CAREER PROFILE: From writing short stories to publishing books

Tuesday January 23 2018


By Elizabeth Tungaraza

Emmanuel Godfrey Makwaya, also known as Mwalimu Makwaya is not only a teacher of the Word of God, but he’s also an inspirational and motivational speaker.

He holds an Ordinary Diploma in Finance and Banking (ODFB) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Finance (BEF) both from the Institute of Accountancy Arusha (IAA). He’s currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Governance and Development at MS-TCDC Arusha which he will complete in March this year.

Godfrey’s literary career started in 2005 when he was in Form Two. He wrote poems, short stories and inspirational articles which he placed on the school’s notice boards for his fellow students to see and read. His first book “Uhusiano wa Mtu na Mungu” (The Relationship between Man and God) was published in 2012.

He talks to Success;

Even with interesting content to share, why do you think not many people write books?

One thing you have to understand is that most of us were raised in non literary homes. It’s very rare to find a family that sits together and writes family plans for the year. Sure we’ll write them at schools and offices as part of our assignments but not at homes. We have never seen our elders do that. Another fact is you can’t be a good writer without first being a good reader. Most of us do not read as much hence writing is hard if not terrible.


Another reason is that our government has not invested duly into people’s talents including writing compared to America and other western countries. For example, I did one article on social media titled “Taifa na Maktaba” (The Nation and its Library), where I try to show that despite having Libraries in every region across the country including the largest we have in the country - Tanganyika Library in Dar es Salaam, having good informative books is a big challenge. If we have poor books and libraries, it will be hard to produce great authors and poets the likes of Shaaban Robert, Ben Mtobwa, Amri Bawji, Sheikh Amri Abeid etc. In USA for instance, once a presidents finishes His term, they get funds to start a presidential library

If I want to know about Mwalimu Nyerere where do I go and get information about him easily? What about Ali Hasan Mwinyi? Benjamin Mkapa? Jakaya Kikwete? If it is hard to find info about them, it would be even harder to find details about persons who are athletes and businessmen. If we don’t publish about our own people in our own language then it will be hard to cultivate the habit of reading and writing. Only a few privileged to know English might read. This is too important a question to be explained in just a few words but at least you get the picture of why we do not write or read.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Somehow we have started to see some light from afar in writing and reading especially nowadays. This has been catalysed by technology and social media. People are now reading, but the challenge is what they are reading. There are many good authors out there writing great pieces of literary works, but we also have many authors who just copy and paste someone’s work or some translate a piece from English to Swahili and take it as his or her own without proper acknowledgement. Furthermore, we have people who write about business, education, athletics but use examples from America and Western countries which, is not bad in and of itself but, it would be helpful to some extent if we could put more examples of our own. And on that note I say we still have a long way to go in the area of writing.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Content which is found in my books is the main factor. Another reason is the simplicity of the language and frequent examples, and lastly, applicability of what I present in my books (facts, logic and truth)

What projects are you working on at the present?

Hekaya za Hekima which is a four part series of books where I tell short stories on and of wisdom. Of the four, two of them have been published which include Hekaya za Hekima - Babu juu ya kigoda, Hekaya za Hekima, Hekima upenuni, Hekaya za Hekima -Mwalimu Darasani, Hekaya za Hekima - Bibi mkekani. More books are on the way though.

What do your plans for future projects include?

My future plans or vision is to see some of my books in syllabuses of education, either in secondary or in higher education literature. For example my novels “Kalamu ya Mwandishi” (Writer’s pen) and “Kipande cha Ramani” (A Piece of Map) are projects I do for that purpose.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Writing is in my blood now. So early in the morning I have to write something which I post on social media. And then I use anytime I get to work on different projects am pursuing. But mostly I write my books at night and early morning.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ideas are everywhere. In books, in the environment and even in this interview there are lots of ideas. The issue is what you see in everything you are looking at.

I get ideas of my books from the environment and Albert Einstein defines the environment as “everything else which is not me.”

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Different testimonies from my readers and followers: For instance, some of my readers found someone involved in an accident. He was laying down on the road and unconscious. They decided to help him because they found my book with him. And after getting to hospital he phoned me to thank me because people who helped him did so after seeing my book beside him.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Yes I get a lot of feedback from my readers. They are happy for me with my work and they just want me to advertise more of my works so that they can be read by everyone.