From the mouths of babes… proverbs may come

EVENT: Storytime with Sindiwe Magona (Saturday, 24 September; Book Lounge)


Launch of African Proverbs colouring in book and Sindiwe Magona reading.

“I don’t think an African folktale can be hilarious,” says a six-year-old child to renowned author Sindiwe Magona. “Well, we shall see if this judgement from the mouths’ of babes is true,” comes the reply.

Sindiwe, author of the acclaimed autobiographies To My Children’s Children and Forced to Grow, as well as children’s books The Best Meal Ever! and Life is a Hard and Beautiful Thing, is telling a few folktales, supported by questions and answers from the audience – and the six-year-old must admit defeat.

The performance is followed by the launch of Colour Africa Proverbs – a colouring book of ten proverbs from various African countries – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

Some examples of these proverbs are: “A bundle cannot be tied with one hand”, “a bird builds with the feathers of others”, and “wisdom is like a baobab tree – one cannot embrace it”.

The book, compiled by Rosie Campbell, Roule le Roux (who is also the illustrator), and Melissa Visser, is well received by parents, who find the proverbs edifying and the colouring exercises well thought out.

The compilers explain that their aim was to create an educational tool to teach children (and adults) about proverbs that are fast being forgotten.

“We also wanted to show the diversity of cultures, as well as common universal moral beliefs we all share,” emphasising that there is more to unite human beings than to divide them.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Kayamandi township near Stellenbosch as part of a library project.