By the book: Q&A with Foeta Krige

SABC 8 by Foeta Krige, published by Penguin Random House.
SABC 8 by Foeta Krige, published by Penguin Random House.

Author of the book, The SABC 8, Foeta Krige says writing the book was not only therapeutic, but also closure on a dark chapter in his life.

What's your favourite thing to read? And what do you avoid reading?

I don't choose books, books find me… to give me exactly what I need at the time. Etienne Leroux's Die eerste lewe van Colet helped me understand the pain of puberty and the need to grow. André P. Brink's Kennis van die Aand led to my political awareness. Albert Camus's The Outsider helped me survived my Hillbrow days while Jean-Paul Satré followed me through my "Sturm-und-Drang" years. James Mitchener's The Drifters stirred the travel bug in me and took me to Torremolinos and hundreds of other unplanned journeys while Richard Bach and Paulo Coelho kept my spiritual flame burning. But I still enjoy historical fiction (Ken Follet), popular science (Bill Bryson and Richard Dawkins) and easy-read spy and crime novels (Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larson and Lee Child).

I usually avoid fantasy series or stories where the woman is portrayed as a submissive weakling waiting for a strong man to rescue her.

What books are on your nightstand?

Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

Orhan Pamuk: The Museum of Innocence

Martin Meredith: The State of Africa

Paulo Coelho: Hippie

Pieter-Louis Myburgh: Gangster State

What was the last truly great book you read?

Wow! Difficult question. Most probably Ayn Rand's We the Living. (I read Fountainhead many years ago and only recently discovered her other books)

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

I come from a family where reading was encouraged. Being Afrikaans I grew up reading the Bible, teenage series like Trompie, Saartjie, Die Uile, PJ Schoeman's Fanie se Veldskooldae and Leon Rousseau's Fritz Deelman series. Apart from prescribed books, I don't think I read one English book during my school years. It was only during my university years that I discovered the rest of the world in books.

Do you find the process of writing rewarding? Therapeutic? A struggle?

Writing The SABC 8 book was not only therapeutic, but also closure on a dark chapter in my life. I had a tight deadline, but the story was based on real events, backed up with time lines, documents and newspaper articles. I just had to bring it all together in an interesting way.

What is your advice for aspiring authors?

Don't write about something you haven't experienced. If a story refuses to let go of you, tell it. And remember, when the book lands on the shelves you will find yourself walking naked down the street, with strangers discussing your ingrown toe nails, the pimples on your butt, your love handles and sagging boobs. If you don't think you can handle it, don't write.

* Foeta Krige is a veteran journalist with 37 years' experience in print media, television and radio. In 2016, as part of a group of journalists called the SABC 8, he won the Nat Nakasa Award for courageous and brave journalism, as well as the Chairman's Guardian of Governance Award in 2017 from the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa. For the past 14 years he has been the executive producer of the current affairs programmes of the SABC's Afrikaans radio station, RSG.

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