Seven years ago, if you had told Sesilia Nekwaya that she would be an author of a book, she would have brushed off the idea.
Today, the self-published, 26-year-old is a proud author of the book titled “The Process”.
“Growing up, I desired to have influence of some sort but I didn’t, in my wildest dreams, see myself becoming an author. But then life played me through the process and gave me a story,” Nekwaya told New Era this week, as she narrated how the book was birthed.
During our interview, the former New Era Youth Corner columnist, had to reject a few phone calls from readers wanting to buy the book.
The support she has received is enormous, she admits. In fact, it is beyond what she had expected.
By yesterday, she had sold over 300 copies, exactly one week and one day after the book was launched.
“The first time when I released the cover and the teaser people from all over the country were supportive and expressed that they could not wait for the book to be printed,” Nekwaya said enthusiastically.
That prompted her to come up with pre-orders. Before the launch, Nekwaya had 130 readers, who had paid for their book orders.
“People were ordering and I was so amazed at the support and interest that I got. The interest is amazing, I didn’t anticipate this and everyday it’s just selling,” she added.
In the book, Nekwaya takes the reader through her life challenges that stem mainly from an identity crisis and how that shaped her into the woman she is today.
The book is special, she added. This is because “it’s real and uncut”.
She candidly put it this way: “The book is about things that people don’t like to admit, the insecurities and the negative thoughts.” A scan through Nekwaya’s Facebook profile reveals just how much the book is popular, as people are constantly enquiring on how they could get a copy.
“Somebody said to me: ‘Had I read this book before, I wouldn’t have made mistakes’. And I said, ‘If I had read a book like that before, there wouldn’t be ‘The Process’ today’.”
The book, Nekwaya said, is dedicated to young girls, especially those in high school and university because they are easy targets of identity crises.
In fact, Nekwaya plans to have talks with high school learners by sharing her story, which she hopes would encourage them to lookout for some of the pitfalls that teenagers and young adults face during the prime of their years.
Growing up, Nekwaya had a relatively “drama-free” life and held a number of leadership positions in high school, including head girl. At university (in 2011) in her first year, all of that changed when she tried to fit in with the peer pressure of being ‘cool’ and accepted.
She started to party, lost focus and into her second year, she fell pregnant. Not long after that, Nekwaya secretly got married in court and notified her mother after the marriage.
Six months down the pregnancy and after exactly one week of marriage married, her husband who is seven years her senior, decided he did not want to be married. The next year their union was annulled.
“I had to move back to my mother’s house. I was very broken. I was in a very bad place. I just felt like life played me because I had so many dreams and so many aspirations and I just don’t know how I got here,” Nekwaya looked back on the choices she made.
She prayed for a second chance and vowed to be focused if God granted her request. “I didn’t want to be remembered as a shame,” she added, reciting her prayer: “God if you just give me back everything that I had, I will do better.”
After giving birth, she went back to school and made smarter choices. Today, Nekwaya is an Assistant Economist and she is living “her dream life”. The book, Nekwaya explained, is aimed at encouraging, especially broken people, that they can achieve their dreams, regardless of where they have been.
Putting her story out there came with its own challenges, one of them being the ‘embarrassment’ of the choices she made. She also struggled with giving the book a title.
“I thought of titling it ‘The life of an insecure yet confident girl’ because that’s what I was. I looked very confident but I was so insecure (growing up),” she said. She eventually titled the book ‘The Process’.
“When I sent the book to the editors, I realised that my life is a process. I saw my thought patterns and realised that I became everything I aspired to be (when I was a child), the mistakes, the negative and the positive,” she said, adding, “Therefore, people should focus their attention on positive thoughts.”
Although it is too soon, Nekwaya said she would write more books in the future. However, for now, the aim is to have talks, “especially with Grade 12s”, she said.