Lihle Sokapase

Lihle Sokapase was born on the 17th of December 1990. He grew up in two towns; firstly, in Butterworth where he got his primary education; thereafter, he went to Fort Beaufort where he got his secondary education — both are small towns in the Eastern Cape. His outlook on life, not only as an author but also as a person, is influenced largely by his experiences in those two towns during his formative years. After matriculating he went to study Information Technology (IT) at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in East London. Even though he had told stories to his friends since primary school, it was at WSU where he began writing them down.

He began with short stories, writing only in English back in those days. Poetry had always been a part of him, but he wrote mainly to his love interests, denying the general public an opportunity to witness his prowess.

Lihle’s love for storytelling began at an early age. His brother — who is three years older than him — is the one who whetted his appetite for the hobby. Back in his boyhood days in Butterworth, he and his brother shared a bed, and whenever they went to sleep, his brother would improvise a story until Lihle fell asleep and he — completely in the dark both literally and figuratively — was telling the story to himself! After Lihle had graduated from WSU he found a job in Johannesburg, where he is still based. His love for reading was always evident, particularly at WSU where he was exposed to a lot of books. Unfortunately for him, the books he could find at the university library were all in English. He began to yearn for the isiXhosa literature that he took for granted in secondary school; the literature that was part of the curriculum.Even when he got to Johannesburg, he struggled to find anything written in isiXhosa. So, he took matters into his own hands; he decided that if he cannot find isiXhosa literature then he’ll produce it! He wanted to rekindle the fire that was started by the likes of Mqhayi, Jolobe, Yako, Sinxo, Jordan and many others.So far, he has published two books — a novelette titled, ‘Uloyiso Lothando’, and a novella titled, ‘Yapatyalaka Ibhobhile’. He aims to write more in the future. But his main interest is the promotion of isiXhosa literature generally, not only his books in particular. Hence, he opened his own publishing company called Ngqa Phambili Publishing, which has published both of his books. Utilising his skills as a qualified software developer, he has also created an online isiXhosa journal called Soluncwadi (, for which he is the editor. He uses the platform to promote isiXhosa literature. In September 2021 he was a guest alongside Mzoli Mavimbela on UMHLOBO WENENE FM and UCR FM, where they discussed the significance of reading and writing in indigenous languages.