I once spotted a beautiful tote bag with authors names all over it but I could not get over how there were no authors on it whose stories reflected mine. I could not fault the producer they were creating from their point of view, it was their product so what was stopping me from celebrating the authors I love and that I am certain many other people would also love to celebrate?
My niece, a beautiful, brown, growing girl and her consumption of all things princess Elsa made me want to surround her life with protagonists that looked like her.
I read a lot of books when I was young and around her age, from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Famous Five to Three Little Women. I was surrounded by books that I loved yet I remember being 11 and hating my skin as everything around me, but me, was celebrated, the stories I was told rarely had characters that looked like me. The African books we had were fables and folklore with animals as the main protagonists. In the stories I found, the protagonists were never awkward, adventure seeking, stloto having, brown girls like me.
I decided that Kantiga would be my attempt at celebrating the authors my little niece will one day read. This is a celebration of the authors writing the children’s stories she needs to read now, books written by my peers such as I love me!, Refilwe, Tullula and Mpumi’s magic beads.
Founder of Kantiga