Historian, lecturer, PhD fellow and author of In Africa with Avi and Kumbi, Nomalanga Mkhize, aka Khize wamaZambezi, shares the importance of knowing the history of our continent.
This book was a labour of love. It took me three years to complete it because I was doing it in my spare time and self-publishing is hard. What I also found tricky was deciding what to actually put in the book because we had space constraints. Having more pages meant it would have been more expensive to print the best full-colour book. The reason I wrote In Africa with Avi and Kumbi, is simple — there’s nothing like it on the market. There isn’t a book that gives a coherent view of African history from various regions for our kids. It is aimed at children aged eight to 13, who can read for themselves. I hope they’ll enjoy it, but also learn about who we are as a people. I had to be mindful of the image and narrative I wanted to convey to kids about African people. Our children are growing up in a world where we are depicted as sufferers. I had to think, ‘are we a defeated people? Are we resilient or dynamic people?’ The images had to be beautiful but intentional. I find our kids know so much about the West, but not enough about
their continent. I had to make sure it’s a story about us, by us and that the Europeans are incidental to the story. Even though it’s packaged as a story, the book is actually factual.
I didn’t want it disputed in classrooms. There are some elements that flow like a story but can still be considered authoritative. I hope it’s a book that will be passed down from one generation to the next.–