Children’s book provides platform for two Motherwell artists

2019-06-19 06:00
Nomalanga Mkhize has published a childrens’ history book from an African perspective.Photo:SUPPLIED

Nomalanga Mkhize has published a childrens’ history book from an African perspective.Photo:SUPPLIED

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HISTORIAN and former presenter of SABC’s Shoreline, Nomalanga Mkhize, has published an African history book for children, called In Africa with Avi and Kumbi, which tells the story of Africa from ancient times to independence.

Partnering with Mkhize were art illustrator and Nelson Mandela University visual arts graduate, Sanelisiwe Singaphi and designer Bulelani Booi, who both hail from Motherwell.

Mkhize explained that she chose to work with Singaphi, a young black female illustrator, as she wanted to portray an array of colours with fun and unique black African characters, something she believed Singaphi could pull off.

“She has extraordinary artistic abilities,” Mkhize said.

Singaphi was also one of 94 countrywide finalists in the 2018 annual Sasol New Signatures Awards art competition, and one of just 17 finalists from the Bay.

Published under Mkhize’s pen name ‘Khize wamaZambezi’, the book covers important themes ranging from rock art and the rise of ancient civilisations and trade to African slavery, colonialism and the struggle for independence.

The self-published book took three years to complete, due to financial difficulties and finding time in-between working and her duties as a mother.

Mkhize says that it was when she was searching for children’s books on African history that she realised they were not easily available.

“Many of the books that I did find in bookshops focused on European adventurers in Africa and not on Africans themselves. So I decided to write one.”

Describing the difficulties of self-publishing, Mkhize said, “Initially I pitched the book concept to a publisher but they lost interest. Then I had to push on my own to make this book a reality.”

For more information on how to order the book, e-mail kids@historyeducation.africa.

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