Dr Mokae was born in Ga-Mokopane, a town situated in Limpopo. He was the eighth child of Reverend Modisagarekwe Michael and Lotlamoreng Elizabeth Mokae. His parents’ migrant missionary lifestyle, meant that Mokae and his siblings moved across the country extensively. Mokae had his tertiary education in KwaZulu-Natal where he acquired his MB ChB medical degree in the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine. It was during this point, as a medical student that Mokae realized his talent and passion for writing; he wrote for the legendary Drum Magazine, the now defunct Pace Magazine and for newspaper supplements in Durban.
Although Mokae served as an intern at the Chris Hani Hospital, and went on to establish a general practice in Soweto; his experiences as a student proved to be life changing and propelled him into the volatile world of arts as a Novelist and short story writer. While most black writers start their careers with content written in English, Mokae first literature offering was written in his native tongue Setswana. This was a brave and conscious decision to reach out to his people.
Dr Mokae is the founding member of the Socialist Party Azania and the party’s secretary general. His active role in politics has greatly influenced his life’s work. His novel Robert McBride- A Coloured Life, published in 2004, received high praise from critics. Novelist and playwright Zakes Mda described the book as an indispensable text for the students of history, politics and generally to those who want to understand the dynamics of race and class in South Africa.
Mokae has made a significant contribution in television scriptwriting which led to the production of the television series Gaabo Motho (Someone’s Home) in the 1990s, a television series about the return of exiles in the context of political transition. He also wrote television scripts for Lisenethini-It’s A Goal , a series that looked at South Africa’s football legends, as well as the Secret To My Bosom, a four-part drama series based on his book, by the name title – all broadcasted by the National Broadcaster SABC.
Mokae’s body of literary work has awarded him numerous honours, including the University of Prestigious Award, the African Achievers award from Ekhaya foundation. He also received the Maskew-Miller-Longman’s heritage Literary award from Batho Batsho Bakopane (Black People United); the professor Alexander Petrie award for Outstanding contribution to the Arts and Humanities from the university of Natal, in addition to the Multi-linguist Award from Pan South African language board (PanSALD), for promoting the use of indigenous languages in South African literature. In 2003, Vista University presented Mokae with a doctorate for his literary works and a PHD qualification in 2004.
Dr Mokae currently lives in Ga-Rankuwa, a township Northwest of Pretoria. He serves as the Chairperson of the National Arts Council. His current creative projects include his autobiography. He is also raising funds for a movie based on his book about Robert McBride, told through the eyes of his wife Paula McBride, in addition to scriptwriting for the sequel of the television series Lisenethini.
1996 Nnete Ke Serunya Vivlia Publishers, South Africa
1996 Short, Not Tall Stories Vivlia Publishers, South Africa
2004 Robert McBride- A Coloured Life SAHO Publishers with Vista University, South Africa
2006 Kaine le Abele Maskew Miller Longman, Capetown
2008 Masego Maskew-Miller-Longman: Capetown
Gaabo Motho Drama
Lisenethini-It’s a Goaland Documentary
The Secret In My Bosom Drama
Reference: Wordsetc. 2008. Flamenco Publishing: Johannesburg