Author in Grade 2 nominated for an award

Even though she did not win, a 7-year-old writer who was nominated for an award returned with a smile.

Owethu Ndlakuse returned from Johannesburg looking like a winner after rubbing shoulders with veteran writers after being nominated for her book of short stories, Mholweni – igama lam ngu-Owethu, at the South African Literary Awards (SALA).

This Grade 2 pupil at Despatch Primary School, was selected in the Children’s Literature category.

The young writer, Owethu Ndlakuse. PICTURE: Supplied.

According to Owethu’s father, Madoda Ndlakuse, who is also a popular writer in Xhosa literature, the recognition of his daughter’s book comes after one of Owethu’s fans in the Western Cape submitted Owethu’s books to the SALAs so that it could be considered as one of the potential winners.

“This follows a call to writers who write children’s literature, novels, short stories, poems, and so on to submit their work,” Ndlakuse explained.

This writer expressed his delight that his child was chosen, saying that even though she did not win the award, it brought a smile to her face.

“I am excited that Owethu’s storytelling is making a difference. To me, this means that many fathers, and even parents in general, will spend time with their children and even pursue their interests,” he said.

He also stated that children look up to their parents and mimic what they do.

“I am also pleased that the child emphasises the mother tongue,” he said.

Ndlakuse claimed that Owethu had no idea what her nomination meant.

“We were cheering for her and she was just happy to go to Johannesburg and get some fresh air. Perhaps she will understand the true meaning of this when she is older,” said the young writer’s father.

He also stressed the importance of parents being the first to support their children, as well as the first to talk to them and tell them positive stories.

“Another important thing is for the parent to be an example because the child, regardless of how you train them, watches what you do more than what you say,” the delighted father said.

Owethu’s father said that his daughter wishes to rewrite a book. “She told us, ‘mother and father, I want to write a book, but I want it to be a long story,’” Ndlakuse said.

Ndlakuse recently published three new books. The first is a collection of poems titled, Chuu Ngcembe Ngemibongo, followed by a short story titled, Ndiyaqal’ukuyibona Le and his biography, Indoda Ayikwazi Kubayinkedama.

“It tells a lot about the humiliation I experienced as a child, growing up without parents even though they were still alive, being mistreated, living a life of discomfort, and being able to live life despite the difficulties,” said this renowned author.