Lelo aims to help others with first book tackling bullying
For eight-year-old Lelo Mofokeng, reading and writing is not just a passion but a way to find healing.
The Grade 3 pupil at The Ridge School, north of Johannesburg, has just written and published his first book chronicling his experience with a bully he met while in Grade R.
He spoke to Sowetan in the presence of his mother who gave permission for the interview.
His book How I Survived Bullying took the Kempton Park-born pupil two weeks to write. "I was punched in the stomach, pushed and teased by a boy in my school," he said.
Lelo, who started reading at an early age, said he became so terrified of the bully that he would hide under desks at school.
"It was so bad. I did not want to go to school anymore. I hated it."
Lelo said that he ended up asking for help from his teacher but it took time for the bullying to be resolved.
He told his mother about his ordeal and she took up the matter with the school and the alleged bully's parents who eventually apologised.
But the budding author's emotional scars remained.
"I wanted to write my feelings down so that I could calm down and feel better," he said.
Lelo's mother, Lerato Rakgaba, helped her son self-publish the book because she wanted to help other children faced with a similar situation.
Rakgaba said her son had always wanted to be a writer.
"My book has advice on what children can do to stop being bullied," Lelo said.
"Never blame yourself and tell an adult you trust what is happening to you."
The youngster's father is Sello Mofokeng, aka Nemza of Skwatta Kamp fame. Lelo said his creativity may have been inspired by both his parents.
His entrepreneur mother makes and sells cakes.
Lelo's future dreams include publishing his other books Lelo's Life and Greg the Rabbit which he has already written.
"I want to be an animator and continue to be an author."