My wish is finally coming true: a book event that is not virtual! Of course I understand the necessity of having had all our events online and I’m so grateful for that. However, I also miss people so, please join Ethnikids along with myself and Professor Claudine Storbeck as we read Mpumi and Jabu’s Magical Day this Sunday, 13 December 2020 at the Nirox Sculpture Park. It is a gorgeous open air setting that allows for keeping our social distance and adhering to all pandemic protocols. Please purchase your tickets here and note that all food and drinks must be purchased at the venue. More information is available here. I am so excited to see you there!
New book alert! Grow To Be Great: Awesome African Achievers by Dr Judy Dlamini and I, is finally here! First of all, do you know how cool it is to collaborate on writing a book with your university’s chancellor? It’s amazing! I actually “met” her in 2019, when she was one of the invited guests for the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship one morning and we all sat in a circle and engaged with a selection of phenomenal women leaders about their life’s work. Little did I know that we would actually meet properly when she was searching for a young children’s book author to collaborate with as she sought to convert her books, Equal but Different and The Other Story into a singular book for younger readers. Even better, we met and discussed this collaboration for the first time only a few weeks before she capped me at my Master’s graduation ceremony in December 2019. If you look at the photo, you’ll see me beaming because I held her hand and she smiled and said, “Wow, you’re wearing a suit. You look beautiful.” I was especially proud of my look that day because I really wore a tailored suit with some Nike Cortez the day I became an Anthropologist.
Working with Mam’ Judy has been such an enriching experience. Not only was I able to gain some insight into her life journey, because she also features as a character in the book, I was also able to experience excellence and discipline up close in a way that is rarely available to me since I usually work alone across all of my various academic and bookish projects. It also blows my mind that she’s a whole medical doctor, academic doctor, businesswoman who also owns her own publishing house, mother, grandmother and a whole chancellor of the best university in Africa! (I know you know that I don’t care about the official stats. Haha!)
Grow To Be Great: Awesome African Achievers is published by Dr Dlamini and her husband, Sizwe Nxasana’s publishing house, Sifiso Publishers. It is a gift for African children; to inspire them to know that they are the continuation of really incredible legacies and people who have worked tirelessly to fulfil their own aspirations as well as to contribute greatly to the communities around them, benefitting the continent as a whole. By capturing their stories, we hope that African children will see themselves reflected in these great leaders and know that they too are capable of so much more. Here is more about the book:
Co-authored by Dr. Judy Dlamini and Lebohang Masango, Grow to Be Great is an adaptation of Dr. Judy Dlamini’s two books, Equal but Different & The Other Story. It’s targeting young adults. It seeks to inform, empower and validate their dreams. There is a message from each of the 24 leaders covered in the book, from the President of the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa, to the Chairman of the Solidarity fund and Co-Founder of Women Investment Portfolio, Gloria Serobe, the only woman former Deputy President of the country current Executive Director of UN-Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to the late Dr Richard Maponya; amongst others.
Available in English.
Ethnikids (online purchase)
Exclusive Books (online & physical purchase)
Sifiso Publishers (online purchase)
Thank you, lovely publisher who recommended me! (You know who you are!)
Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely love Johannesburg, in all its grit and grime and glory. I write poems about it. I even write children’s books about it. So, naturally, my academic efforts are dedicated to understanding this city and the people who live and love in it, as I do. My current PhD journey continues from where I concluded my Master’s research. I find myself really fascinated by romantic relationships; what is reflected about them in the media, in music, in movies, in pop culture and how people navigate them to realise their own individual happiness within their couplings. I’m also interested in how grand socio-political occurrences affect the intimacies between people. If you’re interested in that too, you should read my chapter in Professor Nicky Falkof and Dr Cobus van Staden’s new edited volume, Anxious Joburg: The Inner Lives of a Global South City.
This publication is a result of responding to a call for abstracts for Nicky and Cobus’ Urban Anxieties workshop held in 2017 that is supported by my current scholarship, Governing Intimacies. I worked with them, back-and-forth draft submissions and edits, until we reached the point where the chapter was good enough to be published. Academia gives me butterflies in the worst way so even when the act of applying myself feels like moving boulders, I really do try to give it my best each time. My favourite part is that I always come out on the other side having a wealth of new knowledge and knowing new scholars that inspire me and if I’m lucky, they take interest in my work and give me the most amazing advice. Strangely, academia makes me happy. Let’s get back to the book. I really think you’ll enjoy it so get yourself a copy here and while you wait, you should listen to Prof. Falkof’s conversation with Azania Mosaka on Radio 702, here.
Thank you Nicky, Cobus and Governing Intimacies!
A few weeks ago, I came across a blog by a mom named Nondumiso who mentions how Mpumi’s Magic Beads is among some of her daughter’s favourite books. While browsing, I discovered that she creates handmade dolls so naturally, I wanted to support her work too! I really love my custom Mpumi doll by Imibongo kaMakhulu. I don’t think you can order this exact doll but maybe you can have her create something based on your own little girl or boy? I think that would be such an amazing gift, especially with Christmas around the corner! Here are her details below.
Thank you for your beautiful work, Nondumiso!
MultiChoice Presents: Africa’s Most Loved Storyteller Issue featuring…me! I recently collaborated with media giant MultiChoice in writing a poem that represents the importance of the storytelling tradition on the African continent which also extends to who they are as a company that has been giving opportunities to Africans of all ages to tell their stories for the past 25 years. You can read about my insights and my work in the cover story which was so beautifully written by Gomolemo Lesejane in the latest edition of The Throne as well as more stunning photographs. My gratitude goes to Caron Williams, publisher of the Throne; photographer, Austin Malema; make-up artist, Nureen; hair stylist, Smangele from Indalo Nubian Naturals and Sibu Mabena from Duma Collective for bringing it all together. It was amazing to be on sent with this remarkable group of people who are all so supremely gifted in what they do.
There aren’t enough words to capture how incredible Austin Malema’s photography is.
You can watch my poem, Ten Thousand Stories below and read the words inside The Throne.
Thank you, Multichoice!
Currently available in English, isiZulu, Setswana, Sesotho, isiNdebele and Xitsonga. More translations coming soon!
There’s magic in the air
as Mpumi and Jabu play.
They sign and laugh,
as they become friends.
“Oh what fun!” they say.
The sequel to Mpumi’s Magic Beads is here! The story follows the the adventure that unfolds when Mpumi, a hearing girl, and Jabu, a Deaf boy, meet for the first time. They learn that even though we are all different, we are also the same in many ways. We love playing and reading, we love smiling and helping our family and friends. Everything about us makes us special.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Hi Hopes, an early intervention partner for families of deaf and hard-of-hearing babies.
About the co-author
Claudine Storbeck has a PhD in Education Linguistics and has been working in the field of Deaf Education and Deaf Studies for over 27 years. She is a fluent signer and was honoured to be the South African Sign Language (SASL) interpreter for the inaugurations of both Presidents Mandela and Mbeki. Claudine has over 150 academic presentations and publications in almost 20 countries and has recently starting publishing children’s literature. She was named a world specialist in Deaf Education by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and is the Director and Associate Professor of the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Bargain Books (physical purchase)
Book Circle Capital, Melville (online & physical purchase)
Ethnikids (online purchase)
Love Books, Melville (physical purchase)
New Africa Books (online purchase)
Reader’s Warehouse (online purchase)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I just want to say a big, big thank you to everyone who took their time out to vote in the 100 Most Influential South Africans poll for 2019. You put me at number 39 and I appreciate it! What an honour to be counted among such inspirational people. My passion is words and making worlds for people – recently children – to see themselves in, grow in and be inspired enough to be their best selves in. I appreciate everything everyone does to make this dream-work happen.
Happy 2020, dear reader!
I would like to wish you a wonderful start to the new year! In thinking about you, me and this little corner of the internet that we share, I have decided to set some goals for this blog but I’ll tell you more about that later.
I’m currently on holiday in the Eastern Cape. It started in Simon’s Town, then Knysna, Port Alfred, Mthatha and I’m in Port St John’s for a few more hours, then Umhlanga. The weather has warmed up considerably from yesterday so I am finally able to think about something other than how cold it is! I’m quite delighted that it’s a new year. The sun and this gentle breeze have me in a great mood to think, dream, imagine and plan myself into this new season of my life.The year 2019 was really good to me and it stretched my wings further as an author, Anthropologist and poet. My debut children’s book Mpumi’s Magic Beads won the South African Literary Award for Children’s Literature and the IBBY South Africa Award for Best Writer. I presented my research work at conferences in Mumbai, India and Johannesburg, South Africa and had it accepted for publication. I travelled to Asia for the first time and I visited the United States again. I graduated from the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship. I facilitated literary event sessions, collaborated with reputable brands using my poetry and began some collaborative work that will debut in the new year. I got a job at my favourite radio station and, best of all, I graduated! Conferred on 10 December 2019 by the University of Witwatersrand, I am finally a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology.
Me being me, I already began my PhD in August last year and while these past few months have been good for thinking through what exactly it is a want my doctoral thesis to be about, this year and this exact day symbolises a great new beginning for me. However, I underestimated how exhausted I actually am. Although the way I see it, I have no children and no husband so there is no reason why I don’t get to be this multi- meta- person who pursues all of her whims and talents to their logical conclusion. It is difficult to balance my family, social and working lives and to especially give my best to my work but I do it with joy anyway because who am I to deprive myself of this one wild and precious life? (Word to Mary Oliver.) Taking a break is inconceivable to me because I would like to get my doctorate as soon as possible and I really enjoy being in the university system. It’s helpful because I am able to maintain work relationships I have within the corridors and frequently receive information about talks, conferences and funding opportunities.
In all honesty, the prospect of how this year will unfold is weighing on me; only because I know that work begets more work and I am supposed to be strict about limiting what’s on my plate. I want to give this degree all I’ve got…but I also want to be available for whatever other blessings come my way. Something has got to give and perhaps that thing will be social media? My workload is already heavy, however, I would like to commit to blogging here on the third of every month (and in between if possible) while being less active on Twitter and Instagram. That way, I can post updates here primarily and use the nifty buttons to share with social media afterwards. So, please feel free to follow, like and comment as we make our way through this fresh and exciting year.
May it be full of blessings and wonder for you and yours. May you give yourself the world!
Thank you for reading!
I really enjoy Kaya FM. It’s my radio station of choice for when I work and of course, the bulk of that involves sitting alone, reading and writing from morning until midnight, everyday. The station has a new show, unlike anything I have heard before. On Sunday afternoons, from 2pm – 6pm, What’s Wrong With Groovin’ is on and it’s an audio-documentary (that includes prose, poetry, dramatic script) infused with music curated by DJ Khenzero and Tha_Muzik, of the station’s Sound Supreme show on Saturday afternoons. It’s quite a refreshing concept considering that a majority of the South African radio stations that I enjoy have decided that Sunday afternoons are for wailing R&B. So, this is a welcome breath of fresh air because I like to work while listening to relaxing music that allows my mind to imagine and execute; not stress-me-out-about-my-romantic-life music. It’s distracting, at best.
I love reading all kinds of things so I think it’s incredibly cool that I’ll be doing so on my favourite radio station. So please do join me today for my debut at 14:00 on Kaya FM, 95.9 FM. Today, we will be contemplating the land question far beyond the current discourse that is being generated in our country. It is interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining content that honestly blew me away when I listened to the first and second episodes. So I’m really excited to be involved with the third episode and hopefully all of them from today onwards. Please do let me know what you think, loves! I will be sure to add the podcast to this post and the podcast page on my blog when it is available.
Thank you, #WWWGroovin team for letting me do this cool thing with y’all!