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Actor Salamina Mosese launches first children’s book

'Disaster at Gogo's Spaza' targets children from six to nine years

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Salamina Mosese on reasons why she's written a children's bok.
Salamina Mosese on reasons why she's written a children's bok.
Image: Supplied.

Children getting up to no good at granny’s spaza is the plot of actor and TV personality Salamina Mosese’s first children’s book that she’s set to launch tomorrow.

Titled Disaster at Gogo's Spaza, Mosese, who has always been big on literature, first wrote the book as a part of an assignment for the writing course she took under lockdown.

After much convincing from her lecturer to publish her assignment as a book, Mosese has now added her name to the list of celebrities who have launched children's books.

The 39-year-old’s storytelling in the book is inspired by her daughter Tumi, her nieces and nephews who go on an adventure of mischief and crazy moments.

In a conversation with Sowetan earlier this week, Mosese said the book reminded her of the heart-warming relationship she had with her late grandmother and the importance of representation for children in the black community.

Why a children’s book?

I wanted to target children from ages six to nine with a book that’ll help improve their reading skills. When we first tested out the book on a group of children, our data showed us that even 11-year-olds were resonating with the book.

It being a chapter book, the setting of the story is about three cousins who go on an adventure in Soweto and attempt to run the spaza while their granny is away on a religious retreat.

The children have it in their heads that they can run a spaza and make tons of money but things turn for the worst soon, leading them to too much trouble because they’ve never had to run the spaza by themselves without their granny.  

What did you learn from writing this book?

That no matter the mischief that they get into, children need to be the heroes of their own story, even though they find themselves in much more trouble than they initially anticipated.

Image: Supplied.

How did you come up with the concept of the book?

I didn’t want to write a story that is based on fantasy… I wanted to narrate a story that is relatable to black children from all walks of life. I was basically trying to tell a unique and authentic South African story that many people can feel the reality of it.

This is a light-hearted book. I wanted to highlight the innocence of the children, the strength of the community and the relationship that they have with grannies and each other.

Do you resonate with your book?

Yes, I do. I grew up in Limpopo but I also lived in Meadowlands, Soweto, for a few years as a child. I remember taking walks to the spaza with my cousins and grandmother – those walks always held a fascination for me.

Why is it important to tell stories about black people?

I believe we live in such an interesting country that’s been through so much. As resilient as we were as a black nation, we didn’t think our stories mattered because they didn’t seem special but those special moments can happen every day in any circumstance, which was the main reason why I wanted to tell a story that is authentic and relatable.

I wanted to tell a story that helps children appreciate their reality and their childhood. For them to believe that where they come from is just as special as someone in a different reality as theirs.   

Is there an audiobook in the works?

I can’t say just yet but I wouldn’t mind exploring that option.

* The book is set to be released at bookstores nationwide on July 16

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