Johannesburg – Internationally acclaimed musician Maya Wegerif, fondly known as Sho Madjozi, has announced the release of her debut children’s book, Shoma and the Stars, which is a tribute to her little sister and her youngest fans.
After several years dominating globally as a multiple award-winning singer, songwriter, and performing artist, Sho Madjozi can now add another title to her list: author.
Shoma and the Stars is a unique South African tale with a significant message and a touching backstory, published by Ethnikids Publishers.
The John Cena hitmaker, who holds a degree in creative writing, wrote this story of celebrating self-identity and being courageous as a tribute to her younger sister, Makhanani "Nyeleti" Maganye, who died in a tragic car accident in 2019.
"I was inspired by my young fans, who became my little sisters when I lost mine," says the singer and debut author as she reflects on the heartbreaking loss.
She said her young fans, who she calls "The Sho Madjozi Stars" motivated her to keep going.
"A couple of days after I lost my sister, thousands of girls rocked colourful Sho Madjozi braids. They were like bright little stars when my life felt so dark. I remember crying and crying when I saw that. It was so touching. My young fans gave me the strength to keep going. They are my biggest inspiration, and with this book, I want to keep encouraging them to celebrate being daring and different," said the musician.
In the little fans who flock to her concerts and show their support online and in the streets, she sees her little sister.
Shoma and the Stars is a relatable yet unique South African story about a little girl named Shoma who grows up in a beautiful South African village.
From her parents to the way she dresses and likes to do her hair, it is clear that Shoma was always going to be a little bit different.
Shoma has a little sister, Nyeleti, with whom she does everything—until the day Nyeleti, which means "star" in Xitsonga, disappears to become a star in the sky.
The book unfurls the tale of little Shoma learning to accept loss, navigating life as an outsider, and eventually learning that her uniqueness is her power. By being herself, little Shoma saves the day and finds a new group of "sisters."
She further explains the story behind the book, revealing that she fell in love with the power of writing at a young age: "I have loved words all my life. I have been writing poems and stories since I was seven years old."
Her most cherished gifts from her parents as a child were the many books her parents gave her. She credits this early proclivity to writing for her subsequent interest in and career in music.
"Even my introduction to music was through writing. The only difference is that now I’m writing lyrics," she adds. "I am so glad I was a bookworm, or I wouldn’t be who I am today," says the John Cena hitmaker.