Have an SA adventure with Amari – meet the country’s people, plants and animals

NZINGA Qunta, author of Amari’s Adventures.

NZINGA Qunta, author of Amari’s Adventures.

Published Jun 12, 2022


Johannesburg - SABC Business news anchor Nzinga Qunta has released a children’s book called Amari’s Adventures – an interactive picture book about a little girl who goes on an adventure and encounters South African plants, animals and people along the way.

The character encourages little ones to start counting with her as they proceed to read Amari’s Adventures which has been translated into all 11 official South African languages. as well as Nama, a Khoisan language spoken by the people of the Northern Cape.

“What I found was that when I was going to bookshops I wasn’t finding exactly what I was looking for. I wanted my child to read a book that catered to young readers in various languages and that was hard to find. We learn a lot through play and exploring.

“It’s important to write for kids, but at the same time, I wanted it to be impactful and I want the book to touch the lives of many young kids,” Qunta said.

Qunta emphasised that she wanted to ensure that the book was accessible to as many South African children as posasible and the way to do that is through language.

“If you have access to literacy and numeracy at an early age, later you’re going to be successful, or your chances of economic success are higher if you’re literate in your home language. If a child can interpret things in their own language, that is a start for them in this country.”

While the book is a fun read, it is also educational because it incorporates numbers and letters, encouraging kids to read and count. It is for ages between 0-6.

It uses national symbols to enhance children’s interaction, such as the protea which is the country’s national flower, the springbok, and the blue crane. It also aims to enlighten them about South African culture and people.

Qunta said she had gone across South Africa and she had done readings at various schools with young learners.

“I hosted readings of Amari’s Adventures in languages that are spoken in that specific province. If we’re in the Eastern Cape, we do a reading in isiXhosa. In Limpopo, we do a Tshivenda reading.

“We are still rolling this out to more schools as well with the help of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture,” she said.

While compiling research for the book, Qunta said she approached a language practitioner who works in the African language space for accurate interpretation and translation.

“They understand language intimately. I could’ve just gone to a friend of mine who speaks Afrikaans, but I wanted to make sure that everything was correct and accurate to preserve the language. It’s a book that allows kids to go on this little adventure with Amari, counting and reading along with her.

“I am in the process of donating to more schools and Early Childhood Development centres.”

Amari’s Adventures has been sold online with readings taking place across the county. Qunta added that they were going to continue to have people interact with the book and she’s working on a second one.

“I am working on my second book which is called Amari in Africa which is targeted at slightly older children. The book will explore a little girl going on an adventure across the African continent.”

The mother said Amari, which is her six-year-old daughter’s name, holds powerful meanings in different languages.

“In Yoruba, it means someone who builds or strengthens something. In Hebrew it means ‘promised by God’; in Hindi it means ‘child of the moon’. It’s a very powerful name. I hadn’t heard the name anywhere in South Africa and when I found it, I thought it was incredible.

“So the book was very much inspired by her, because she is a little adventurer. She is a smart brave little girl who loves exploring and learning,” she said.

The book is available at www.ethnikids.africa and will be available in bookstores in the next month.

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