#WorldKidLitWednesday: Meet Reviewer Lebohang Masango

Photo credit: Austin Malema

Please extend a warm welcome to Lebohang Masango who joins the #WorldKidLit Wednesday team at the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative blog as a regular reviewer.

Lebohang is a writer, poet and anthropologist with an impressive range of publications to her name, including Mpumi’s Magic Beads, a picture book for which she received the 2019 South African Literary Award for Children’s Literature and the 2019 Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award for Best Writer, among others. The story is set in Lebohang’s home city of Johannesburg and draws on her own experiences as a young girl to address the topics of hair politics and bullying, and promote self-esteem, love, sisterhood and community. It is available in all of South Africa’s 11 languages.

Find out more about Mpumi’s Magic Beads from Lebohang in this video interview:

Last year, Lebohang released a second Mpumi title, Mpumi and Jabu’s Magical Day, co-authored with Professor Claudine Storbeck. In 2020, she also branched out into Young Adult nonfiction with Grow to Be Great: Awesome African Achievers. This book, co-authored with Dr Judy Dlamini, celebrates the life journeys of 24 African leaders. 

Mpumi’s Magic Beads and Mpumi and Jabu’s Magical Day on display at Bargain Books, Cradlestone Mall, Johannesburg

As a children’s author, Lebohang hosts regular storytelling sessions in schools, bookshops and libraries—and now online. She has also worked with Book Dash, a South African NGO with a vision that every child should own 100 books by the age of five. The Great Cake Contest, created by Lebohang together with Nompumelelo Mdluli and Amanda van der Walt for Book Dash, is a sweet story about a young boy deciding what type of cake to bake for a competition.

Lebohang’s poetry has been published in anthologies and her poem “Ten Thousand Stories” is featured in MultiChoice/DStv’s Most Loved Storyteller campaign, an initiative that seeks to work with Africa’s creative industries to showcase the continent’s diversity and culture through its storytelling history.

Listen to a reading of this powerful, inspiring poem here:

Lebohang holds a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, where she is currently a PhD student. She is also a UNICEF Volunteer Program Ambassador and an inaugural Zanele Mbeki Fellow in feminist leadership.

Mpumi’s Magic Beads
Written by Lebohang Masango
Illustrated by Masego Morulane
2018, David Philip Publishers
ISBN: 9781485626701

Mpumi and Jabu’s Magical Day
Written by Lebohang Masango and Claudine Storbeck
Illustrated by Elizabeth Goode
2020, David Philip Publishers
ISBN: 9781485630258

Grow to Be Great: Awesome African Achievers
Written by Dr Judy Dlamini and Lebohang Masango
2020, Sifiso Publishers
ISBN: 9780620886369

The Great Cake Contest
Written by Lebohang Masango
Illustrated by Nompumelelo Mduli
2018, Book Dash

Laura Taylor is the founder of world children’s literature blog Planet Picture Book. She is a small business copywriter, NAATI-certified translator of French into English and member of AUSIT and IBBY Australia. When she is not writing, she is reading, and chasing after her two young children.  She tweets regularly @plapibo and posts at www.planetpicturebook.com

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