Exclusive: Beverley Maphakane’s personal journey
Beverley Maphakane is a South African author, transformational speaker, body image activist and fitness enthusiast based in South Africa.
My personal connection with Maphakane dates back to 2021 when we were both a part of an Africa wide leadership fellowship. We immediately connected and I was inspired by her zeal for life and self-confidence. During our conversations she mentioned that she was writing a book. Anybody who knows me, knows that the moment you say you are writing a book you will never hear the last of me! Then in October of 2023 I saw the cover of the book displayed on her social media.
I caught up with the new author to talk a bit more about her book and the long journey to being a published author. *KM – Kudzai Mhangwa; BM – Beverley Maphakane
KM: So congrats on the book finally coming out. How does it feel?
BM: Thank you Kudzai. Now that I have finally put a full stop on the book, I feel so proud and happy.
KM: We met in 2021 and that’s when you told me you were working on a book. Has the process been going on for longer than that?
BM: The process definitely prolonged to longer than I had planned and anticipated. But it was all worth it.
KM: Walk us through the journey of writing the first word and announcing the release of the book.
BM: The first word was written in my personal diary. I went on to write many more in the same diary, as if I was writing to myself. In fact, I was writing to myself trying to come out of the darkness I was in due to my insecurities. As I continued writing, a voice inside of me requested that I need not make it about myself only, but other people as well.
I then started typing on the laptop. Reflecting to how my childhood was and how I reached a point where I was no longer free with myself, and looking at how that impacted me and all the pain and trauma it cost; to thinking about how I can ultimately get out of my shell and find healing for myself and others. The journey of writing was a very challenging one. Firstly, because as much as I’m fascinated by words and writing of others, I had never in my wildest dreams that I would also get to thread words for other people to read. I had self-doubts about my creative writing ability. Also, especially because then I was in a totally different kind of career field. Professionally, I was in finance and was obviously mostly dealing with numbers. So, when the vision to write a book got bestowed on me, I had a lot to learn about the art of writing.
But because, this assignment is bigger than me, I had to use what I had and what I knew to keep me going. Jotting down one word at a time, continuous reading and learning, editing my own work and correcting myself until I was satisfied with it.
KM: ‘Beauty Lives in my eyes. I am the beholder’. Interesting title. What brought about this particular title?
BM: To be honest, coming up with this title was the easiest part of this book. It’s in fact the first I came up with and solidly decided on before I even “officially” started writing the book. I needed to not even think about it. Believe me you, it was shown in my dream. And I did not even question nor tried to analyse that. I just took and ran with it.
KM: You know from my point of view; we are getting a lot of self-help and memoir books on the market. What makes yours different from others?
BM: This is more than just a “self-help” book. It is a vulnerable and all-round punchy story of a young lady who used her insecurities to transcend life challenges, find her passion and purpose. So many people will practically relate and be compelled to go deep within themselves and find healing and light.
KM: What can readers expect from your book?
BM: My life’s story from childhood, to adult self. Yet in a way, a story, of many others who were born different and embraced their being. Until their external world told them that they needed to abide by the body image absurd standards of their respective societies. They can also expect to be touched by my story and feel compelled to confront their own insecurities and find healing and purpose within themselves.
KM: From the chapters in your book ‘Frowning at the sight of my hand’, ‘Getting burned by the same flame twice’, ‘Making and losing it in corporate’. These are heavy subjects! How did it feel like to reveal so much about yourself?
BM: At first heavy, at least at first. It’s not an easy thing to be vulnerable. The thought of the world reading about my life terrified me. But it was the fire within my soul that kept me going. There was this urge and relentless that I needed to be the one to do it. To tell my story as it is, so that I can touch and heal at least one soul other than mine. I couldn’t ignore that burning call of my soul, no matter how many times I contemplated on backing out.
KM: You wrote on a social media post “I need to be free with myself”. How do you define freedom from oneself?
BM: Freedom for me is being myself, without needing to conceal any part of me. Especially for anyone else’s comfort.
KM: So was writing the book a step to freedom from your own devils?
BM: Definitely and more than that. Writing this book has relieved me from all the things that had chained me down.
KM: In a short space of time ‘Beauty lives in my eyes’ comes out [30 October]. What can readers expect and what are your final words to the readers?
BM: ‘Beauty Lies In My Eyes’ is a must-get memoir which offered you a deeply personal lens into my life. My message to everyone is: Be your authentic self. Everyone else is taken. Harness that as authenticity because you will find your own light through it. By just being you, you get to connect with your soul. And there is no bigger win in life than that.
‘Beauty Lies in My Eyes. I am the beholder’ is out on the 30th of October and is available for pre-order from Maphakane’s social media handles.