Constant and regular note-taking helped Dala share her experiences

2013-08-06 00:00

Zainub Dala

Open category runner-up:

Dala wrote about insights gained while doing her community service as a physiotherapist.

What was the hardest part about writing your story?

Going through my personal journals from those years that I worked at a semi-rural government hospital made me realise how difficult and traumatic things were back then, and having to consolidate all those many experiences in a story was difficult and emotional.

How long did it take you to think of a story?

When I decided I wanted to enter the competition, so many different story ideas ran through my head. It took me a while to decide on that particular story, but it was a story I always wanted to shout from the rooftops, as it highlighted the state of our country’s health crises.

What helped the writing process?

What helped my writing process was constant and regular note-taking as ideas and sentences kept popping into my head. After that, editing was the easy part.

What advice do you have for prospective writers?

Keep at it all the time! Write down everything that you experience, in even the simplest of language.


THERE are four categories: Open — with a prize of R10 000 for stories 1 500 words or less, and Snapshot, Schools and Opinion, which all have a prize of R3 000 and are for stories less than 800 words. The closing date for entries is 8 am on August 26.


• Stories must be true and have a strong link to KZN.

• State clearly what category you are entering.

• Stories may be submitted via e-mail or post. Send your entries to: The Witness True Stories of KwaZulu-Natal Competition, P.O. Box 362, Pietermaritzburg, 3200, or e-mail

• Do not enclose pictures.

• Please include your full contact details in any e-mail attachments — not just in the message field.

• Be sure of your entry before you send it — improved versions won’t be accepted.

• Editing is at the discretion of The Witness.

• Manuscripts will not be returned.

• The competition is not open to salaried employees of The Witness.

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