WHEN accidental writer Mike Maphoto penned the well-received Diary of a Zulu Girl, little did he know he would be starting a national trend that would have a life of its own on social networks, especially in Port Elizabeth.
From KwaMagxaki telesales consultant Thabang Machona telling the story of a township man dealing with everyday issues of love, life and crime in The Diary of a Kasi Taxi Driver to unemployed Mbasa Yona with his group of party girls in Diary of icherry Yomjaivo, these blog-like Facebook entries have become so popular they keep insomniacs company at night as they wait for new chapters to be uploaded.
For Yona, the story of Diary of icherry Yomjaivo (party girl) was something that needed to be told and the fact that he was a man did not deter him one bit.
The 27-year-old said he was sitting with one of his friends thinking about Diary of a Kasi Taxi Driver when he thought he should do something of his own. “I asked a few friends what they thought about the idea and they liked it. And last Wednesday I created the page and it’s been amazing.”
It has only been a week and already Diary of icherry Yomjaivo has received almost 15000 likes.
“I couldn’t believe it. It managed to get 3000 likes on the first day and it’s just grown in heaps and bounds. I honestly thought we would get about 2000 at most for the week.”
The shy KwaMagxaki man said while he was not competing with the other diaries on Facebook, it certainly did not hurt that he had managed to do better than most. His story is based on a group of girls who have a hectic lifestyle.
“Icherry Yomjaivo is the girl who has to go out every weekend. The girl who wants to be seen at all the right places with all the right clothes. It’s that girl with the short skirt, expensive high heels and well-done makeup some women like to hate. I guess people relate to it as it has gone national.”
Yona’s story is based on three fictional friends – Palesa, Nomathemba (both 21) and Anathi, 24 – who see older women pulling off the life they want to live.
He said some of his friends were women so that made it slightly easier to write from that perspective.
“People like socialising and talking about their weekend, so I get a lot of material from that. And from the places I go to.”
He writes about four chapters a day, but plans to reduce it to three so his followers have more to look forward to the next day.
“Before I start writing, I formulate what should happen at the end of the day’s chapters and write towards it.”
Yona, who knows the difference between a stiletto and a platform heel, believes people would not be surprised he is the one behind the story.
His older sister, Nwabisa, said: “Untondo wasekhaya [my mother’s last born] can really tell a story but no one knew it would get this big this soon. It’s gone viral, there are people in Johannesburg talking about it. It’s even become one of those suggested pages on Facebook,” she said.
Yona has taken his story a little further. “I decided to open a website for it after I got a call from Vince Mnyameni [an IT specialist] who suggested it and I thought why not? It’s for the people who are not on Facebook so they can access the Diary of icherry Yomjaivo wherever they are.”