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ELLE Reads: Mpumi’s Magic Beads by Lebohang Masango & Masego Morulane

Lebohang Nova Masango published her first ever children’s novel with Masego Morulane and it is a story about Mpumi and her friends who discover the magic in her hair and what begins as an ordinary school day in Joburg is suddenly full of adventure everywhere!

ELLE sat down with Lebohang to discuss the wonder of reading, self- publishing and fulfilling her dreams with Mpumi’s Magic Beads

ELLE: Where did the idea for a children’s book come from?
Lebohang Masango (LM): I’ve always loved literature and reading is my favourite thing to do. Many of the books that I enjoyed in my childhood were responsible for me wanting to become a writer and for the creative alignment my life has taken, so I thought I’d try writing a book. I wrote Mpumi’s Magic Beads and then started Thank You Books in September 2017 so that I could independently publish the book. I was lucky enough to have been able to collaborate with Masego Morulane, who illustrated and designed the book.

ELLE: What challenges have you faced as a self- published author?
LM: Big bookstores tend to trust the bigger publishing names more than lesser known publishers, which is understandable, as it’s easier to trust that what they have is what you’d like to stock immediately. Fortunately, there are many independent bookstores in South Africa where I have been able to place the book. Another wonderful challenge I took on was teaching myself, via Google, how to do things like check that the font was right and that the barcode was correct.
ELLE: How are readers responding to the book?
LM: We recently had a reading at the Sandton Library with Ethnikids and it was full and positive! Signing books for little girls who looked like the little girls in the story was really fulfilling.

ELLE: What encouraging words would you give to an aspirant writer?
LM: Just start. Get yourself a notebook, plan whatever you need to plan, but don’t ever be intimidated out of your dreams.

This interview is featured in our March 2018 issue