A Strandfontein man tells his first fictional tale about teenagers journeying through Mitchell’s Plain and their dreams and aspirations, crossing some interesting obstacles on their way.
Readers may even identify some Mitchell’s Plain landmarks in the story.
Nigel Sims, 52, from Strandfontein, grew up in Westridge, from the age of 10 to 23. Mr Sims attended Harvester Primary School and Westridge High School.
The title of Mr Sims’ fictional novel is Plain life and it has an ambiguous meaning, he said.
“It indicates the setting and how, from an ordinary, simplistic upbringing, we can still achieve and become the best we can be,” said Mr Sims.
It is a tale of a group of teenagers journeying from their primary school days through high school and into their tertiary studies. Along the way, their dreams and aspirations are curtailed and battered by various obstacles but with the help of their parents, elders and each other, they persevere and experience ultimate success. These successes relate to their academics, sporting prowess and relationships, he said.
In the book, Tahir, Tammy, Michael, Sharifa and Megan each experience a journey of self-discovery, but it is their collective as friends which Plain life themes.
The setting is within Mitchell’s Plain and readers will be able to identify various landmarks and maybe even some of the characters within the novel, he said.
To find inspiration, it may often be the easiest route of the unknown to start with the known, he said.
“I therefore started writing the first few chapters using my own childhood encounters. As the book unfolded, the creative nature of adding, twisting and playing with the beauty and the power of words, provided this unique story to shape itself.
“I did not want to write a, now all too familiar non-fiction book about Mitchell’s Plain, but rather a fresh fictional novel showcasing creativity and vibrancy by the use of words,” said Mr Sims.
As the novel evolved he increasingly wrote and read Plain life from the mind of a teenager. The book has a readership spectrum across all ages, but he realised it could be an amazing inspiration to the youth to read more because here is a book relative to their age and vicissitudes of life.
“This is my first book and I decided to venture the self-publication route. It is extremely hard work but the sense of self-fulfilment far outweighs this,” Mr Sims said.
His book allowed him to assist a few prospective writers going the self-publishing way.
He is currently a physical education educator in the United Arab Emirates. He has been there for five years and teaching for 30 years overall. “I love teaching, being active and alive,” he said.
He travels a few hours to work every day and decided in May 2018 to use this time effectively and started blogging.
“I have always loved the power and effect of words. How it can beautify the simplest things and transform anything dormant into life,” said Mr Sims.
Since he started blogging two years ago it was humbling to receive reviews and feedback on his writing and the positive impact it had on people’s lives. His blog was focused on inspirational stories and life lessons.
“My family also plays a significant role as a support base,” he said.
He has started a second book, factual and based on current events in the world, a few months ago when the lockdown period started.
He successfully launched Plain life in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as he was unable to return to Cape Town for his school vacation due to Covid-19 and there were many South Africans in Dubai.
Remarkably Plain life was launched in Mitchell’s Plain, a few weeks ago and Mr Sims could meet the multitudes who turned up via Zoom. The novel is currently retailing at R180 at five Kwikspar stores in Strandfontein, Groote Schuur, Grassy Park, Kromboom and Ottery.
Many are requesting the ongoing story of Plain life as a sequel as well and it is definitely a possibility for the near future, he said.
“I have had the privilege to interact with all the Grade 7 pupils of an independent school in Cape Town, which was an awesome experience. I really wish more of our younger generation can be exposed to books which they can relate to. It is also satisfying to be able to inspire prospective writers from this generation. We all have a story to be told. Young or not so young anymore, it is never too late,” said Mr Sims.
To contact Mr Sims for more information on writing and storytelling, WhatsApp him at 073 869 0968.