It’s another edition of the Writer Spotlight series where we celebrate amazing writers across Africa. Today will be no different as we are celebrating Ifediata Juventus, a teacher and writer whose love for writing started when he was in JSS3, after he won an essay competition.
Enjoy his interview with us!
Hello, please introduce yourself
My name is Ifediata Juventus. I have a degree in Philosophy and a Post Graduate diploma in Education. From the day I won an award in JSS 3 for writing the best essay in school, I knew I could let my thoughts loose on a piece of paper. I currently own a blog and from time to time, I showcase some of my amateur skills on Facebook. I am currently working on my first book.
What do you do?
Presently I am a teacher. I have been teaching since 2011. I bagged my Post Graduate degree during the process as well.
Why did you choose to write or what led you to writing?
Nothing titillates the imagination than words. Since the day I read James Hardly Chase’s Trusted Like the Fox, I dreamt of doing writing that would put a smile on people’s faces. Well, I have matured and I have not forgotten that my write-up should inform, educate as well as make peoples’ day wonderful.
Can you tell us your most rewarding moment as a writer?
I would not forget that day in a hurry. That should be in 1999, I was in JSS III. We had an essay competition and I came out first. Our rector gave me a little book. I have lost it but its memory will linger in my memory for years to come.
Have you ever been rejected as a writer and how did you handle it?
That was in my second year in the university. I wrote an article and submitted it to our school editor. He told me that my article would not be published because of lack of space but his facial expression spoke better than his mouth. I felt dejected. I thought I could do more but I was disappointed.
Will you ever retire from writing?
I have not thought about this question. From the look of things, I am just starting and considering the fact that I love doing this, retirement is not and would not be on my mind for a long time to come.
What do you do in your leisure time?
Apart from reading solid novels that grip my attention, I watch a lot of documentaries as well; play volleyball and I am currently learning how to play table tennis.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Go find a mentor and be pretty quick about it.
What would you pick;
Continental Food or African Delicacy? At the moment, African Delicacy tops the chart – my chart. Foods like African salad, amala and ewedu soup plus a host of others I am unable to lay my hands on on a consistent basis still rock my world. When I am done with them, I may consider looking at continental foods.
R&B or Hip/hop? Both keep me going. I love good rap, especially when its lyrics have a lesson or two to put across. So I will say Hip/hop all the way.
Fiction or poetry? I am a fan of fiction even though I believe that most fiction writing have a strong element of reality in them.
Fashion, football or music? Well I would not strictly rule out fashion but having a good dress sense has been one of the things I aspire towards. However, my love for football is something that would not die off soon. My name is Juventus, hope you have taken note of that? Even though I do not support the club, football still makes my world go round.
Do you have a writing mentor? If yes why?
Yeah I do. He does not know that yet but his style of writing keeps me going. He will be surprised if I tell him that most of his publications on Facebook are duly collected and saved by me.
Do you consider writing as work or pleasure and why?
I think it is a bit of both. I write for the fun of it. If perchance the business angle blooms, I would take it in full stride as well. That does not mean I am not presently looking at the business angle too.
Your best article or story so far?
Well I will say it is one of my best – Mmeso’s Illumination. I was swamped with comments from critics and friends.
Any last words for upcoming writers?
You have to take the first step. It is not going to be rosy. Your friends will make jest of you but when your consistency consistently slams them in the face, they will talk about you and recommend you to others. Stick to your guns and never give up.