by Ace Moloi
(Blackbird Books) ISBN 9781928337294
Ace Moloi invites you into his
life where he writes an intimate, sad letter to his single mother ten years
after her death.
Even though Ace is the youngest
child, he had to grow up almost immediately and automatically become head of
the household when his aunt leaves home and his older brother struggles to come
to terms with the death of their mother. Ace longs for his mom’s guidance. Even
though his mother had died she still reminded him of the teachings of their
culture. Born in Qwa-Qwa, Eastern Free State, Ace takes us on a journey as he
goes through his rather grim childhood and all the challenges he faced with the
racial division at university including the political challenges in South
During Ace’s quest to find
answers he embarks on a journey to find his father only to be disappointed. Ace
has written a truly heartfelt and inspiring memoir to his mom that has left me
thinking that regardless of all the adversity you go through, you can always rise
above it and choose to change the direction of your life. Tracy-Ann Damonswww.writerswrite.co.za
Holding My Breath
is an apt title as Ace Moloi is always awaiting the next
calamity. This memoir is presented as a letter to his deceased mother who
passes away when he is thirteen. Ace and his older brother are raised in a
single-parent home, so losing their mother means losing their anchor. Ace feels
he has to break the family pattern of dire poverty and decides to drive himself
towards this vision in thought and action.
His memoir describes the earlier
years spent in his great-grandmother's house. There are others in this house
but they feel like outsiders. Then the two brothers and their mother move to a
single room shack. Life is very difficult, but Ace does well in school even as
he struggles with asthma.
Their mother's step-father dies
and leaves them his house. His mother earns R700 per month and works under
appalling conditions. Ace goes to Phiri Intermediate School in Qwa Qwa, Free
State, where he excels. He wants to be a footballer but realises as a village
boy there is no chance he will be successful.
His mother dies just before he
passes Grade 9 and a monster arrives at the house - his aunt's boyfriend. It is
a terrifying situation having no parent to turn to, and when his aunt leaves,
they are left destitute. With all his trials and tribulations, Ace still
becomes the village role model as he passes matric with a good academic record.
Ace visits his father but
realises he has lost nothing. Perhaps his absence was a blessing in disguise.
Now Ace has to make it on his own. He has been given a bursary to University of
the Free State and graduates with a degree in corporate and marketing
communications. He gains a leadership position in his residence and is involved
with campus media. In December 2014 he becomes an intern for Johannesburg Roads
Holding My Breath is a heart-rending account of an underprivileged boy who
pushes through extremely difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, he is not
alone. To move ahead under these appalling conditions takes the ultimate courage