Slay 2017: The Year of Yes

 

It’s fitting to end this year with the same photograph I began it with.

Year in and year out I would look at the big, white sheet of A2 paper collecting dust on my shelf waiting to be made useful. I had bought it three years prior with the aim of making a vision board and had not found the time and discipline to craft one.  It’s only after I finished reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes at the end of 2016, a book that undoubtedly ignited a flame in me, that I took the opportunity to set some intentions for the year and to remind myself of them every day.

In the middle of my vision board, I placed SAY YES as a reminder to be open to opportunity, discipline and focus. In each other corner of the paper, I placed my four areas of intention: career, body love, personal space and travel. I also had other motivational phrases such as “success”, “inspiration is everywhere”, “claim your space” and “go for gold”.

The centre piece: me in the Cosmopolitan Magazine.

For career, I placed the words “write + publish” and it’s funny because I would roll my eyes or chuckle every time I looked it like: Girl, what even? What could you possibly publish? For body love, I placed “clear skin ahead”, “work out”, and a picture of a woman on a scale. For travel, I placed a picture of an aeroplane. How absolutely magical then to look back at this year in which I travelled to London for work, managed to clear my skin, reached my goal weight, started on an exercise routine that I actually look forward to (skipping!) and self-published a beautiful storybook for children called Mpumi’s Magic Beads! 

A birthday babe at her goal weight.

The book has honestly been one of my favourite blessings this year. I’m so happy that I was in such a great, healthy state of mind that when I approached some publishers and got rejected, it didn’t hinder me in any way because this lovely story was going to exist. So, I immediately said to myself: “I have always had creative and editorial control of every bit of work I have put into the world, so why should this be any different?” With no real knowledge of what I was undertaking, I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed an empty notebook, made notes and Googled my way through months of every single detail of planning, writing and executing that was essential to establishing the Mpumis Magic Beads project and my own company, Thank You Books. I am proud to say that I own every bit of my work and that I am compensated as such. It wouldn’t have been the case had I reached a publishing deal and received some percentages for my project so, it all worked out for the best!

This project was made possible by a community of talented individuals whose love, dedication and hard work ensured that the book looks, feels and reads as beautifully as it does.

A big, big thank you to:

  • Kay Bapela & the Book of Swag team – for the call to participate in the #Today campaign.
  • Masego Morulane- for the gorgeous illustrations and book design. I’m still so impressed at our synergy and we haven’t even met yet!
  • Nokulinda Mkhize – for being mom goals with the refreshments setup back in April, for all your advice and belief through this journey and to the Sibling Trio of My Heart for being my audience.
  • Alexandra Flusk & Montwedi Mosala for being my best friends and always being there for me when I need you.
  • Mama – for the startup capital for Thank You Books, for your love and nurturing my gifts with a fiery dedication over the years.
  • Sibusiso Mkhwanazi – for the Thank You Books logo.
  • Dane Bowman – for your expertise and friendly disposition in helping me navigate self-publishing.
  • Cindy-Lee van Wyk – for being a great editor.
  • Masego Maponyane – for believing in me and helping me to see its possibility very early in the game.
  • You – for your support, positive energy, likes, retweets, affirmations and for buying my book.

There are still some things that I would have loved to achieve this year that I have not yet (hello, Masters thesis and secret thing) but I am excited about how I am responding to these as only slight changes of direction. I actually feel really good about my unfinished thesis and about my disappointments this year because all of them prepared me for the glory that was 2017. They are also just more opportunities for me to make myself proud and to prove to myself, once more, that I am always possible. 

I’m currently on holiday in Coffee Bay and I’m so excited to get back home: start the year, make my vision board, buy myself a new year planner and to work daily to make all of my dreams real, again.

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Thank you for reading my blog. Happy New Year to you and an amazing, purposeful 2018!

Mpumi’s Magic Beads EWN interview¬†

This morning, I sat down with the Eye Witness News (EWN) team at African Flavour Books in Braamfontein to discuss creativity, literature and Mpumi’s Magic Beads. 


As I walked into the store for the interview, there was a woman, with the coolest bag, standing at the till while holding a copy of my book. I later signed it for her. That really made my day! 

You can watch the interview here.

Now available at African Flavour Books, Braamfontein. 

Photograph from the African Flavour Books Facebook page.

 I am so pleased to let you know that African Flavour Books in Braamfontein now stocks Mpumi’s Magic Beads! The store is located on 20 Melle Street, Braamfontein and is just down the road from KFC.

You’re always welcome to call your favourite book store and ask them to stock Mpumi’s Magic Beads. Readers have power.

In the storefront window, what do I see? Three beautiful, little girls looking out at me!

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Thank you to the readers who asked African Flavour Books for my book, when the thought of it being stocked there was still a dream. 

I made the dream happen #today with children’s storytelling!

Photographed by Mpumi, my little brother.

Mpumi’s Magic Beads is one of my favourite labours of love and this past Tuesday afternoon, I had the wonderful opportunity to share it with some lovely little people and some big people too. I chose Bridge Books on Commissioner Street as the venue because it’s the perfect setting for the story about Mpumi, Tshiamo and Asante – three little girls with amazing hair, a great friendship and some really cool adventures in the big city. 

From making my pledge to “Make One Day, Today!”  and beginning this journey of finding inspiration to write a unique story set in this Joburg city that I adore – I feel so happy that WE DID IT and it has been received so warmly. I’m grateful that so many people enjoyed it and would love to own it because that’s the bigger dream – to have it exist in hard copy so we can all read it to our future/children. So now that I have come to the end of the journey with Standard Bank (an awesome 4 months that could not have possibly been enough time to publish-publish) the new journey that I am about to embark on and one that I have to give some serious thought to is: how? I am contemplating whether I will go with an established publisher or whether I will be the established publisher and self-publish. It is quite the big decision to make but either way, I’ve gathered some email addresses of interested future buyers (feel free to mail me yours if you’re interested) and I will keep everyone in the loop of how I will proceed from here – this means that the story is inaccessible at this time and  all I ask for is some patience in the meanwhile. After that is accomplished, I would definitely love to consider taking the book and visiting schools and community centres for storytelling sessions because I enjoy them so much.

I’m grateful to everyone who came to the storytelling and allowed me to live my dream and also to those who spread the word and have expressed interest in owning the book. Thank you to Standard Bank, Book of Swag and Native for the opportunity and immense support, Kay Bapela for keeping me on track, Selina Morulane for bringing the girls to life and being a talented illustrator, Nokulinda for being both mom and kiddie snack-maker goals and for being awesome, Monti and Alexandra for being my best friends and coming through for me on the day and on all days, and to my parents for giving my siblings names that I could make a story with and to my siblings for being loving and helpful people. 

One more thing on the subject of publishing: I would appreciate any advice in this regard so please feel free to comment and let me know which route you think I should go with and why? Thanks!

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Thank you to my mother and Thabani for being my first listeners, believing in the story and giving me the confidence to share it. 

Storytime for Kids! #TODAY

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Mpumi’s Magic Beads. Illustrated by Selina Morulane

I can finally reveal that my pledge for #TODAY is children’s storytelling! I have always wanted to venture into this part of writing because I hold such a deep reverence for it. I was just always too anxious about it but then Standard Bank came along and pretty much dared me to choose just ONE thing that I have always yearned for yet always put off until another day. So, in true “why not make one day today?” fashion, I decided to try my best to make my dream happen. So, I’ve been hard at work putting together a story and I am very excited to present it to its intended audience – your gorgeous children!

As I have mentioned, children’s stories hold a very special place in my heart because they were my entry into the world of reading and my love for books. My children’s story collection as an adult has been growing since I feel especially giddy that we live in a time when books have become more diverse and representative of the little boys and girls all around us. I grew up on The Adventures of Poldy by Felicia Law, an incredible box set that my mom bought for me when we lived in Sweden, about a scarecrow and his friends: a crow, a seagull and a wagtail. It exposed me to childhood learning concepts and different cultures around the world and perhaps it’s also responsible for my love for Anthropology?

One of my biggest inspirations for this particular project, however, is Atinuke. I love that woman so much (and I will meet her one day)! The feeling I get when I read Anna Hibiscus is a feeling I would love for others to experience through my work and I am prepared to work at this craft in order to ensure that I get as close as possible to that kind of magic.

So, please join me on Tuesday afternoon at Bridge Books for a storytime session in which I’ll be presenting my debut children’s story, Mpumi’s Magic Beads and sharing another one of my favourite children’s stories. Please bring your little ones? The story is aimed at children from 4 – 10 years old but really, you’re all welcome. The event is free and public schools are on holiday so see you then! Here’s the Facebook invitation.

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Thank you to Standard Bank and the various creative agencies that gave me the best dare I’ve ever had the pleasure to complete. I’m so happy that it is taking shape!