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If You Keep Digging: A Q&A with Keletso Mopai

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In her collection, writer Keletso Mopai, tackles mental health, queerness and the undeniable power of the Balobedu Rain Queen. (Photo: Supplied)
In her collection, writer Keletso Mopai, tackles mental health, queerness and the undeniable power of the Balobedu Rain Queen. (Photo: Supplied)

In her collection, writer Keletso Mopai, tackles mental health, queerness and the undeniable power of the Balobedu Rain Queen.

Keletso Mopai hails from Lenyenye, a township located 20km from Tzaneen, Limpopo. The township is well known as a place where Mamphela Ramphele  was  banished by the apartheid regime from 1977–1984. It is also the place where people speak Khelobedu which is not an official South African language, although it is spoken by over two million people. For Mopai, Khelobedu is more than a dialect – it’s a language, it’s a culture and a home. In an essay titled Can You Please Say Something in Khelobedu?, Mopai reflects on the history and erasure of her home language.

Mopai, who studied geology, is a storyteller and the author of the collection titled If You Keep Digging.  Her works, both  fiction  and  nonfiction,  are published in highly regarded publications such as Catapult magazine, The Johannesburg Review of Books, and Brittle Paper, among others. Her short story, Monkey was shortlisted for the 2019 Brittle Paper Awards.

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