‘The Spirit Of The Optimist’ by Isaac Tlaka: A Review

January 23, 2018 Book Reviews , POETRY / FICTION



Musa Gift Masombuka


I have read and reread the book The Spirit Of The Optimist and everytime I read it, every chapter still feels new like I have never read it before. The author Isaac Tlaka has mastered the art of keeping the reader eager to witness how the story unfolds.


The book is about Gemini, a chap who is facing a barrier in terms of furthering his studies to tertiary to study BA Social Work at the University of Limpopo, the reason being that his parents are financially disadvantaged and could not afford the registration fee of R6000. With that being a black cloud obscuring his summer shine, Gemini had to stay home with his parents and forget about his career.


Gemini being home, doing nothing with his life rather than waking up, eating and sleeping, gets him cheesed off and he finds himself going out more often. However, he has never given up on his career; he still would love to study social work.


His father keeps on mocking him, telling him how his peers have succeeded in life while he is still holding onto his dream of studying BSc. According to his dad, Gemini was holding feathers while the dove has fled, he has even encouraged him to go to church in order to get his life into shape and also find a job. Seeing that it was his word against his dad’s, Gemini then decided to leave for Pretoria in search for green pastures but to his arrival, things did not go according to plan, few days of sleeping on the streets of the city after his old school friend at Pretoria who had offered him accommodation chase him away, he then decided to go back home.


There’s a saying that when days are dark, friends are few. Yes, they are few, not that they aren’t there at all. Gemini had a friend by the name Conscious, he had been a great friend to him, and they first met at a jazz and poetry session. Conscious was a poet and a writer, he had written a book and during the course of their friendship before he left to New York to study filming, he received R100000 from his publisher and gave Gemini a sum of R25000 so that he could be able to pursue his studies. Conscious had always preached faith and hope; he had said to Gemini that those are the two elements of life that will keep him going.


Gemini had a very experiential life explore, with every situation he had, being very relatable to the reader. The book is aimed to teach that in life everything is possible and dreams do come true, dreams delayed are not dreams denied, and your background does not define your future, and also that present situations do not define your fate.


I would rate the book the best read and recommend every avid reader to get a copy to restore their enthusiasm and faith.


For orders, contact the author on: [email protected] / www.facebook.com/isaac.tlaka






Isaac Tlaka

Isaac Tlaka was born and raised in Glen Cowie South Africa. He discovered himself artistically when he began writing poetry and pieces of self expression. He was also chosen as a hip hop commentator on Sekhukhune FM, where he frequently shared his insight regarding hip hop culture.


Musa Gift Masombuka

Born on 1st April 1998, bred in Siyabuswa and grew up at Regae township in Marble Hall, South Africa. First son on his mother’s and last on his father’s side. Published poet at an early age of 15. He is an Arts group leader at his community. A SATMA Awards nominee of 2014. Musa has explored South Africa through his writings, reciting poems and accompanying performing artists of his community.

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