A YOUNG debut author recently published a book which she believes has an important message for all women out there. Zikhona Mbala (24) began writing when she was in Grade seven and has now flourished into a budding author. Mbala was born in Lusisiki, in the Eastern Cape, where she completed her schooling. She then completed her tertiary education at Coastal College in Durban. Now she travels in between the South Coast and Durban.Her book, titled My Heart Deceived Me, is a fictional work about a young woman going through family tribulations who eventually contracts HIV from her partner. According to the author, she began writing the book in 2016. It was published this year and launched in Johannesburg. Mbala is still trying to find a distributor in the KZN region, but said the feedback she has received so far has been very motivating.“I’m glad the book has been educational to so many people. I’ve heard of many readers who say they have gone through the same thing. This just motivates me to keep writing and reach out to more people,” she said. Due to the controversial nature of the book, Mbala said her mother initially did not approve but she is now very proud of her daughter’s success.Her message to other women out there, whether they have read the book or not, is that, “Getting married can be a good thing, but if you don’t get married, it is not something to be ashamed about. Don’t give your whole life to someone just to avoid the shame of being single.” Mbala is currently working on a second book, which she says encourages men to speak out against abuse.