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Improving South Africa’s literacy rate is paramount to the success of the country and its people. It starts with young children falling in love with the written word, learning through illustrated characters about themselves and the world around them.
However, there are not that many children’s books that speak to the lived experiences of many young South Africans. The adventurous character Gimba, created by Thembinkosi (Themba) Mabaso, and Njabulo Publishers are boldly pioneering the children and youth literary market with entertaining, enduring and relevant books.
Njabulo Publishers is a self-publishing company established in 2003 by Mabaso, who is both
a writer and illustrator. A fine art and teaching graduate, Mabaso has been writing for over 25 years and has participated in international writing and illustrating collaborations, as well as co-authoring and illustrating two books with the Nordic countries. Mabaso has also committed indigenous nursery rhymes to paper in a series called Imilolozelo.
Mabaso has developed a series of children’s books, including the well-loved Gimba, a fun-loving, adventurous taxi, who sometimes gets a little reckless and needs Dwinky to help him out. In his youth novels he ventures into unexplored genres in indigenous languages such as science fiction with his new books: Kwelingafelwa Nkonyane and Emajukujukwini Olwandle.
“I want to make a contribution towards developing and improving South Africa’s literacy levels by providing alternative reading material that is rooted in the African context,” says Mabaso.
Njabulo Publishers now boasts 18 titles including translations and will continue to develop and publish children’s books that are entertaining, engaging and educational.
Njabulo Publishers are available on order from www.njabulopublishers.co.za and in a few bookshops: Lohmiller Bookshop, Cresta, Adams Book stores in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, and Toys with Roots. Mabaso’s first E-book, Gimba and the Wheel, is now available on Amazon.