Five Questions for Five Decades
March Reader Spotlight: Makafane Tšepang NtlamelleMarch 21, 2023
In this new feature, we’ve asked Sun subscribers and contributors about their experience with the magazine and their thoughts about the future.
Makafane Tšepang Ntlamelle was born and raised in Maseru, Lesotho. When he is not writing stories he hopes are at least comprehensible, he can be found in the kitchen trying out new baking recipes.
1. Do you remember when you first started reading The Sun? How did you discover it?
In early 2020 I came across an article in an African book blog that I still follow about a prize-winning short story by a Nigerian author that was no more than a clever — and uncredited — reworking of another story, one that had been published in The Sun: Laleh Khadivi’s “Wanderlust.” Eager to find out just how similar the two stories were, I read them both, and I was so impressed by “Wanderlust” that I decided to see what else the magazine had published. I haven’t stopped reading it since.
2. What drew you to the magazine? What keeps you reading?
Besides its carefully considered visuals and clear devotion to its readers, what drew me to The Sun — and continues to all these years later — is its commitment to work that explores what it means to be human, in all its unvarnished glory. Even if I end up not liking a piece or disagreeing with its conclusions, I at least know it will be as “true” as it possibly can be — which I guess is testament to the brilliance of founder Sy Safransky and the team he’s built over the years.
Browse all of Sy Safransky’s work from the magazine here.
3. Do you have a section you read first? Why?
I generally head to the Readers Write section first. It’s hard to put into words exactly what excites me about those snippets of people’s lives, but they just do.
Browse the Readers Write section here.
4. Has anything you’ve read in The Sun stuck with you? Have you come back to a piece or author over time?
I have occasionally come back to Thom Goertel and Jim Kuhnhenn’s “Old School Boxing” photo essay, Marc Inman’s essay “My Brother’s Dinner with the President of Sears,” Cheryl Strayed’s essay “The Love of My Life,” and, of course, Laleh Khadivi’s “Wanderlust.” These pieces bear an emotional depth and beauty that are unique to The Sun.
5. What do you hope for the next fifty years of the magazine? What (or who) do you want to see in The Sun over the next fifty years?
I hope it continues to do what it has managed to do so well in the past half century: to encourage readers like myself to “look at a sad, confused world and see it as holy,” to borrow from Sy Safransky. And because I have literary ambitions of my own, it would also be nice to see my own work in the magazine’s pages.
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