Au­thor helps black girls to love their hair

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SI­PHUMELELE KHU­MALO

A BOOK has been pub­lished to en­cour­age black girls to take pride in their nat­u­ral hair.

A storm erupted last year after a Pre­to­ria school’s hair pol­icy ap­peared to in­fringe on the dig­nity of a black child. The protest was trig­gered by a teacher who al­legedly told a girl with a nat­u­ral afro to comb her hair “be­cause it looks like a bird’s nest”.

Gaut­eng Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi had to in­ter­vene to calm tem­pers after an­gry par­ents con­fronted the school over the is­sue.

Now, au­thor Le­bo­hang Masango wants girls to know there is noth­ing wrong with their hair and to take pride in it.

He has just pub­lished the book Mpumi’s Magic Beads.

Masango, who is a master’s can­di­date in so­cial an­thro­pol­ogy, poet and au­thor, said she felt the need to write the book to raise hair pol­i­tics in a way that chil­dren can un­der­stand.

The au­thor started writ­ing when she was 15 and says this book is an in­ti­mate por­trayal of friend­ship and Joburg.

“The story is about friend­ship, love and self-es­teem. Mpumi and her two friends are in school and their school is on the sec­ond floor in the in­ner city. They are un­able to play out­side, so they get bored.

“The red beads on her head al­low her and her friends to make wishes. Dur­ing break they use the magic beads to make three wishes. They go to the zoo, plan­e­tar­ium and amuse­ment park.”

While out on their ex­cur­sion, some­one makes fun of Mpumi’s braided hair.

Mpumi’s friends jump to her de­fence and help her build up her con­fi­dence.

The book is aimed at chil­dren in grades R to 4 and can be found at eth­, Xarra Books in Midrand and African Flavour book store in Braam­fontein.

She also does read­ings for kids and can be con­tacted on www.lebo­hang­ for book­ings.

EM­POW­ER­MENT: Poet and au­thor Le­bo­hang Masango wrote a chil­dren’s book on hair pol­i­tics and other so­cial is­sues.

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