“Words written down never perish,” are the words that stuck in Nhlanyiso Shiviri’s head and inspired him to become an author. His uncle, who took over a fatherly role in his life after his father’s death, uttered those words to him and he has never looked back since.

The 26-year-old author is from Dan Village in Limpopo. His father died when he was four years old and was raised by his grandmother, Martha Modjadji Mhlongo, mother and uncles.

 Life had its hardships but, he says, he chose ambition over adversity. He loved public speaking since he was young and was part of a debate team in high school.

He describes himself as “not a typical writer with the writers’ look.” All he needs, he says, is his diary, colourful pens and a phone to jot a few notes/ideas anytime of the day when they spring to mind. He then types everything on his laptop days later.

Shiviri says young people justifying their wrong actions as a mistake sparked the interest in him to find out more about the meaning of the word. To find an answer to the nagging question in his mind– he turned to the Bible for answers and read the first three books of Genesis.

Post the reading and lot of prayer – the title What is A Mistake? was born and the writing started. After he had written about 27 pages of the book, he met his mentor Moffat Sebola – a fellow author, academic, member of the Students Christian Organisation and lecturer at the University of Limpopo during a service in 2017. Shiviri says he admired Sebola’s character and his principles and he knew that he should be close to the man.

“I approached him and we started working and praying together, he helped me with the thinking process and structuring of all the parts of the book … when the book was published earlier in the year boosted of 22 chapters with 190 pages.”

What is A Mistake? was published early in 2020 and Shiviri says he is currently working on his second publication titled The Rejected Boy. He plans publishing it in 2021.

“The hardest part of being a writer is once you start (writing) – it is hard to stop,” Shiviri says.

He has big dreams for his village and its people. “I proudly call myself a Bokoharamian with a good heart, wishing to remove the reputation of crime attached to my village someday for good,” he says.

Boko Haram gangsters terrorised Dan Village residents for several years. Things improved when some of the gang members were convicted for various crimes in 2018. There were concerns of a resurgence of the violence recently, but there has been no police confirmation regarding the claims.

 Shiviri wishes to run a first shopping mall for his village to create employment for the locals.

“It does not matter where I go or what I achieve in life part of me will always be a part of Dan Village. I want to be the first youngest highly qualified professor from Dan Village before I turn 35.”

 Shiviri currently holds an honours degree in Psychology from University of Limpopo, Makweng.

Quick facts about Nhlanyiso Shiviri:

  • Lost his father to death at age four in 1998. His uncle became the father and mentor.
  • His uncle once said in 2018 “words written down never perish” the words stuck in his head and inspired him to be an author.
  • He is also a Motivational Speaker.
  • He is a father of two, with two sisters and a brother.
  • To date, 60 copies of What is a Mistake? have been published; 50 sold for R200 each and 10 given away to everyone who helped him achieve his goal. He sells the book himself and to get a copy you can call him on 076 909 7212 or email on shivirishaun@gmail.com

To follow him on Social Media:

–          Facebook: Shaun Nhlayi Shiviri

–          Twitter: @shaun_shiviri

–          Instagram: shaun_za_shiviri