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Photo credit: Gareth Smit

“ By giving my characters such names I was also quietly saying ‘we need new names, we need a new president, a new reality’.

” While reading ‘We Need New Names’ I was struck by the spectacular names of the characters and the title of the book itself, how did you come up with the title and what influenced the names of the characters? The title of the book was a happy accident. I actually came up with a list of possible titles and I had decided on a different title altogether when I chanced upon ‘We Need New Names’.

I settled for it because it spoke volumes about what I was going for in the book. The names in the book are a celebration of my culture. All our names mean something and speak something. In this story, I was writing about the things that were happening at home and by giving my characters such names I was also quietly saying ‘we need new names, we need a new president, a new reality’. I call this book a love letter to my country. I also believe it applies to the rest of Africa. So much needs to be done and we need new ways of doing things. >>>


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