Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
This is the name of a 21-year-old Tafelsig man’s second digital book. The title is taken from a quote by the American activist Martin Luther King Jr.
The book, by Mujaheed Martin who attended Huguenot Primary School in Tafelsig and Oval North High School in Beacon Valley, is about gender-based violence.
Mujaheed said it was written in honour of the women who are victims of this crime, and to give them a platform to break their silence and share their stories without having their identities exposed.
He told the Plainsman he completed the 33-page e-book, which he has released in PDF format, in three weeks.
It all started, he said, with a post on WhatsApp and Facebook, in which he told people he planned to write a book about gender-based violence and invited those who wanted to share their stories with him confidentially, to do so.
Some of the responses from his friends surprised him, he said.
“I had no idea. Those I wrote about and knew, they smiled and carried on with their lives but they didn’t talk about it. I am proud of them coming forward, being brave, sharing their own stories to me,” he said.
“I never thought that I would write books. It was a spur of the moment experience. I decided to just try, which is how the first ebook, released in February, Soe Praat n Bek, came into existence.”
That book, which is about the social ills experienced by people living on the Cape Flats, is available in digital format, at R50 each.
“It’s a guide for the youth who live on the Cape Flats. The book is written in slang to make it more relatable to people,” he said.
“After receiving good feedback from those who read the first book, it inspired me to write the second one,” said Mujaheed.
After Mujaheed saw Newton Photography’s photo series on gender-based violence, he contacted photographer Sanman Newton Basson and the results of a photoshoot they worked on together were included in the final edition of Mujaheed’s book.
But Mujaheed knows he will have to do more than publish digital books to sustain himself. He has also started a shuttle service which has been running for six months and does digital marketing packages for small businesses. He also started an initiative called My Child is Your Child through which he does a good deed each month to benefit children.
In January and February My Child is Your Child donated school supplies to various children in need on the Cape Flats; and during March and April, they donated basic necessities to Baitul Ansaar children’s centre in Beacon Valley.
He is currently collaborating with Hustlers Van Kaapstad for a blanket drive which will take place on Saturday June 12.
While he was never passionate about writing, he said, he had always scored good marks for it in school.
He told Plainsman he had wanted to be a soccer player or civil engineer, but instead he ended up on an entrepreneurial journey.
“The idea to write just came to me. My former English teacher Lynette Brown said she was proud of me. I am thankful to her for all her help in class, it paid off,” he said.
“After the response from people I am glad I did it. It made me realise how we don’t know what people really go through and how brave they really are.”
His second book is selling at R50. To buy a copy or to donate to the blanket drive, WhatsApp Mujaheed at 068 286 8010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact Neil Lakay at 073 873 7173 to donate to the blanket drive which will continue throughout June.