“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” — Proverb




Evelyn50 writing agency Pty Ltd (Book publishing company)

Marcia Ramodike is a 26-year-old award-winning author, a final-year student in forensic science, and the founder of Evelyn50 publishing company. She has achieved this despite having lost her mother at the age of 17 and having to take care of herself and her siblings. Marcia wrote a book which she sold to people, universities and schools to make money to support herself and her siblings. She then enrolled at the University of the Free State but dropped out in her third year of her law degree because of financial constraints and depression. She then moved to Pretoria and stayed with friends, moving from one place to another. Despite being homeless she never gave up on her dreams. She registered with the University of South Africa and is now in her final semester of her forensic science and technology degree.  In just a year Evelyn50 publishing company has published 14 books, as well as partnered with the Daily Sun, Rise FM and other stations. She has also featured on TV and radio. Evelyn50 is a unique concept. It writes books for clients who have amazing stories to tell but don’t know how to write them. The company also publishes manuscripts. So far,  Evelyn50 has hired four young people and hopes to hire more people. The company also does book reviews with magazines, newspapers and radio stations, and has mentorships. Marcia is motivated by the proverb, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

  • 2014: Matriculated from Mafutsane Secondary School 
  • 2015: Political Science and Communication extended programme at the University of the Free State 
  • 2016: LLB extended programme at the University of the Free State but dropped out in third year because of financial problems
  • 2023: Final year of forensic science and technology at the University of South Africa

  • I wrote a book and published it at the age of 20, financing everything from my pocket money. It sold out at book launches and won an award for best self-help book at the African Authors Honoree Awards 2021. My book was bought by the libraries of the universities of Johannesburg, Free State and North-West.  
  • I worked for Hola Ma High School and Gcwala magazines for seven years. 
  • I worked as a radio journalist for Mzansi Hours at TUT FM  
  • I now own my own book publishing house, which I financed myself. I also educate people from all areas and ages of life about the importance of education and reading.  
  • In 2021 I featured on television and radio shows during Youth Month. 
  • This year I became the main writer for an agricultural company and host their podcast. I also got the company a collaboration with Zimbabwe farms exchange programme.

My childhood memory that kept me going is the day I was fetched from school to go identify my mother’s body at the hospital, on my first day of matric. That day I lost my support system and suffered for so many years after her death. But one day at the age of 20 I told myself, “Marcia, you can’t cry forever because if you do you will suffer forever. You have a talent so use it. I picked myself up, used my talent and today I thank myself for that self-talk.

I would tell myself that I am not strong and I am allowed to feel. Everyone always told me that I am not allowed to feel and I have to be strong for myself and my siblings. I kept everything inside till one day I fell into depression. Luckily I got help from a friend and I was saved. The second thing I would say is that success takes time, so do not give up on your writing dream. They say, you won’t make it as a writer, you are not going anywhere, you are crazy, stop reading too much. Close your ears, you know what your heart says to you. Marcia, you will make it as a writer and you are going far, this journey is for you so press on. Last, I would tell Marcia that your mother is not here, do something for yourself that will sustain you for a lifetime.

I would like South Africa to become a reading nation. If we take literature seriously and read and write more, people will start being more open-minded. The only education system is in school and university but after completing a degree, where are we then supposed to learn more about life and get ideas? For example, if we had more books about financial literacy and people were reading, they would know how to use money wisely. Also, we have a lot of graduates and a high employment rate. If we could start an initiative where we support the talents of young people and encourage them in the next coming five years, South Africa would be a better country with employment, because humans excel in what they love doing.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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