Here come the Cheeky Natives

Last year we met the most enthused literature lovers when Alma-Nalisha Cele and Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane won all-access tickets to the #WNSFest6 and that was the start of a beautiful relationship between us and the Cheeky Natives.

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Who are the Cheeky Natives and what do they do?
Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele and Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane are two young bibliophiles who sometimes dabble in the fields of medicine and law. Together, they started a podcast called ‘The Cheeky Natives’ – a platform primarily focused on the celebration of all things literary. This celebration is done through the reviews of books, poetry and occasionally theatre performances, interspersed with author discussions at book signings and readings.

Where did your love for books begin?
This is a difficult one, but our love for books started at a young age, the quest for knowledge intrigued us from very early. We can recall sitting on the stoep reading while other children we playing.

What does your ideal world of literature look like?
Our ideal world of literature includes stories being told about people of colour by people of colour and not for a white gaze or a perceived audience but stories which are true and representative of who black people are. Furthermore, an additional world of literary is one which behaves as an archive of stories for all the black people and how they have triumphed and continue to triumph over and also as a testament of the resilience of black people and the ways we have reacted to our oppression. It includes telling the full story of the black lived experience.

What is your top 10 list of books we absolutely must read?
• Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
• The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo
• Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma
• Miss Behave by Malebo Sephodi ‘
• A man who is not a man by Thando Mgqoloza
• Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
• Sula by Toni Morrison
• Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
• The secret lives of baba segi’s wives by Lola Shongeyin
• Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda

You have recorded some awesome podcasts, which interviews did you enjoy the most and why?
We do not have a favourite, we have enjoyed all of them for different reasons. You can listen to all of our episodes here.


Letlhogonolo, you are off to study in the States, please tell us more about that and how we can help you get there?

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Indeed, I am off to go and study at UCLA to do my Masters in Law in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Racial Studies. The programme is geared at training top law graduates from law schools around the world who are committed to careers as impact-oriented public interest lawyers in the areas of health, human rights, HIV prevention, and gender equality. I have received a tuition grant and fellowship. I am raising funds for my flights, here is link to the page if you want to donate anything https://candystick.co.za/c/letlhogonolotakesuclalaw/

What is next for the Cheeky Natives?
The Cheeky Natives have a few things in the pipeline – we are planned to have a live podcast conversation with Bongani Madondo on his latest book “Sign the Beloved Country.” On 28 June 2017, The Cheeky Natives with be in conversation with Malebo Sephodi, who published a book called Miss Behave. Follow us on social media to be kept in the loop.

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