Everyone wants the best for their children, and no one understands this better than ProVerb – a South African father, entertainer and entrepreneur who has witnessed the power of books to unlock life’s potential. Having recently issued his memoir – The Book of ProVerb, he has joined the Nal’ibali campaign to help inspire children across South Africa to get reading.
1. Your own life is a bit of a fairy tale: Born in Kimberly, you are now a famous entertainer and entrepreneur living in Gauteng! Did you dream of being famous as a child, and what inspired you?
My life is hardly a fairy tale. It’s been riddled with challenges and obstacles, just like anybody else’s, but I am most certainly living my dream!
As a youngster, I wanted to become a renowned rapper. I chased that dream so hard that I ignored many other opportunities. Since reaching that goal, I’ve realised that my life has lots of further potential. Now, I’m empowering myself through studies, reading widely and being open to many different experiences – whether they be business, non-profit, entertainment or literacy related.
Back then, I was inspired by my desire for my talent to be heard. Now I’m inspired to live an impactful life, make a difference, and build and leave a legacy.
2. Life has its ups and downs, and you’ve had your fair share. However, reading and writing can be healing experiences. Tell us about the process of writing your book and how reading has helped you navigate life.
Although my mediums have been music, radio, and television, I have always been a storyteller, so physically writing a book was new. I published my memoir in collaboration with co-author Sis Paballo Rampa. The process was daunting at first, but later it became empowering as I reclaimed the narrative of my life. I found it cathartic as it enabled me to find the closure I needed. Symbolising the literal conclusion of some chapters of my life, it gave me a sense of freedom and peace, and also excitement about the new chapters I’m yet to write.
3. You’re also a father; how has having children changed you, and what key messages about parenting would you like to pass on?
I identify as a father before anything else! My children give my life perspective and purpose. I try and teach them all I can, but I also learn plenty from them.
There is no one-size-fits-all guide to parenting. All children and adults are unique. My style is to engage my kids personally and create an environment where they can share and express themselves freely and know that they are heard, seen and prioritised.
I try to empower my kids to be independent and discern between right and wrong for themselves. I do make it clear that I am their parent and will guide them along the way, but that mistakes are normal, and we will learn from them (including mine!) together.
4. You’ve also recently joined Nal’ibali. Why have you chosen to be a reading role model?
I think it is so vital that we encourage a culture of reading, especially among young people. Devices have monopolised our attention, and we need to restimulate our imaginations. Books force our brains to work and develop, so we must inculcate a culture of reading.
5. They say a good children’s book should be enjoyable to all ages. Which book did you most enjoy reading with your kids?
My kids and I got into the Harry Potter series. We also used the movies as a way to compare and talk about the books. This gave us a shared topic to discuss. They are now at the ages where they have interesting perspectives and interpretations of things, making for refreshing discussions.
In my household, we make sure to visit bookstores regularly and, now and then, they’re allowed a new book each. School also keeps them engaged, and being a student myself, we often sit in my office together, reading and working on our assignments.