Teen author from Emndeni, Soweto, Malaika Hlatshwayo.
Teen author from Emndeni, Soweto, Malaika Hlatshwayo.

Teen author aims to educate readers on relations between moms and children in new book

By Boitumelo Metsing Time of article published Feb 18, 2021

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Johannesburg - A teen author from Emndeni, Soweto, on Tuesday launched her first book, The Belly Button, that seeks to educate about relationships between mothers and children.

The 14-year-old Malaika Hlatshwayo said her book is about a girl who goes on an adventure that leads to the restoration of peace in her village.

Malaika said: “The Belly Button is a story about Nozipho who lived in a village that is disconnected and the villagers are constantly fighting each other. Through Nozipho’s adventures, she found something that helps the village to connect again.”

The young author, who is the only girl out of five children and lives with her parents in Emndeni, said she started writing in 2019 at the suggestion of a cousin.

“It was something I started doing out of boredom, but my sister Mbalentle encouraged me to write more and later to write the book,” said Malaika this week.

Although she wrote the book in early 2019, finishing it in a week, it was lockdown level 5 that prompted her and her mother Phindile Suntsha to publish the story.

“It was something I wrote for myself but with the lockdown last year I started to think of how I could share my story. Luckily my mom, who is also an author, assisted me with that,” she said.

The lockdown and her mom’s decision to homeschool her and her siblings provided them with time to harness their skills and work on other things.

“My mom helped me edit my book and sent it to my aunt Zanele Ndlovu to look through it and assist me before we put it on Amazon,” said Malaika.

Her mother, author Phindile Suntsha, said: “I am very proud of my daughter. I remember the first time she wanted to show me her manuscript but I had been busy with my Masters and couldn’t read it immediately. When I read it, I was amazed at how well she wrote. Her story was very descriptive and the grammar was surprisingly good.

“She’s very ambitious and wants to do everything. With her book on Amazon, we hope to use the money to start a fund for Luyolo Primary school to help other kids achieve their dreams.

“Some of the money will go in to her second book which she is already writing, and invest in her other interests.”

Malaika is a self-published author under her mom’s company.

The book launch was held at Luyolo Primary School, which is her former school.

“It was very symbolic for me to hold the launch at Luyolo primary which is where it all started… in the English classroom where my teacher was supportive of my writing,” she said.

The book covers different themes that can be taken as lessons, including:

♦ Parents fighting

♦ Rude people

♦ Importance of helping

♦ Going on an adventure and safety

♦ Living together in a community

♦ Once you commit to something, it’s important to finish it

♦ Parents forcing children to do something for the benefit of the parents and not the children

“My wish is for all children to read my book and be inspired to follow their dreams even if no one believes in them,” said Malaika.

The book is available on Amazon and everyone from the age of 10 upwards will be able to read it.

The Star

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