroll, scroll, and there’s her family, she’s there with her family, what do you guys have to say for yourselves now?”
That was such an interesting look into how people make these assumptions, and what I like to find out is, I wonder if men are more likely to make assumptions about women than women, or if women are more likely to make assumptions about men?
I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been around other women.
O: Personally. What I do know about women when women are with women, right. When women are with women it’s rare that they’ll play something like, in my experience, play something like, “oh, she’s just a slay queen.” It’s more often than not women will be like, “oh, where does she work? What does she do? How does she make her money? Like, I also want to get there like, you can you find out for me if she could, like, if angandifaka.” Versus when men make these like, and it’s very dangerous assumptions. It’s a very, very dangerous assumption. Yeah, because it’s almost like I’ve written her off, “ai that one I’ve written them off.”
K: Now can you imagine that I’ve looked at someone, and said she’s a slay queen etc. Then I have an interview tomorrow, and I’m being interviewed by the person who I called a slay queen, can you imagine how awkward that is.
O: So, humor is definitely like a way in which you disarm us, and then you get us to talk about very personal things. You’ve built a big rapport with audiences, with people around, you know, laughing, you’re one person that laughs even when things are deep, you always find the funny in deep situations, but it’s almost such a superpower.
You’ve built a rapport of even empathy amongst your audience, in the way that you ask questions, and you’re also able to respond sometimes with an apt Bible scripture to something that has been shared that, you know, might’ve been something that was, there was one particular question that I think you thought would be something funny, in the way people would respond to it, I think it was the one about parents, and it ended up getting really deep. You were like, “yoh, I did not expect that.”
Where does that come from? How did you learn that?
K: That’s a very good question, because I don’t know. It’s weird because do you learn empathy? Do you observe it? Are you born with it? I wish I actually knew what the answer was, but there’s some study I read like a few years ago, and this particular study said that if people who read a lot of novels have a lot of empathy, they tend to have empathy. And I may be, because I mean, as a child, I read like an insane amount, and I wonder if that may have to do anything with it. I was also raised by my grandmother, she passed away when I was nine and she was this beautiful, empathetic, but also strict person, but I wonder did she have anything to do with that. Or because understanding people’s pain and seeing people going through stuff, and I’ve also been through stuff and being sympathetic towards that. I don’t know, I think it’s a mixture of things, but I also feel that maybe, it could also have to do with my religious sensibilities as well. So, I think it’s a whole combination of things I’d rather have resulted in, versus something I learned from one particular place.
I’m convinced, it’s both innate, also growing up around my grandmother, and maybe growing up in Eslalini (rural area), and I always say this, when I grew up in the village my family eslalini, was perceived to be pretty well off, but I can tell you if you came to the village and you’d never been to a village, you would feel very sorry for us. You would never think that we’re well off, like at all, you would be like, “everybody here needs to be adopted, including my grandfather and my grandmother.” It’s just a terrible situation. (Both laugh)
So, I think because of how generous my grandparents were in the face of how, you know, I think the poverty around them might be something that I kind of picked up also from them, like from the beginning, definitely not something that I would say, you know, it’s a special thing that I have. It’s definitely every single thing like, religious sensibilities, my grandparents, reading, and also myself going through hardship.
O: Yeah, and I mean, in that progression, I find that a lot of, boy children, when they become men, they lose an element of that empathy and that vulnerability and that ability to open up and share their experiences and share their grief and share their ups and downs. Did you ever worry about that? Like okay, now Ubudoda bam (my manliness), like men have this thing of, “oh, what are the guys going to think about me? If I’m this vulnerable or I’m this I’m this person who talks on Instagram, about how they are feeling?”
K: I have a sneaking suspicion It’s got to do a lot to do with me, I wouldn’t say loneliness, but I’m more of a loner than people think I am. So, when I was growing up, I mean, I read a lot, I didn’t have any friends in school, a very deliberate choice. When I went to get circumcised (part of the Xhosa culture, mostly practiced in the Eastern Cape), I was there with my cousin and when I came out of it, I was still me, I mean, I knew people from the neighborhood, but I wasn’t friends with them. I’ll never forget the one time I lived kwa-eight (a certain area of township), Ndastane. Kwa-eight, no man, kwa-sixteen, yoh, i halved it by two, so yeah kwa-sixteen 16. So, I was staying there at my uncle’s place and my cousin’s.
I remember the one time, so I just moved into this neighborhood, jonga (look) there in the, in the neighborhood, in fact, elokshin (township). I think my uncle was one of the first four or so people e-Ndastane owayenaye i-satellite (who had a satellite), so indlu yakhe yaziwa ba, indlu ine satellite. (his house was known to be the house “with the satellite”) This was when I was staying with my uncle, and I also remember the one time I got to asked by some boys who were in the neighborhood, and kwakukhona (there was) two gangs in the neighbourhood, kwe-area kwa-sixteen (in the area of sixteen). Kwakuthwa, zi-”FBI’s”, na-”Americans” (they were called FBI’s and Americans)
Yeah, so one day zafika i-chap (those guys/men arrived), zibizwa i-FB’s (called the FBI’s), zafika bathi, “hey chap, sifuna u-joiner i-group yethu” (they arrived and said, “hey man, we want you to joining our group/gang), and you not allowed to hang out with those guys, the other guys, the Americans.
I was like, “bandenze ntoni? Abandezanga niks mna,” (what did they do to me, they haven’t done anything to me), so why must I say I’m not going to hang out with those guys anymore? Akhonto apha chii a.ah, nkau-ndiyekeni mna (there’s nothing wrong, please leave me alone)
So, and then like, okay cool, then they leave. Then the next day, the other group, the Americans, zafika nazo (the Americans also arrived) Bathi (saying), “hey chap stop hanging out with those other guys, ze-FBI, because ha.ah.” Ndathi, “zizandi-hlaba andyenzanga niks? (I said, would they stab me for nothing?) Ndizozoyikha ntoni? Ayikho lento nithethayo (Why would I be afraid of them? You guys are talking nonsense).
Mna (I) will hang out with who I want to hang out with, andizuvangamt uyabona (I won’t be instructed by anyone, you see) so, I think, I had the, but also maybe the fortune was, or misfortune, I dunno how to say this. Mbendinga fundi (I didn’t learn), most yabo babefunda elokshini (most of them schooled in the rural areas), mna bedingafundi elokshini (and I didn’t school in the rural area). I was schooling in town/formal education. I think they didn’t know how to approach, because I was also new to the neighborhood, and bendifunda e-town (i was schooling in town, and not in the rural area), and so how to approach me, they were not very sure, but also sine satellite (but also we have the satellite). *both laugh*
O: So, you guys were in a different league.
K: Exactly, so now what if they don’t get invited, you know, sometimes they might want to watch something. So now they can’t say, “you can’t hang out with those guys.” So, I think I never really had to pick something, I was fortunate enough to be able to stand on my own and defend things for myself because I was never dependent on friends, because I didn’t have any, nor did I ever feel I needed the approval of friends. And I imagine, if my survival needed friendships, needed friends in the neighborhood, maybe I would’ve made very different choices, and not because I’ve got this strong will, it’s just that the circumstances I find myself around protected me from that. Yeah, that’s what I think.
O: Yeah, you share a lot with us. I mean, you share a lot with us on social media, you share a lot with us in your books, and in your writing, um, your contributions to other writings as well. I asked you this question the last time, and I’m going to ask it to you again. What is off limits for you? What is that one thing that is off limits?
K: I don’t know, but I think when it comes, I know. They are just, I mean, I always feel that you can say anything you want to say, it’s all about how you say it. I think that I’ve said most things I wanted to say, but I have been diplomatic in the manner and in which I’ve said them, but you know like, I’m actually quite a prude. I imagine. I know I’m a prude.
So, when it comes to talking about sex publicly, you’ll probably find that I’m not going to choose my words very carefully. I think, yeah. I mean, for example, there were lots of things, and I wouldn’t say these were off limits to me. So, this is how I decided certain things, what not to put in the book. So, the questions about, “the worst thing that ever happened to you in school,” or something to that effect, I forget the question now. Was that, so there were specific things that happened to people in school, and these people did not share their story. So, they’ll share a story about someone in their school, but maybe it was a very traumatic incident. Then I think, Hmm, if I repost this…
O: It would trigger someone else?
K: Not only that, but the people in that school know who that person is. Right, and then because they know who that person is, I was like, “no, I can’t.” Unless, and there were some people who said, yeah, oh my word, I know that story they’d be like, “it was in the newspaper.” Then it’s like, oh, well, if it happened, it was published in the paper, came out. I was like, okay, fine. Then it’s okay for me to print, but not if people will figure out who that person is, and there might be triggered again, you know what I’m saying? By this trauma, but when it comes to things that I would talk about, I don’t know, but I know I have my limits, or I will have a way of avoiding something without having to talk about it. Yeah.
O: Let me see, I think there’s a question in the question box, somebody’s asking again, what, what is the book about I’ve been interested to know, is it general stories? Is it personal? or I think I’ll let Khaya answer that one. I’m like, I’ve reduced my time on social media, on some days during the week, and instead of going on social media and scrolling through instant stories, this has been my replacement. (Both laugh)
K: That’s funny.
O: So maybe you can tell us, maybe you can tell us a little bit more.
K: So, the book is really, like, the questions that are asked during lockdown, but actually a lot of those questions, some of the questions, I asked them long before lockdown, and then, but then lock down kind of really… I realized that when I ask these questions during lockdown, people are very vulnerable and they’re very open and very honest, and my suspicion is that a lot of people are feeling lonely. I was also very surprised by how open and honest people were, and then I was like, it feels like we, as a society, have a need to confess something to someone, without everybody knowing who we are. And that was the reason, then I decided to carry on asking the questions, but also, I asked the questions, not because the label is asking, I did not ask the questions because I wanted to write a book, I was just asking some questions.
Then as time went on, more people kept asking me to, like a whole lot of people kept asking me to write, to turn this into a book, and I was like how? It didn’t make sense to me how these questions could be turned into a book, it just didn’t, but then the more people would ask, I thought maybe it’s not a bad idea.
Then my publisher called me, and then they mentioned the same thing. I was like, okay, maybe. Okay. Let me see how I can make it work.
O: It’s the simplest questions that have the deepest answers. My goodness, like, “how are you?”
K: Yhu. How are you?
O: People don’t get asked, how are you?
K: But they do get asked, but they
O: No, no, no, no, it wasn’t “how are you? ”How are you? It was, “how were you feeling?”
K: How are you feeling? that it’s so true.
O: It was, how are you feeling? People get asked, how are you? But people don’t get asked, how are you feeling?
K: I suppose, maybe because of the question, how are you feeling? I suppose because it makes a stop? Because it starts off with, “how are you?” We always end at, how are you? We don’t usually say feeling, which is like woah, that’s a bit unusual.
O: Yeah it’s a bit hectic
K: Now I must go dig deep, and actually talk about how I’m feeling. Yeah, those are some deep answers too.
O: And it’s such a simple ask, but it is so intense.
K: Yeah you right, no one ever asks “how are you feeling?” nobody. But also, maybe the reason people don’t ask is because we’re afraid of what people would say, and then you say what you say, then what am I supposed to do about what you tell me now? Because we always feel compelled, maybe I need to say something or do something. And if you can’t, you have this overwhelming pressure.
So, we prefer the superficial because superficiality has no demands on us, right? So, and people are not superficial because they want to be, I say they are, they become so because they are afraid of what comes after they ask, and when they get the answer.
O: Yeah. You are being asked, “how are you feeling right now Khaya?”
K: I’m feeling very sexy. And, uh *lifts whiskey glass*
O: He got his bevs, got his bevs.
K: Ndiyasela, ndiyasela (im drinking, im drinking).
O: Okay, ask me how I’m feeling,
K: How are you feeling?
O: I’m feeling so disappointed Khaya. So, it’s Mikaili’s birthday today.
O: Yes, today he’s turning 10. And we have a family culture or a family, one of the core traditions where we go to this restaurant every year, or like on each of the kids’ birthdays. It’s been fine this whole time, all these years it’s been okay. Today he decided to tell us that he’s not interested in that restaurant anymore, and he’d much rather be at home gaming and having pizza. So, I’m completely heartbroken.
(Khaya is shocked, jaw dropped lol)
K: Why? Why? Is he becoming a loner? What is it?
O: He doesn’t feel like going to, he doesn’t feel like going to a restaurant. He’d much rather be here at home. If we want, we can game with him, we can watch a movie, we can chill, but he just doesn’t want to go to a restaurant.
K: Wow. Okay.
O: Well, this particular restaurant, he just wants to be at home and have pizza.
K: Wow. Okay, okay.
O: So yeah. Parenting, you think everything’s going right, then a sharp turn.
K: Sorry. I wish I could say I relate.
(both burst out laughing)
O: So somebody said, “it’s also because we think no one really cares or genuinely cares that is” (about being asked or asking, “how are you feeling?”), and another person says, “I think they’re afraid of what you will do with the information that they give you. Will you keep it to yourself or spray it amongst friends?” That’s true. That’s true.
O: Somebody says with this type of book published, is there space for more writers or books to exist for such a type of writing? I don’t know, you know, and I was thinking about this, right. I was saying, I was thinking to myself, can anybody else write books like this or write the kind of content like this? Or is it reserved for, I would struggle to read it if it was somebody that I hadn’t tapped into their kind of frankness, candor, humor, their past writing, their vulnerability in their writing, the past way in which they make us love through their writing. I found this easier to open and read, because I almost had Khaya’s laugh and voice in the background.
K: So, I think it’s a very good question, it’s a very good point because I think there’s a lot of space probably for people to do it even better than I have. So, because there’s almost this, I think that there is a lot of space. I mean, someone could say that, because someone wrote like a novel about romance, is there a space for writing about, you know, romance? (Rhetorical question) I mean, people have been writing romance novels since the seventeen-hundreds, you know, and they are still there today, you know what I’m saying?
People are like, as we speak right now, there’s probably ten, twenty other people, a hundred people are writing a novel like that, right now as we speak. So there is space for that, like for any form of writing.
O: There’s a question on here, “what do you think is the most hectic answer you put in the book or the one you had the toughest time deciding whether you would put it in or not?” And how did you end up making that decision?
K: The ones I did not put in the book are not in the book, because they are very tough. There were some, there were somewhere I would see an answer on my phone, and I would literally put my phone down, and pace up and down, go to my fridge, grab a drink. And I’d be like, this is the most intense. I promise you, some of those things were so hectic and so scary, that things that people go through, and I need some time to look at my phone again, because this is just too much.
I mean, there was one that was so intense where this lady spoke about a friend of hers who, I forgot what the question was, but she got a call from a friend and that friend said, “I need you here, please come to my house?” She goes to the friend’s house, and she gets to the friend’s house, and the friend’s mom is there, dead.
O: What? (in shock)
K: Her mom, the friend who called her, had killed her own mother, when she got there. So, what she does, but she didn’t know that she’d kill her own mother. She thought her mom had been killed by the time she got there; she called the cops. But when the cops arrived, what she had said to the cops was that the friend she had called to come, is the one who killed her. She was taken, she had to go to jail, she was imprisoned for some time until the cops saw that the stories don’t add up, that the daughter had actually killed their own mother,
O: No way. (In disbelief)
K: So, I mean there were stories like this, whether its murder etc. There was one where some guys spoke about how he scammed some lady from his neighborhood of 500,000 Rand. This lady had won the lotto, and Heeee! This is the worst part, and the reason they actually saw that this, and the reason they felt the need to kind of tell me this story, was because the woman had, in fact had been on, “I blew it.” And so, he felt guilty because he saw “I Blew it.” I won, I blew it because they had scammed this woman out of five-hundred-thousand Rand. And I was like, yoh guys! people have gone through the most.
O: Hold up, Khaya. So you’re telling me, you could single handedly be a court witness to many cases. Should there be a need…
K: Not necessarily, because what if I don’t have, I don’t have those stories anymore, you know what I’m saying? And I don’t know who they are, first of all, I think I imagined that that thing could be,.
O: And I’m sure they also, I’m sure they also use a burner account. I’m pretty sure.
K: So that’s also possible, but some people didn’t. I mean, like some confessions are so hectic that, you know, I’ve been like, okay, this is a Sunday I need to post, and then can I find a way to help the person? And then if I can, I do help the person, but these things, yasis, jonga Olwethu (my goodness, look Olwethu) obviously, there’s lots of very funny things, but also lots of like heartbreaking things that I saw, like so many, so many.
O: And overall, as we close, what would you say, these questions, the answers, the conversations that were sparked, what did it teach you about the people we live amongst?
K: People are broken, yeah. People are just absolutely broken, and also how incredibly cruel people can be to each other, but what I also found very interesting, was when I asked questions and that I hoped would yield really positive stories, I got very few responses. So, I asked stories about heartbreak, I asked stories about being cheated on, I asked stories about, but if I say, “hey, what’s the best date you’ve ever had? Response is, “Uh, there’s been very few.” or I ask a question about…
O: I noticed that because you did put some of those in here and the good stories, the good stories are like one page.
O: And I was like, “no really?”
K: Yes, because I don’t know what it is, whether it’s because of the time we find ourselves in because of COVID, and the lock down. So, people are in this negative space and therefore the only thing they can think about, are the terrible experiences and none of the good stuff. For me that was like… The story I told you about parents, my assumption was always, people will say freaking great things, because I mean, people say, “I love my parents,” but the things they said instead, shocked the hell out of me. I’d say maybe 75%, if not 80% of the stories people said about their parents, was shocking to me.
Like the things they wanted to say to their parents. And they said, this, yeah, yoh ha.ah, that for me was mind blowing. Mind Blowing, just some parents damage their kids, and they don’t even know it.
O: Absolutely. Yeah, bathi, “Bhuti Khaya, ungum-Zulu” ( they say, brother Khaya, you are Zulu) *both laugh*
K: What is, “ama BB,” what is that? “Ama BB angakha?” (so many BB)
O: I don’t know. I don’t know what that is. Somebody is asking, @kiphilabuhle is asking, do you go to therapy?
K: Mhmm, so, well, not now, but I did go to therapy after I went, in fact, I’ve been, I went to therapy on two occasions. The one time I was about to break up with an ex, so I just said therapist, trying to understand what it is, why it was that I needed, I felt I needed to break up with the person. So, I needed to understand what was going on, and on the second, but I then I actually then decided I needed to carry on with the therapy. I was like, oh, this is awesome for like a few months, with that particular person. Then the second time was after I lost my brother, and then I went to therapy and that was interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, I would really recommend therapy for everybody.
O: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much. I truly appreciate this conversation. Go out and get the book.
K: “These things really do happen to me.”
(Both break out laughing, cause Khaya mentioned the wrong book)
O: No, “It’s The Answers for Me.” (they say it at the same time)
O: They do happen to you, these things really do happen to you. If you haven’t gotten the book, “These Things Really Do Happen to me,” get that too. But this one is, “It’s The Answers for Me.” Is available, with the foreword by Thuso Mbedu.
It is available on the Art of Superwoman store, it’s available inside bookstores and old bookstores as well, so grab yourself a copy.
Khutwa ama-BB is scandals and secrets, I didn’t know this.
K: Hai, ndiyayiqala kuyiva (Thats my first time hearing that)
O: Lellethu says, “she really enjoyed the stories during lockdown. I’m glad you turned them into a book.”
I’m glad too, because I get to have, like, I’m using this as an excuse to get off social media guys, you know, I’m trying to reduce my time on social media, but I’m replacing it with books.
K: How much time do you spend on social media? Cause your phone tells on you,
O: It does, I think my system says…
K: Maybe it’s on your phone, the amount of time you spend on your phone.
O: My phone says, I average about six, seven hours.
K: That’s not bad. On social media???
O: No, not a lot on social media, just on my phone, but I do a lot of work on social media. So, my work is predominantly social media and digital work, so I’m forced to be on social media and on my gadgets and stuff. Yeah, it’s not like it’s terrible, I need to reduce my time on my phone, but it also means I need to delegate a lot more. And you? What’s your average?
K: Well, the thing is because like I’m back at work, there are lots of people who will ask things on WhatsApp and they’re chatting on WhatsApp, and then I got to approve things on a phone. So like it’s about seven, seven hours a day, and sometimes reading emails because also I don’t like being on, cause sometimes when I’m thinking, right. I like to not. Cause I find that if I’m on email, right. I can’t think when my email is open, so I have, I actually have my notepad and I put it down and then I Use a pen and I write, because it helps me think.
O: Thank you so much Khaya, truly appreciate this conversation. Please, quickly. What book are you reading right now?
K: Uh, what book am I reading? That’s such a good, uh, flip. I’m trying to see where I put which book. Okay. Okay. Okay. I was, mmm, okay I’m not reading any book, but there is a book I want to read. That I’ve been trying to buy, ncwadi yes-Xhosa. (a Xhosa book), but the book that I was actually reading, the last book I read was, “Female Fear Factory,” by professor Pumla Dineo Nqola. So, that is the book,
O: Did you enjoy it?
K: It’s incredible, because it’s very, and I almost feel like…
You know what, the sad thing about that book is that probably 80% – 90% of the people who buy it will be women, but I think that 90% of the people who should buy it and read it, should be men. That’s the saddest thing for me about that book, because they’re like, “oh my goodness, I’m not ready,” they don’t want to know what they know. But it’s a Xhosa poetry book that I want to read. It’s a new book flip, I wish I remembered the name of the book.
O: I think Asanda had done an Instagram live about it.
O: And it sounds so sexy.
O: Thank you so much for joining us for the session, It was amazing. Super cool. Author, marketing genius, amazing all-round super guy, cool guy, full of humour and candor, Khaya Dlanga.
Go get yourself the book. “It’s The Answers for Me” by Khaya Dlanga. It is available on the Art of Superwoman shop, artofsuperwoman.com. Shop your book and yeah, post it up. Let me know what your favorite parts of it are. You’re going to laugh, you’re going to cry, you’re going to be like, “what?!” You’re going to be in shock, but you’re going to enjoy it.
Have an amazing evening further, mwah, have a beautiful Wednesday.