[INTERVIEW] Subz the Writer – History in the making


It is our pleasure to introduce to you a young man from P-town who is actively pursuing his dream and making history at the same time. This young man has already, at the age of 25, been called one of Africa’s most promising young novelists, he has already released 2 novels with a ground-breaking third on the way. Impressed? I forgot to mention that he has managed to become the first and the youngest black South African to write, publish, and release a fictional horror novella in South African history.

The young man in question goes by the name of Subz The Writer. He is the mastermind behind “The Split of Gary Oliver” as well as “The Exit Interview”, two novels that have have lauded both within our borders and beyond. Subz The Writer will soon be releasing his third and most anticipated novel yet, titled “The Gautrain Heist” which will (for the first time ever) be released with a full length soundtrack by some of South Africa’s hottest talents! Let’s get round to the interview and get to know this talented young individual a little better.. This is how it went down;

MA: Subz, Please tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you got to where you are today?

I go by the name Subz, The Writer which is derived from my real name Sabelo (Subz) for short and I’m a South African fiction writer. I’m a 25 year old thriller/horror novelist and the first black writer to publish a horror novel in South Africa at the age of 23. I discovered my talent and passion for writing at the age of 19 when I was doing my first year at University. I wrote short stories and used to send them out to friends and family. I fell in love with writing instantly and became almost obsessed with it. It was all I did every single day. I then decided to put my studies on hold so that I could focus only on developing my writing because I had this crazy dream of becoming the greatest writer with the most no.1 bestsellers while I was still in my twenties. After I left school I set myself a goal of writing for 6 hours and to read novels for 5 hours every single day which is what I did, and which is why I developed as a writer at such a young age in a short amount of time. By 21 I won my first short story competition hosted in Canada called Gaunts Gambit, and later that same year I won a best newcomer award and was also titled Africa’s most promising young novelist. I can honestly say that I got to where I am in my career is due to the fact that I found what I love to do more than anything in the world, because I believed in myself, and because I worked extremely hard while people my age were studying and partying.


MA: Your first 2 novels have really changed the game in South Africa, Did you ever expect that your early works would have such an impact?

I always knew that I had something special to offer as a writer but I never expected my novels would do as well as they did. All I knew and believed in were my abilities as a writer and the fact that I put my heart and time into my work.

MA: In this day and age one gets the impression that novels and written stories would be a difficult market to get into. What is your perception on the state of the industry today?

Well, from an international perspective I believe that novel market in the past decade or so is stronger than it has ever been if you look at the demand from readers and sales. If you look at people like J.k. Rowling, James Patterson, and many others who’ve made and still make millions of dollars each year from book sales you’ll see how incredibly well the market is doing. But from a local perspective the state of the industry is poor and probably at its weakest right about now. I believe the African market will only grow and become more appealing once the writing and creativity standards are heightened and when South African writers become more appealing and different with what they offer and how it’s done. But I reassure you that all of this is about to change, drastically.

MA: Creativity must be one of your strongest traits, but where do you look for inspiration before putting pen to pad?

Yeah, creativity has always been my strongest trait and this was just something I was born with and very lucky to have. To be quite honest I’ve never searched for inspiration or ideas for a book or story consciously. It’s something that just happens and happens naturally and constantly.  But occasionally I do find traces of where I get my ideas and inspiration from; reading a lot of novels by great writers, movies, real life, people around me, and even from music. But my greatest stories have all come to me naturally and unexpectedly for some reason.

MA: Please tell us some more about “FAMOUS FICTION – The Sabelo Mgidi Youth Literacy Foundation”.

Famous Fiction is the writing foundation I started as an effort to give back to my community (the African youth) in terms of education, literacy, and life skills, to birth and develop a new breed of young African writers, and to change the writing industry as a whole.
We provide youth motivational talks, writing workshops, fund students and schools with books and learning materials, and we spread the word about the possibilities and potential in the industry as a writer or artist.

MA: Subz The Writer has been honored and criticized, to date what has been the most memorable moment in your career?

I have so many memorable moments, but the one that I probably hold closest to my heart and stands out the most would be the day my first novel “The Split of Gary Oliver” became the no.1 national bestseller in the horror genre and when I was listed in the Africa’s top 5 young African writers to look out for in future. This article was published in Uganda early in 2014. I was very proud of myself.

MA: You are getting ready to release your most anticipated novel yet, can you give us a sneak-peak as to what we can expect?

Yeah, the novel is titled “The Gautrain Heist” and this is the biggest thing I have ever worked on and accomplished. The book is being released with a 12-track soundtrack which is to be the very first soundtrack to an actual novel in history. We’ve featured some of South Africa’s biggest musicians and we’re in the workings of having a nationwide tour of the country which is to be a blend of book signings and concerts so it’s a very exciting time for me. I don’t think I’ve worked so tediously in my life. But I love it. I’m really excited because of this project and I couldn’t be happier with my work. I can’t go into too much detail about the actual book but expect a lot from The Gautrain Heist. It’s out of this world.


MA: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years I see Subz The Writer on the New York Bestseller’s list. I see myself at the top of my game and I’m certain I’m on my way there. My ultimate dream has always been to become the No.1 bestselling writer of all time. I think it’s fair to say that I’m not doing such a bad job of getting there thus far at 25 years old. I also see my company/publishing house which is trading as Geek Media House, producing a plethora of writers (amongst other kind of artists) and changing the game on an international scale. I see myself spending more time with my beautiful daughter. I think in five years time my life and work won’t be as busy and demanding as it is now. At that time I’ll be able to just focus more on being there for my daughter and on being a good/better father. Everything I’ve done and continue to do is for my daughter, nothing is more important than her. I just want to make her proud with this writing thing and as a father.

MA: Where can people follow Subz the Writer?

People can follow me and hit me up on the following:

Facebook: @ sabelo mgidi or subz the writer.
Twitter: subz@thewriter
Instagram: Subz The Writer
Website: www.subzthewriter.com

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