Diale Tlholwe was born in 1961 in Meyerton and went to primary school in Alexandra Township and Mofolo, Soweto. During the time of the students’ uprisings, he received his high school education at Baitshoki and Tlakula High Schools in the North West and Gauteng where, together with many others, he was briefly detained. He began his law studies at the University of Fort Hare in 1980 but these were interrupted by continuing student upheavals, and after one of the mass expulsions at the University, he did not return. He then took up teaching after a short stint as a production clerk at a metal company. Considering journalism as a career, he obtained a diploma in journalism from the Argus Journalism Cadet School that was run by The Star. He later became a client and local government liaison officer for a consultancy company. He now lives in Spruitview in Ekurhuleni (East Rand).
Tlholwe has always enjoyed reading, languages and writing – his writing career began with a prize-winning play while he was still at high school. He is now a member of a monthly group that caters for aspirant writers and book lovers in the Katlehong, Thokoza, Vosloorus (“Khatorus”) area, operating under the auspices of the Afrika Community Life Network. In 2004, a short story of his, written in Setswana, was included in a collection sponsored by Centre for the Book.
In reading literature, he identified a lack of black people who were not represented as stereotypes, and he became concerned that these stereotypes perpetuated in other media too. Where were the dramas and confusions of real black people in books? Tlholwe writes what he himself would like to read. He loves a good story, especially about things he has not known before. He has heard and experienced many strange, hilarious and disturbing stories and feels that fiction is a great way to explore them.
(Thlolwe notes that his full biography would require “old, old” men and women sitting under a tree to fully appreciate it!)
Diale received the South African Literary Award debut prize for his novel Ancient Rites (Kwela Books).
In 2011 he published Counting the Coffins (Kwela Books).