Get to know author Benon Talemwa
Benon TALEMWA is a socio-economist, a project management professional and a gender expert. He has written widely on economic transformation through social prosperity, gender equality and complementarity.
A son of an exiled African family, he was born and raised in an era of, political turbulence, social stress, economic deprivation and domineering patriarchy. All these tantamount to physical and psychological stress that sends whispers of defeat in the ears of the victim.
The author’s craving for prosperity, despite barriers, affirms the fact that success is a function of persistence and zeal. By his age, Benon’s life story deconstructs the world’s generalized view of the youth as impatient, radical and or irrational decision makers.
As a son of an African nomad, distracted in all senses, he was expected to continue as an illiterate cowboy, but he had a different dream. Battling financial and social deprivation, he demonstrated unwavering zeal to defeat inherited deprivation through education as his calling.
At a later stage, on return to his country, Benon joined a team of his countrymen that shaped social policies tailored to address historical injustice, inequality and deprivation, pushing his country from deprivation to advantage.
Ramona: Tell me more about your latest book
Benon: This book is about the importance of faith and positive patience to keep man live aboard mother earth, a staggering sea of uncertainties. Referring to Betty Mills, this faith alluded to is believing the impossible, seeing the invisible and achieving the incredible. This is my line of writing.
I call upon men and women to desist from being slaves of their past. I encourage creative destruction of one’s troubled past, transcending repeated defeats to live one’s dreams. This applies across age, color, geographical location, faith and jurisdiction.
I want to say that success and failure; all lie in our hands. That our attitude will ever determine our altitude in life. That our choice between faith and resilience over doubt and retreat determines our destiny in success or failure, in whatever we dream of.
A section of the book recounts the life of a young Rwandan, second-generation exile, managing the consequences of a distorted past and chapter breaks, battling a crisis of identity, with a foreign name, foreign accent and foreign norms, yet trying to reconnect back to the roots.
This message however doubles as our jubilant tone of victory over forces of assimilation, in exile when we chose to be bound by the defining tenets of Rwandan tradition, even though this attracted more risks than opportunities, those days where we lived in exile.
Today, much as there are many opportunities to young people out there, there are equally more constraints that keep them bound from realising their prospects, in a do-or-die capitalism. The book “Mysterious Privilege is a living testimony of the possibility of defeating deprivation, trading on hard work, resilience and positive patience, against odds of life.
This book is timely. It comes at the time when many young people especially in developing world are battling consequences of an ugly past and or present, such as wars and violence, poverty and disease outbreaks. I know, most of the youth, walk with; dreams ambitious enough but overly constrained and sleeping talents devoid of opportunities to shine. The message herein evokes the spirit of positive patience among those whose dreams are still constrained. It is an assurance that delayed gratification is not eternal deprivation. It is a call to keep keeping on, no matter the prevailing storms and winds.
Ramona: What was the most challenging aspect of writing?
Benon: Honestly, the journey of writing is trying and a test to one’s patience, more so for a first time author. However, it was a lifetime experience that remains forever. As a first-time writer, struggling through the hectic drafting and endless editing, trying to put a forest of feelings into a logically appealing piece, was an uphill task to me.
In one section of my mind, everything of this story made sense but in another, it was probably not so to everybody else out there. Meeting readers’ expectations and balancing their appetite to keep reading was a scare through this process. However, I learnt that the devil is in the fear of starting and sustaining the move. Making good judgement over what the reader needed to know without necessarily divulging into generic or personal life stories was a test to my wisdom.
Ramona: What motivated you to become an author?
Benon: The auspicious luck to transition from a cowboy born and raised deep in African Savanah grasslands, a son of 3 decade-long refugee disowned both in the home and host countries, was greatly my reason to write.
The day God chose me to stand as an outlier in the sea of such opposing currents, from a nomad to a technocrat back home, I realised I carried a big story, too big to be kept perpetually private. I knew there were so many young people battling deprivation and embedded inequality, with talents constrained by lack of moral boost and a seed of faith that comes from hearing. I wanted to share my story on how at times even for an amateur, we need to dare swim through rivers hoping to learn-by-doing.
Ramona: What brought you to write your books?
Benon: I simply wanted to portray the importance of keeping hope alive even when and where it is less expected. I wanted to share with the youth that hard work and peaceful patience is a magic formula, freely available to us all in this world of ever-growing lack.
I wanted to inform especially the youth in corridors of deficiency that fuming, cursing and retreating in the face of uncertainties is an act of self-demotion. That rather, unconditional patience and the faith of a saint will make the world’s weak come out as winners as the mighty but impatient are in free fall.
I want people to know that the world still has young people who believe in delayed gratification, sacrificing cheap wins for substantial emancipation. My life’s story deconstructs the world’s generalized view of the youth as impatient, forceful, and radical and or irrational decision makers. No, we are not.
Ramona: How many books have you written so far? List and name them all here
Benon: This is my first official book.
Ramona: How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?
Benon: Everyone needs to publish with a reputable publisher. However, these investors are too conservative to accept new comers in the publishing industry. They need big names. Securing a stage in the limelight to prove one’s potential remains an uphill task. Most of the new comers resort to self-publishing. Even for this, the finances tend to be an issue for a first time author.
Writing is a demanding call. Given the market dynamics, quitting fulltime employment to writing as a career remains problematic. Thus, juggling between formal employment and writing has been an uphill task.
Ramona: What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
· Dreams from my father-Barrack Obama
· Audacity of Hope- Barrack Obama
· Becoming-Michel Obama
· Battlefield of the Mind-Joyce Meyer
Ramona: What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Benon: The devil is in the fear of starting. Please write and once you do, never retreat until the last norm of writing is addressed. By surprise, you will find yourself a published author.
Visit Benon Talemwa book links:-