The Cheeky Natives: A literary Podcast

Cheeky Natives

The Cheeky Natives is a podcast focusing on the review, curating and archiving of African Black literature. The South African duo behind the podcast, Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane and Alma-Nalisha Cele share unrivaled interviews in conversation with various African Black authors. The interviews are a window glimpse into the thought processes and factors shaping the nature and final product of each unique author’s creative work.

The Cheeky Natives have interviewed Rémy Ngamije, Sue Nyathi, Rosie Motene, Nozizwe Jele, Panashe Chigumadzi, Sara-Jayne King, Zinzi Clemmons, and Qarnita Loxton. These are but a few of the big literal names who have graced this riveting podcast.

Afrobloggers managed to interview The Cheeky Natives to understand what it takes to run such a stellar podcast that is fast becoming popular with many African authors and book lovers:

What influenced your choice of medium? Why did you choose to do podcasting?

At the time that we established the podcast, we were motivated by what we felt was a dearth of critical engagement with the work of Black writers. There would be these reviews of white authors in large newspapers and the same medium would publish two lines of uncritical reviews for Black authors.

We realized we wanted to have critical engagement in a medium that was easily accessible and podcasts provided that. We also realised that fewer people were reading print media hence we sought to become the company that people would want to keep as they do their day to day activities such as driving to work.

Listening to your podcast one easily picks up the sense of comfort in the air. How do you manage to make your guest so comfortable? What preparation precedes the interview?

Preparation is key to having successful interviews. It’s also a sign of respect for the authors and their work to read, critically analyse and engage with their work. We discuss all work prior to the interview and also refer to reviews and interviews. We also let the author know that it is a conversation and not necessarily a question and answer session.

What stands out about this podcast is how authors can speak about their recent works in a refreshing way that allows their readers to experience them in a way they never could have imagined… The engagement that is offered on the podcast is frankly not being offered elsewhere.

Okay Africa

What factors do you consider when choosing a guest? Have you ever avoided inviting certain black authors on your podcast for any other reason? 

Our choices are multi-factorial. We are influenced by our mission to create a canon of critical engagement with Black writers. We believe that the personal is political, so authors who are trans-phobic, queer-phobic, anti-Black and the like are not welcome on our platform. 

With the continent’s high data costs,  are there other offline ways you are engaging your audience?

You are able to download our podcasts for offline listening, which saves a lot of data. So, that is one way in which we have ensured that people access the podcast.

How are you sourcing resources to sustain your podcast? How can those willing to assist you, contribute?

This podcast is in many ways a labour of love and so we’ve used many personal resources to sustain it.  We have registered it as a company providing a number of services, which people can buy. Apart from these services, we also encourage people to support us through other our ventures such as in The Live Literature Market. Look out for new merchandise coming out soon!

What will a successful and fully-fledged Cheeky Natives look like in 5 years?

We’re sitting having this interview in The Cheeky Natives Bookshop that is a space for music, poetry and book lovers. We have expanded the Live Literature Market into different provinces. We are also hoping to do a lot more live conversations.  

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