That melanin magic

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The di­ver­sity of toys and ma­te­ri­als is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter. Last week we saw a new wave of black dolls, and this week we heard about a book that puts a black girl front and cen­tre as the hero in a mod­ern fairy tale.

Ti­tled The Girl With­out a Sound, it was writ­ten by lo­cal ac­tress Buhle Ngaba and cel­e­brates the beauty of black girls. She de­scribes the text as a re­bel­lious re­sponse to all the fairy tales “about white princesses with blue eyes, long flow­ing locks of hair and an eery aware­ness of their beauty”.

The char­ac­ter in Ngaba’s book is dif­fer­ent – she’s “a lit­tle girl with a fluff of hair, a mouth the shape of a cherry blossom and brown pools for eyes”.

What’s even bet­ter is that the book is ac­ces­si­ble for free down­load as a PDF.

The au­thor re­gards The Girl With­out a Sound as a “heal­ing balm” to what she feels ev­ery time “the black fe­male body is

dis­missed or vi­o­lated in a white, pa­tri­ar­chal and racist so­ci­ety”. “As an act of restor­ing power and agency to the young black girl in South Africa, I wrote a story about a voice­less girl of colour in search of a sound of her own.”

The book will be made avail­able in hard copy at a later stage and a Setswana ver­sion called Moset­sana A Didimet­seng will be dis­trib­uted in North West.

In com­ing months Ngaba aims to auc­tion A3 prints of the pho­tos in the book to en­cour­age a cam­paign to sup­ply fem­i­nine hygiene prod­ucts to young girls who miss up to 50 days of school a year while on their pe­ri­ods. Ev­ery­thing will be done un­der the ban­ner of her not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion KaMatla Pro­duc­tions. – Amanda Sono

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

MAK­ING THE RIGHT NOISES The Girl With­out a Sound

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