The cover for Tshenolo Mabale's book that brings Pinky Pinky to life.
For generations, the myth of Pinky Pinky - a toilet monster who grabbed children - has terrorised thousands of South African schoolchildren.

Now the mythological figure has been brought to life in a new children’s book by Tshenolo Mabale, in whose story, Pinky-Pinky: The Terrible Toilet Monster, two brave girls, Azania and Zoe, save a school from Pinky Pinky through a combination of magic and wit.

Mabale is one of more than 50 authors who have written over 150 books for the Afrocentric storytelling book app BookBeak. She has two books published there - Pinky-Pinky and Tselane and Dimo. 

"Writing for a platform like BookBeak is important because I grew up reading books like Sweet Valley High, and I have always had the idea to re-imagine the stories from our perspective.

“This story (Pinky-Pinky) is Sweet Valley combined with the old school folklore we used to be told about.

“This is a story of two young black girls doing amazing things. If it means kids are able to see themselves in these stories, then I have done half the work. It is important to keep our folklore, but re-imagined in a way that kids can relate to. Representation matters." she said.

And it is this representation that led Kamogelo Sesing and Cam Naidoo to start BookBeak.

Sesing said: “We were hearing from a lot of African parents, that they wanted a centralised place where they could find books with representative stories that their kids could identify with.

Tshenolo Mabale is one of more than 50 authors who have written over 150 books for the Afrocentric storytelling book app BookBeak.

“We decided there must be a lot of stories out there, and we just needed a way to aggregate them. This prompted us to build BookBeak.

“You find parents are pleasantly surprised when they go on to the platform and find stories like Tselane, that they grew up with. They want to share those stories with their children.”

Another interesting thing about the platform is that parents can have their children’s names used as the main characters in stories.

“It’s getting a bit of traction. And again, it goes to this idea of representation, with people wanting to see themselves in the stories they are told. This is some sort of gamified way of telling our stories,” Sesing said.

He said for Africa Day, Apple placed BookBeak on an international app platform, and this has led to getting stories from other parts of the world.

“We were highlighted by Apple for Africa Day and we have been getting stories from Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and people in the UK who are expats.”

The app is available on iStore and Google Play.