Cab driver already working on fourth book despite Std 5 schooling

2014-10-06 00:00

WITH only primary schooling to his name, a Durban cab driver’s love of writing is now seeing him work on a fourth novel.

Cyril James from Wentworth is a cab driver by day, but by night he retreats to a completely different world — writing his books.

He launched his first two books, Many a cold night and Give me shelter from the storm, last Monday with the help of the eThekwini Municipality.

They were published by UK publishing house Xlibris Publishing. The first contains elements of his own life story, and the second based on a woman’s battle in an abusive relationship.

James (68) was chatting to a friend, Eddie Crick, when he was inspired to write his first book some six years ago.

“He said I have been through so much, why don’t I just write a book about my life.”

At the time, James was working in Zambia as a material controller. “Every night while my colleagues were out drinking and having fun with women, I would go for computer lessons. The guys used to laugh at me and call me names, like the Scholar,” said James.

Weeks later, when James returned to South Africa, he purchased a second-hand computer from a pawn shop in Durban.

“I had already started the cab business and my brother was helping me out. And every night after work I would write. Sometimes I would sit until two in the morning just writing, especially when I was struggling to sleep.

“I am waiting for the third book, Murder in a strawberry farm, to return from the publishers.” James said he is hoping to launch it in December.

James is already working on his fourth book.

When James is not writing, he is ferrying passengers around the city.

“I get phone calls from the city, airport, the Bluff, Morningside and other places. I wake up at five in the morning and take people to their destinations.”

James has two cabs operating, one driven by him and the other by his brother, Leslie.

“Every morning, I take customers to the hospitals, then some call me to take them to do their shopping and others want to be taken to the airport.”

James said seeing his books on the shelves is a dream come true. “I only have Standard 5 and I wrote these books myself.

“While I was growing up I read every piece of paper I could get my hands on. I would even take the newspaper into the toilet with me to read it,” said James.

He said he is inspired daily by his passengers. “They always have interesting stories to tell,” he said.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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