Tumi Morake’s CV is impressive. The award-winning comedian, producer, scriptwriter, and radio and TV personality is now adding author to her considerable talents. This week marked the official launch of her book, And Then Mama Said… – inspired by her late mother.
The launch – an intimate affair attended by fans, colleagues, close friends and family – took place on Wednesday at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park. Guests were welcomed with cocktail juice, wine and snacks.
Radio and TV host Anele Mdoda, who always has her make-up on point, guided guests through the book while in conversation with Morake.
The two women discussed a range of issues, from what inspired the book and the process of writing it – “many sleepless nights”, admitted Morake – to her controversial Jacaranda FM exit and the body-shaming she has endured.
What many people may not know is that Morake has always been a writer. She penned much of the material for her satirical late-night SABC3 talk show, #WTFTumi, as well as for other shows, and is the recipient of a Golden Horn for Best Achievement in Scriptwriting in a TV Comedy. But writing her book scared her, she said. “I was scared that I am not making anything up. I was scared that I am not joking now. Now I am telling you the truth and I am not sugar-coating it.
“I enjoyed remembering my hunger for something [in writing the book]. When you are in the industry, you forget the hunger that got you there. I remember not having money to attend those SABC workshops and I had to walk [from Yeoville].”
Out to support Morake were celebrities and fellow comedians Ndumiso Lindi, Joey Rasdien, Chris Forrest and Glen Biderman-Pam. Actresses Rami Chuene and Leeanda Reddy were there too.
Morake could not stop gushing about her husband, actor Mpho Osei-Tutu, seated in the front row right across from her.
Lindi told City Press he was looking forward to reading the book. “Tumi is unpredictable. I haven’t read the book, but what I know is she learnt a lot from her mom. I am excited; I remember when she told me she was writing a book, I was, like, ‘Go for it.’ There were times when I couldn’t reach her because she was so into writing it.”
Mdoda said the book epitomised who Morake was. “I told her that there is no way she is going to allow people to destroy something that they did not have a part in building. This book is about watching an entire house being built.
“It is very rare that you find a celebrity writing a book that is so normal. In all your mistakes, tears and successes, you will feel very normal,” Mdoda said of the book.
Morake, a mother of three, said she would love her kids to learn from her. She told the audience that she initially proposed two books, which became one. Common to both books were the things her mother used to say.
After her 30-minute conversation with Mdoda, guests were given an opportunity to ask questions. Then came time for buying the book and getting that unique Morake autograph.