Profile – Making reading hip and sexy

2010-06-05 10:58

Smart is the new sexy, says Moky Makura, the founder and visionary behind one of South Africa’s newest publishers.

Called Nollybooks, the publishing house is set to make reading hip and sexy by presenting a range of romance and chick-lit novels written by South African writers for South African readers.

“For many young people in this country, the last books they read were probably at school. It is likely the books were not books they will have chosen to read, so it may also have been a negative experience – so they stop when they leave school. We’ve identified a big gap in the market and the time it takes before young people can afford to buy at Exclusive Books – it’s pricey and intimidating,” says Makura.

A love for a good, compelling story and an ambition to get South Africa reading is what drives Makura’s ­vision. Nollybooks will produce high-quality, exciting and entertaining page-turners which are well written and beautifully packaged, for a price of less than R50.

The brand, set to be launched later this year, ­already boasts 13 titles, 11 of them by first-time writers.

“I named this company Nollybooks because we must write our own stories and make them accessible. The best way to get people to ­enjoy books is to give them content they enjoy. One of the best-selling genres in the world is romance and chick-lit – it’s not deep and meaningful, but it gets people reading! That is my aim: to capture that market,” says Makura.

A published author herself, the inspiration to create a publishing house was driven by Makura’s desire to tell and share African stories or, in her own words, relevant content.

“I believe we as Africans want to see ourselves reflected in the content that we consume. Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, was created by Nigerians telling their own stories to themselves.

“It’s an incredibly successful, self-sustaining industry. It shows that despite questionable production values, people want to see themselves They want to see relevance.”

Quality assurance in all that she does is a key driver for Makura, a passionate entrepreneur, TV presenter, producer and mother.

Her Nigerian roots speak volumes through her sing-song British accent which may, at first sound, veil her passion for her Nigerian heritage.

“There are times in your life when your environment defines who you are more than where you ‘come from’.

“However, now I am at a life stage in which where I come from defines where I choose to be and who I am. I am proud to be Nigerian.

“I am African, I am Nigerian – and I find there are always assumptions about my capabilities, who I am and what I could do. At some stage I got ­annoyed and it became important that I show who I am. I realised that other people were defining how the world saw me.

“I decided to be in control of that definition.

“So the things that I do are about me projecting a positive image of Africa; the image that I want people to see,” says Makura.

Passionate about her vision for Nollybooks, Makura ­becomes animated as she ­describes what makes her get out of bed each day.

“What motivates me is ­setting out to prove to people who say black people don’t read that they are wrong!

“Rather than get angry, I just decided to go out there and do it.”

Makura says it: “Smart is the new sexy.”

  • Nollybooks is currently accepting story proposals and is building up an online community. Want to know more or join the new sexy club? Email:

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