Inspired by her daughter Tumi, award-winning actress and filmmaker Salamina Mosese is releasing her first children’s book “Disaster at Gogo’s Spaza”.
She describes it as an ode to South African families and communities.
“Disaster at Gogo’s Spaza” follows the heart-warming story of three cousins Tumi, Mpho and Lefa and their wonderful Gogo.
Best known for her role as Ella on “Abo Mzala”, Mosese tells IOL Entertainment she started writing the book during lockdown when she took an online writing course.
“I challenged myself to try and write a book for a child like my daughter that would be entertaining, light-hearted and entirely South African,” quips Mosese.
An avid reader herself, Mosese says she has always been passionate about writing and storytelling and she knew she would eventually become an author.
She just didn’t know her debut would be a children’s book.
“This is a dream come true, and I pinch myself almost hourly because I can hardly believe that it finally happened.
“I have always loved writing. I have run a blog for many years. It's called a Page in my book because I always knew that I would write a book one day. I just didn't think it would a children's book.
“That desire was inspired by having a child and fully exploring the world of books that were out there for children to read. It has been a dream that I have been putting off for a long time. and then life just kept happening, so I kept putting it off. “
The Limpopo-born star says “Disaster at Gogo’s Spaza” was inspired by her daughter Tumi and their shared love for reading.
“Like me, my first born, Tumi, is a voracious reader, so I am always searching for new books for her to read. And because I want her to be able to also read about characters that remind her of herself, we read a lot of African books.
“When she was a toddler, we could find a lot of South African picture books that she loved, but as she got older, there were fewer and fewer books for her to read. She then started exploring more International writers.
“Some of these were not writers I had ever read myself, so I started reading more and more books for her age group, and it opened a new world for me too.
Below is the synopsis of the book, courtesy of the author.
Tumi visits her Gogo in Soweto for the holidays. She and her twin cousins often help Gogo in her spaza shop. Gogo's Goodies is the oldest spaza in all of Soweto and Gogo's pride and joy. When Gogo leaves for a few days, Tumi has one of her crazy ideas: They will open the shop, run it themselves, and earn loads of money. But they’ve never had to do it without Gogo, and things quickly get out of hand, making the spaza more famous than ever…
“I have always found it fascinating listening to my daughter play with her cousins. Children are so creative, and they think of the craziest, silliest things.
“I thought it would be fun to explore the world of the spaza shop and think of what would happen if three kids took over for a few days without the skills or know-how. I didn't want it to be a fantasy.
“I tried to root the story in a real-world situation with all the uncontrollable factors that would come into play. It is a light-hearted book based around a well-established spaza shop in Diepkloof, Soweto,” she explains.
Mosese says if there’s one thing she would like for the South African children and adults alike it is to walk away knowing “our stories matter, no matter how small we think they are.”
“I believe it is essential for us to tell diverse stories in this country and share books with children from all different cultures and backgrounds that they can relate to.
“’Disaster at Gogo's Spaza’ is a story about family and community.
“It is humorous and endearing, and fun to read.
“It is true to the experience of being an innocent child, especially highlighting the types of games that children play.
“I think so many children and adults will relate to this story and also learn from it.
“The strong female character of Gogo is a South-African staple.
“We have so many strong females, who are leaders in their families and their communities, and I wanted to celebrate that in this book.”
Mosese took to social media, this week, to share the exciting news with her fans. Watch Mosese get a first glance at her new book.
“Disaster at Gogo’s Spaza” officially hits the shelves on July 20.
The book's first launch will be at Exclusive Books at Melrose Arch on July 16.
“I will be doing a live read of the book and would love to sign copies of the book,” says Mosese.
The book will be widely available at all bookstores, national and on online platforms, including Loot