FERGUSON PUBLISHES A NOVEL
Lepang Ferguson, a media and communications expert has published her first novel titled, ‘Wildflower Season’.
A career spanning over 20 years, beginning at the United Nations where she was a research intern before she moved on to public relations strategist for media houses, ad agencies, NGOs and production companies to founding Lepang Ferguson International (LFI), has culminated into publishing a work of fiction for Ferguson.
Inspired by recent events across the globe, sparked by protests against racism in the United States and elsewhere, the strong-willed woman wrote to express her massive disdain for racism and social injustice.
“I’ve always had a desire for social activism, and one of the things I despise the most is racism. We witnessed heartbreaking occurrences that left the world feeling like ‘we can’t breathe’ for too long. As far as I was concerned, this was not new, but a reminder of how far we still need to go, and being a part of a global community, we have a responsibility to say something.”
A former news and current affairs editor and anchor, Ferguson’s literary aspirations date back to her childhood when she read Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel- Oliver Twist, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as highly popular children’s books such as Dr Seuss and Archie comics, just to mention a few.
However, she would later be drawn to the works of widely acclaimed writers such as Nobel Laureate, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou, who were themselves activists, and she names as the African American writes as her greatest influences.
Other notables she mentions are; Arundathi Roy, Zadie Smith, Arthur Golden, Alan Paton, and Barbara Kingsolver; “I have been influenced by many authors, particularly those who step out of the cultural box. I love novels because I feel that they don’t restrict the imagination.”
Indeed a quiet time to revisit many deferred dreams, lockdown presented an opportunity for the imaginative Lepang to finally “break down the walls of inhibitions and feelings of vulnerability”, something she says most writers struggle with. Once she overcame those, she determinedly set out to pen this riveting narrative set in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A real page-turner, the book is certainly unputdownable and reminds one of the 2014 historical drama film, Selma, also set in the Deep South; the writer hence named the protagonist after the Selma marches.
“ It is a generational story about a family of gifted dreamers, who have an assignment to help their own people find freedom and equality in a world that has held back their liberty through generations of slavery and segregation. It is a simple story about relationships, divine connections, breaking down barriers and finding confidence in one’s own purpose, enough to pursue what is really important not only for oneself, but also for others.”
She adds that though this work of fiction bears little similarity to her own life, one of the characters, John Alfred, is named after her own grandfather.
“The character is based on the relationship I had with my grandfather, who was my best friend when I was young. He still lingers on because he filled me up with so much; he was a deeply spiritual person and wise. I was fortunate to have spent as much time as I did with him.”
Although most writers struggle with time management, for Lepang, five weeks was enough time to complete writing the 347-page paperback, which took a further 5 weeks to edit. She resolved to remain disciplined, a decision that she made based on the goal she had for publishing.
“I was quite driven throughout the entire process. I created a writing schedule and simply followed through. When I was physically able, I would take on more hours to either write or do some research.”
The mother-of-two kept her writing a secret from her family, only letting in her mentors and confidants.
“My family didn’t know I was writing. I was more focused on finishing the book than talking about it, and I believe that was one very distinctive and valuable lesson I learned. It was more important to use my mental space to write at that time.”
A beneficiary of the prestigious Young African Leaders Initiative – the brainchild of former U.S. President, Barack Obama – Lepang is a believer in infinite possibilities and – through her communications company, LFI Group – also helps women entrepreneurs build their brands.
“I believe wholeheartedly that I came here for something greater than myself, and I have spent most of my life relentlessly searching for that. I am naturally a communicator, but I spent too long not focusing on the essence of how I wanted to communicate, which is through writing. That, in itself, has the potential to span into many other areas, which I believe it will. ”
She also recently featured in the Woman 2 Woman Power Business Breakfast.
“The event gave me the opportunity to share on living a purpose-driven life. That was very timely for me because since I started writing, I had a revelation that writing was my purpose. The more I actively pursued it, the more my life became meaningful in the grand scheme of things. I was able to impact lives in a short space of time.”
The devout Christian, who spends her alone time praying, meditating or reading, says apart from cooking and baking for her family, she also loves adventure and is “a little rough around the edges.”
For aspiring writers, she advises, “Start writing, anything, just start writing!” The book is available for P220 in Gaborone and on Amazon. Call 72613972 or email email@example.com to order your copy.