Bontle Ndhlovu is fast becoming a literary sensation with a vision to change the world, one book at a time.
In her newly released book titled The Oceanic Oxy Rescue Mission, the young storyteller encourages children and adults alike not to be afraid to dream big.
“Kids with big dreams should not be scared to chase them. If you work hard, you can do whatever you want. Adults must also follow their dreams and must never give up,” says Bontle.
Inspired by the popular kids' television show “Octonauts,” Bontle was motivated to write her own adventure story.
“One day, my mom and I were in a bookstore, and I asked her if it was possible for my books to be sold in the shop. She said ‘yes’, only if you tell your own stories. After that, I was inspired to tell Nyla’s story.
“I then saw an episode of Octonauts in which sea animals were rescued and loved it so much. It inspired me,” adds Bontle.
The book follows the story of Nyla and her family, who are attacked by three sharks while enjoying a relaxing boat ride. The family is then rescued by Oxy and the Dolphins.
“Nyla and her dad and her mom went on a boat ride. But the sharks captured Mama. Sharkie is the main shark that wants to eat the family. Jeffren and Jerome wanted to have some lunch too. Since there are three sharks and three people, the sharks would each have one piece (person) to eat.
“But Oxy, the octopus, is the hero of the day, together with his pals the dolphins rescued the family from the sharks,” explains Bontle.
Bontle says her new book will resonate with many children around the world.
“I think children should read it because it’s cool and full of imagination. There are also some fun educational activities at the end of the book. This is a fun book about adventure.”
Bontle was only seven when she started putting her story ideas together, and with the help of an illustrator colleague, The Oceanic, Oxy Rescue Mission was brought to life.
Bontle says she was blown away when she had the first glimpse of her finished book, all thanks to her illustrator for capturing her wildest imagination.
“It felt like it was a dream. I was screaming and dancing so much because it was exciting,” expresses the youngster.
Bontle discovered her love for reading from a young age.
“My mom started reading me books when I was little, and I think that’s where my love for stories comes from. I’ve always loved telling stories.”
Refilwe Ndhlovu, the young author’s mother, explains that when visiting bookstores, Bontle would often ask if her books could one day be on the shelves.
“I used to tell her that anything is possible and that if she wrote her own stories, it could get published and sold in stores,” shares Refilwe.
“When Bontle came to me with her story, I wanted to help her realise her dream, so I typed it for her and reached out to Maxine, and we got to work.
“We received the printed copies a few days before Bontle’s eighth birthday. It was a long process, but the joy on her face when she saw her first book made everything worthwhile.”
For Bontle, it was a thrilling experience.
“Writing and publishing my book taught me that anything is possible,” shared the grade three learner.
While publishing her first book was a dream come true, Bontle was also selected as a local role model by H&M in their global Role Models Campaign, an initiative aimed at empowering young voices, in 2021.
“My mom nominated me for the campaign, and I got chosen to be a role model. I will continue empowering young voices by making new inspiring books. At home, we are also collecting bottle caps for the wheelchair project.”
On what next for Bontle, the youngster revealed that she working already working on her new project, the Adventures with Bontle-series, which is set to drop in later this year.
Click here to order your copy of “The Oceanic Oxy Rescue Mission” at R90.