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Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winners publish exciting new isiZulu and Sesotho books

Nal’ibali Column 18: Term 14, as published in the Sunday World (26 November 2017), Daily Dispatch (27 November 2017) and Herald (30 November 2017)


By Carla Lever

How hard is it to write a 25 000 word story – one that’s compelling and exciting to young people?

Ask Lebohang Pheko and Dumisani Hlatswayo. They’ve just been awarded prizes in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Along with four other authors writing in English and Afrikaans, their winning books – Pheko’s in Sesotho and Hlatswayo’s in isiZulu – are published and available for purchase both online ( and in selected bookstores nation-wide.

“It took me almost a year, including the editing of the manuscript going forth and back from Tafelberg publishers,” said Lebohang Pheko of her book, Mamello. For Dumisani Hlatswayo, writing had to happen after hours when he came back from his copywriting job. “This one took me 2 months to research, another 2 months to write the first draft and one month to edit.”

Lebohang Pheko, author of Mamello

The discipline and time commitment proved worth it: their books for young people join the ranks of new South African stories that the competition has published since it began in 1980.

If there’s been a big story to this year’s award, it’s been one of success. With an increase of 60 submissions from previous numbers, there were record competition entries in 2017. Sponsors Sanlam generously matched this with increased prize money for the winners: R20 000 for Gold award and R10 000 for Silver.

There was more good news for language activists: entries were strong across all three categories, with 55 English, 46 Indigenous language and 33 Afrikaans submissions. “There can be few more worthwhile endeavors than enabling young people to read books reflecting their own realities in their own language,” said Eloise Wessels, managing director of Media24 Books, of which NB Publishers and Tafelberg form part. Wessels added that mother tongue stories “play a key role in promoting literacy and a love for books, bringing lifelong rewards.”

Thirty-seven year old Gold Award winner Dumisani Hlatswayo was born in Soweto with ink in his veins. By the age of 14 he had already had a short story in isiZulu published – Isibhobo. This was followed by a flurry of other work: he’s been a finalist for the Maskew Millar Longman awards, had a radio drama aired and currently works as a copywriter.

Dumisani Hlatswayo, author of Imibala Yothando

Hlatswayo’s winning story, Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), is described as “a riveting tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and growing up in the social media era.” It centres on Sinenhlanhla, who is sent to a new school in Soweto, where she falls prey to a cyber bully.

For silver award winner Lebohang Pheko, the story was somewhat different. In Virginia in the Free State, her mother singlehandedly raised three girls, of which Pheko was the youngest. Although she had dreams of becoming a lawyer, money was tight and life had other plans: she was married and had two children by her early twenties. Throughout all of this, she leapt up her own creative pursuits: movies, drawing, reading, but most of all, writing stories.

Pheko’s prize winning Sesotho story, Mamello, takes on all these elements, weaving what the judges described as a “perfect tale of overcoming adversity” about a young girl who is not allowed to attend school but dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer.

“On the day I heard I was nominated, it was good news for me,” said Pheko. “But when I heard that I won the competition and was heading to the awards, I just couldn’t believe it! I was over the moon, but also full of amazement.”

In no small part, the competition’s 2017 successes have been as a result of a conscious drive from all concerned. A ‘250 words a day’ campaign was launched, where well-known authors gave feedback and mentorship to encourage entrants to get over the line. Writing’s a solitary occupation, so constant tips and encouragement can go a long way – especially for first time authors, many of whom had never written long form work before.

“An incredible 48 entries were received from debut writers, which reflects the success of the campaign,” said Michelle Cooper, publisher of children and young adult fiction at Tafelberg. Cooper added that it’s not merely quantity of entries that the competition draws, but quality too: in the 37 years the competition has existed, nearly 80 stories have gone on to be prescribed for schoolchildren as setworks.

How important is hooking children on stories and making available books in their own languages? “As a young person growing in Limpopo there were quite a few isiZulu books I could relate to,” Hlatswayo said. “In fact, the best way to inspire more people to read and write stories in their own languages is to make those kinds of books available.”

Of course, now there are two more books to add to those libraries! Mamello and Imibala Yothando are available and adding to the number of home-grown stories South Africans can be proud to call their own.

Feeling inspired? Now’s the perfect time to start planning your world-changing new novel: entries for the 2019 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature are now open. Entry forms are available at and the closing date is 5 October 2019. Make 2018 a year of celebrating the stories within your world.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit:


Book details


Imibala Yothando

2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: an interview with Lesley Beake, who won gold for her novel Hap

Lesley Beake’s young adult novel, Hap, recently won gold in the category ‘English’ in the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. The judges described Hap as “a well-structured and beautifully written coming-of-age story.”


Lucy, a 16-year-old girl from New York, is recovering from a recent traumatic experience. She joins her father at the fictional Barclay Bay, on South Africa’s west coast, where she slowly makes sense of her ordeal. But Lucy cannot help but also be affected by the characters around her, including that of Hap, an early ancestor who lived in the area, and whose experiences Lucy, in a state of heightened emotion and perception, seems to sense.

Lesley Beake, author of Hap. © Hannerie de Wet

Listen to NB Publishers’ recent interview with Lesley:


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Eleven international releases to look forward to this November

Hit Refresh
Satya Nadella

From the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, comes this inspiring account of the transformation of an organisation and the coming transformation of humanity.

As told by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Hit Refresh is the story of corporate change and reinvention as well as the story of Nadella’s personal journey, one that is taking place today inside a storied technology company, and one that is coming in all of our lives as intelligent machines become more ambient and more ubiquitous. It’s about how people, organisations and societies can and must hit refresh – transform – in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, relevance and renewal. At the core, it’s about us humans and our unique qualities, like empathy, which will become ever more valuable in a world where the torrent of technology will disrupt like never before.

As much a humanist as a technologist, Nadella defines his mission and that of the company he leads as empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Also available in eBook format.

What Does This Button Do?
Bruce Dickinson

‘I was spotty, wore an anorak, had biro-engraved flared blue jeans with “purple” and “Sabbath” written on the thighs, and rode an ear-splittingly uncool moped. Oh yes, and I wanted to be a drummer…’

Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden’s legendary front man – is one of the world’s most iconic singers and songwriters. But there are many strings to Bruce’s bow, of which larger-than-life lead vocalist is just one. He is also an airline captain, aviation entrepreneur, motivational speaker, beer brewer, novelist, radio presenter, film scriptwriter and an international fencer: truly one of the most unique and interesting men in the world.

In What Does this Button Do? Bruce contemplates the rollercoaster of life. He recounts – in his uniquely anarchic voice – the explosive exploits of his eccentric British childhood, the meteoric rise of Maiden, summoning the powers of darkness, the philosophy of fencing, brutishly beautiful Boeings and firmly dismissing cancer like an uninvited guest.

Bold, honest, intelligent and funny, this long-awaited memoir captures the life, heart and mind of a true rock icon, and is guaranteed to inspire curious souls and hard-core fans alike.

Also available in eBook format.

Fools and Mortals
Bernard Cornwell

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, Fools and Mortals, takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

Also available in eBook format.

Bad Dad
David Walliams

The new heart-warming and hilariously brilliant story from number one bestselling author David Walliams. Beautifully illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross.

Dads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

There are fat ones and thin ones, tall ones and short ones.

There are young ones and old ones, clever ones and stupid ones.

There are silly ones and serious ones, loud ones and quiet ones.

Of course, there are good dads, and bad dads . . .

A high-speed cops and robbers adventure with heart and soul about a father and son taking on the villainous Mr Big – and winning!

This riches-to-rags story will have you on the edge of your seat and howling with laughter!

Bad Dad is a fast and furious, heart-warming story of a father and son on an adventure – and a thrilling mission to break an innocent man into prison!

Also available in eBook format.

In the Midst of Winter
Isabel Allende

New York Times bestseller Isabel Allende returns with a beautifully crafted, multi-generational novel of struggle, endurance and friendship against the odds.

Amid the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, an unexpected love blossoms between two people who thought they were deep in the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his sixties, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young, undocumented migrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes an unforeseen and more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.

These three are brought together in a mesmerizing story that sweeps from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala to turbulent 1970s Chile and Brazil, and sparks a long-overdue love between Richard and Lucia, who discover within themselves, in the midst of winter, an invincible summer.

Woven with Isabel Allende’s trademark humanity,passion and storytelling verve, In the Midst of Winter is a vivid and unforgettable tale.

Also available in eBook format.

The Betrayal
Kate Furnivall

Could you kill someone? Someone you love?

Paris, 1938. This is the story of twin sisters divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.

Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage … and betrayal.

Also available in eBook format.

The Rules of Magic
Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic, to date Alice Hoffman’s biggest ever selling novel, became a major Hollywood film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman who played sisters Sally and Gillian Owens. In this sparkling prequel we meet sisters Frances and Jet and Vincent, their brother. From the beginning their mother Susanna knew they were unique: Franny with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, who could commune with birds; Jet as shy as she is beautiful, who knows what others are thinking, and Vincent so charismatic that he was built for trouble.

Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles and certainly, absolutely, no books
about magic…

But the Owens siblings are desperate to uncover who they really are. Each heads down a life-altering course, filled with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, and magic and love. Despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries – Know that for our family, love is a curse – they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

Also available in eBook format.

Dork Diaries 12: Crush Catastrophe
Rachel Renée Russell

Nikki Maxwell’s adventures continue in the twelfth installment in the blockbuster #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

In Nikki Maxwell’s newest diary, it’s the countdown to the end of the school year, and Nikki’s juggling some big questions about how she’ll spend her summer. She’s also facing an unexpected crush catastrophe–there’s a new kid interested in Nikki, but the last thing she wants to do is accidentally hurt Brandon!

It all comes down to a big decision Nikki has to make, and drama like she’s never faced before!

Also available in eBook format.

Sugar Money
Jane Harris

Based on a remarkable and little-known true story, Jane Harris’s third novel is both a heartbreaking trip into our troubled colonial past, and a stunning act of literary ventriloquism.

Martinique, 1765, and brothers Emile and Lucien are charged by their French master, Father Cleophas, with a mission.

They must return to Grenada, the island they once called home, and smuggle back the 42 slaves claimed by English invaders at the hospital plantation in Fort Royal. While Lucien, barely in his teens, sees the trip as a great adventure, the older and worldlier Emile has no illusions about the dangers they will face.

But with no choice other than to obey Cleophas – and sensing the possibility, however remote, of finding his first love Celeste – he sets out with his brother on this ‘reckless venture’.With great characters, a superb narrative set up, and language that is witty, bawdy and thrillingly alive, Sugar Money is a novel to treasure.

Also available in eBook format.

Sleep No More
P.D. James

The acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’, P. D. James, was a past master of the short story, weaving together motifs of the Golden Age of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories contained four of these perfectly formed stories, and this companion volume contains a further six, published here together for the first time.

As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution.

The punishments inflicted on the guilty are fittingly severe, but here they are meted out by the unseen forces of natural justice rather than the institutions of the law. Once again, P. D. James shows her expert control of the short-story form, conjuring motives and scenarios with complete conviction, and each with a satisfying twist in the tail.

Also available in eBook format.

The Secret Life of Cows
Rosamund Young

Cows can love, play games, bond and form strong, life-long friendships. They can sulk, hold grudges, and they have preferences and can be vain.

All these characteristics and more have been observed, documented, interpreted and retold by Rosamund Young based on her experiences looking after the family farm’s herd on Kite’s Nest Farm in Worcestershire, England. Here the cows, sheep, hens and pigs all roam free. There is no forced weaning, no separation of young from siblings or mother. They seek and are given help when they request it and supplement their own diets by browsing and nibbling leaves, shoots, flowers and herbs.

Rosamund Young provides a fascinating insight into a secret world – secret because many modern farming practices leave no room for displays of natural behavior yet, ironically, a happy herd produces better quality beef and milk.

Also available in eBook format.

Book details

Sanlampryse vier 2017 se beste plaaslike jeugboeke

Sanlam en Tafelberg, ’n druknaam van NB-Uitgewers, kondig met trots die wenners van die 2017-Sanlampryse vir Jeuglektuur aan. Die wenboeke, wat die ryke verskeidenheid en talent in plaaslike jeugliteratuur bevestig, is gisteraand, 7 November 2017, in Johannesburg bekroon.

Die Sanlampryse word tweejaarliks toegeken vir nuwe manuskripte. Vir vanjaar se kompetisie is ’n rekordgetal van 134 inskrywings ontvang in die drie kategorieë – Afrikaans (33 inskrywings), Engels (55 inskrywings), Afrikatale (46 inskrywings in agt tale). Twee wenners (goud en silwer) is in elke kategorie aangewys. Prysgeld van altesaam R90 000 is toegeken nadat Sanlam die prysgeld tot R20 000 vir goud en R10 000 vir silwer in elke kategorie verhoog het.

Die ses wentitels sluit verhale in oor mishandeling, kuberboelies, die disintegrasie van gesinne, oorlewing in ’n post-apokaliptiese Suid-Afrika en verbode liefde, en weerspieël uitdagings waarmee jong mense van vandag worstel en kan identifiseer. Die 2017-wenners is:


Blou is nie 'n kleur nieCarin Krahtz, skrywer van die gewilde Elton April-jeugverhale, wen goud vir Blou is nie ’n kleur nie, ’n storie oor die disintegrasie van ’n disfunksionele voorstedelike gesin in Pretoria, gesien uit die oogpunt van die 16-jarige Vicky. Die beoordelaars het Blou is nie ’n kleur nie beskryf as ’n universele verhaal “wat jou op die krop van jou maag slaan”, maar wat getemper word met skerpsinnige dialoog en humor. Carin woon in Centurion.



  • Jan Vermeulen kry silwer for Soen, ’n speurverhaal “wat die leser deurgaans op die punt van sy stoel hou”. Dit gaan oor ’n gewilde en begaafde hoofseun wie se ongesonde obsessie met ’n jong onderwyseres hom amper sy lewe kos. Vermeulen het in 2002 goud gewen vir Geraamtes dra nie klere nie. Jan woon in Dispatch.




Hap Lesley Beake wen goud vir Hap, wat deur die keurders beskryf is as “’n goed gestruktureerde, pragtige grootwordroman”. Dit vertel die verhaal van ’n probleemtiener wat van New York na Suid-Afrika kom om tyd deur te bring saam met haar pa, wat besig is met argeologiese opgrawings aan die Kaapse weskus. Hier identifiseer sy met die fossiel van ’n jong vrou wat sy Hap noem. Lesley woon in Stanford.



New KeepersJayne Bauling wen silwer vir New Keepers, wat volgens die keurders “die gevoel gee van ’n Lauren Beukes-roman gekruis met Hunger Games”. Dit speel af in ’n post-apokaliptiese toekoms en volg die wel en wee van ’n seun wat ’n reis na die Wildlands adverteer vir diegene wat avontuur soek. Bauling het in 2013 goud gewen vir Dreaming of Light. Jayne woon in Witrivier.




Imibala YothandoGoud is toegeken aan die Zoeloeskrywer Dumisani Hlatswayo vir Imibala Yothando (“Die kleure van liefde”), wat deur die keurders beskryf is as “’n onneersitbare verhaal van liefde, verraad, jaloesie en grootword in die sosialemedia-era”. Die hoofkarakter, Sinenhlanhla, word na ’n nuwe skool in Soweto gestuur waar sy deur ’n kuberboelie geteister word. Dumisani woon in Somerset-Oos.



Mamello’n Debuutskrywer, Lebohang Pheko, wen silwer vir Mamello (Sesotho). Mamello is ’n jong meisie wie se ouers haar verbied om skool toe te gaan, maar wat daarvan droom om ’n menseregteprokureur te word. Dié boek is deur die keurders beskryf as “’n perfekte verhaal van hoe ’n mens teëspoed in die lewe te bowe kan kom”, met die krag van onderwys en vergifnis as hooftemas. Lebohang woon in Virginia.



Die wenmanuskripte is deur Tafelberg ontwikkel en uitgegee, in sowel gedrukte as e-boekformaat. Manuskripte is anoniem gekeur sodat debuutskrywers op ’n gelyke voet met gevestigde skrywers kan meeding.

250 woorde per dag

Om die kompetisie meer toeganklik te maak vir jong en opkomende skrywers, en hulle te motiveer om hul manuskripte van 25 000 woorde betyds te voltooi, kon aspirantskrywers deelneem aan Sanlam se “250 woorde per dag”-veldtog op Facebook. Hier is hulle aangemoedig om 250 woorde per dag te skryf, waarna hulle terugvoering ontvang het van bekende skrywers wat as mentors opgetree het.

“Dié veldtog het die kompetisie nie net meer interaktief gemaak en ons ’n wyer gehoor laat bereik nie, maar ook daartoe bygedra dat ons 60 inskrywings meer as vir die vorige kompetisie ontvang het,” sê Michelle Cooper, uitgewer van kinder-en-jeugboeke by Tafelberg. “’n Ongelooflike 48 inskrywings is van debuutskrywers ontvang, wat die sukses van die Facebook-veldtog onderstreep.”

Sedert die Sanlampryse in 1980 die eerste keer toegeken is, is nagenoeg 80 inskrywings vir skole voorgeskryf. “Dit bevestig die waarde van die kompetisie vir die ontwikkeling van plaaslike jeuglektuur van gehalte,” sê Cooper. Op die lang lys van voorgeskrewe wentitels is onder meer Praise Song deur Jenny Robson, Kungasa Ngifile deur E.D.M. Sibaya, Leba Seipone deur Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, SuperZero deur Darrel Bristow-Bovey en Hoopvol deur Derick van der Walt. Rolprente is ook van sommige titels gemaak, soos Lien se lankstaanskoene deur Derick van der Walt en Die ongelooflike avonture van Hanna Hoekom deur Marita van der Vyver.

Die pryse is oorhandig deur Lebogang Monyatsi, hoof van groepmarkontwikkeling en belanghebbende-betrekkinge by Sanlam, en Eloise Wessels, besturende direkteur van Media24 Boeke, waarvan NB-Uitgewers en Tafelberg deel uitmaak.

“Ons is bevoorreg en trots om deel te wees van hierdie wonderlike inisiatief van Sanlam om nuwe skryftalent te ontwikkel en letterkunde van gehalte vir jeuglesers in al ons amptelike tale te skep,” sê Eloise Wessels. “Min dinge is so die moeite werd as om dit vir jong mense moontlik te maak om boeke oor hul eie werklikhede in hul eie taal te kan lees. Daarby speel dit ook ’n groot rol in die bevordering van geletterdheid en ’n liefde vir boeke, wat lewenslank vrugte dra.”

Die prysfunksie, wat by Exclusive Books in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, gehou is, was ook gemik op jong mense. Uittreksels uit die wentitels is deur leerders van St Mary’s School, Waverley voorgelees, en die Amazwi-koor van die St Stithians Girls’ College het opgetree. Ook teenwoordig was hoofde van Sanlam se Blue Ladder-skole, wat elk eksemplare van die wentitels ontvang het.

Inskrywings ingewag

Inskrywings word nou ingewag vir die 2019-Sanlampryse vir Jeuglektuur. Inskrywingsvorms is beskikbaar by en die sluitingsdatum is 5 Oktober 2019.

Book details

Read an excerpt from the third book in Bontle Senne's Afrocentric fantasy adventure, Shadow Chasers

Only the Shadow Chasers, with their magical knives, can save the world from the evil that lives in the dreamworld.

“Scary riveting fun! Escape in this magical and modern South African fantasy.” – Nonikiwe Mashologu, childhood literacy specialist

“I love the book because it’s scary and cool. Nom is a very brave girl.” – Gugulethu Machin, tweeny reader

Flame of Truth is the third in the Shadow Chasers series, an Afrocentric fantasy adventure for pre-teens (9 to 12 year olds.)

Bontle Senne is a book blogger and literacy advocate. She is a former managing director at the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, a trustee of READ Educational Trust and a part owner of feminist trade publishing house Modjaji Books.
Read an excerpt from Bontle’s extraordinary book:

They hear the piercing scream of the Lightning Bird as another ball of flames falls from the dark sky and explodes on the patch of sand at the cave opening.

Nom and Zithembe lie on their bellies in the dirt, trying to stay low in the shadows so that the Lightning Bird does not come into the cave to find them.

“Nom, when we get out of here … ,” Zithembe whispers bitterly, pressing his cheek to the ground so he can look at Nom and she can see how annoyed he is.

Nom rolls her eyes and shifts her attention to the cave opening. She can’t hear the Lightning Bird, but that doesn’t mean it’s not waiting for them just outside the cave, ready to drop another ball of fire. “There was no way I could have known that it was going to come all the way up to the mountains,” Nom says. “I thought these things stayed in the forest!”

“Who told you that?” Zithembe snaps.

“Rosy! Well, kind of Rosy. I think that’s what she said …” Nom thinks back to a few weeks ago when she and Rosy, Zithembe’s cousin, had come into the dreamworld and were chased by the Lightning Bird. The giant black bird had flown over them, circling, stalking. With its long, curved beak, shaggy chest feathers, two sets of wings, and two long, orange legs, it had terrified her and brought back Rosy’s darkest memories.

Now, when Nom reaches out and her hand finds the cave wall, the stone feels cool and wet. She feels the magic of the dreamworld buzzing lightly through the tips of her fingers. It’s the same feeling she sometimes gets when she holds her knife. A Shadow Chaser’s knife has powers that she and Zithembe are only just starting to understand.

“We could go back,” she suggests, already guessing what Zithembe will think of that idea. Zithembe groans as a clap of thunder booms from outside the cave.

“We cannot just go back,” he says. “We have to find my mother. How can we find her if we go back?”

“Zee, we’re not going to be able to get out of here without getting roasted. We can use the special powers in your knife to get home, and then try another night. We can come back in a few days with – I don’t know – a plan or something.”

It is weird for Nom to suddenly be the one with a plan. She’s never really been known for thinking things through. They got stuck here in this cave because when Nom saw the Lightning Bird she turned and ran before Zithembe could even ask what was going on. They had scrambled further up the mountain they were exploring. Then Nom dragged Zithembe into the cave just as the balls of fire began to rain down on them, burning holes the size of soccer balls into the sand. Nom had been right to be afraid, but she could have at least warned him before she started running.
It was so often “act and then think” with her. At least Zithembe had finally gotten used to that.

“I have a better idea,” Zithembe says. “You should use your knife to turn yourself into a Lightning Bird.”

“What?” Nom asks, even though she’s pretty sure she heard him.

“You should turn yourself into a Lightning Bird,” Zithembe repeats, replaying what his mother had told him about the power of Nom’s blue knife to change her into someone – or something – else. “I’ll jump on your back and we can fly out of here and into the forest.”

If they weren’t trapped, crawling on their stomachs in the dark, Nom would punch Zithembe. “But the forest is where it lives!” she says, feeling deeply frustrated.

Nom remembers the forest from her visit to the dreamworld with Rosy, when they fought the Mami Wata.

She remembers the muffled sounds of moans, crying and wild giggling drifting out to them from inside the dark and unknowable Thathe Vondo Forest. Rosy had explained that the forest exists in the real world and the dreamworld at the same time. In the real world, the people who live near the forest believe that it is full of spirits and monsters. In the real world, the people are just as afraid of the Lightning Bird which they call Ndadzi, as Nom is, here in the dreamworld.

“OK, then we fly to the Clearing or to the Lake of Memories,” Zithembe suggests.

Being annoyed isn’t helping, so Nom sighs and tries to be kind instead.

She says, “Zee, listen to me. There are soldiers of the Army of Shadows everywhere. Even now, the shadow men must be marching towards us. Your knife’s power can get us out of here safely. I know you want to find your mom. I want to find her too, Zee, but not today …”

They are quiet for a few minutes.

Nom isn’t sure whether Zithembe is still trying to think of ways to get out of this cave and keep exploring the dreamworld or whether he is trying to accept the truth in her words. As she waits for him to speak again, Nom sees a cloud of pale orange dust float into the cave.

The dust cloud stops just in front of them, blocking their view of the cave’s opening, and then drifts down low to the ground where they lie.

“Nom … Zithembe,” says the soft, faraway voice of a girl.

Zithembe twists his head to look at the floating dust and then back at Nom.

“Did that dust thing just speak?” Nom asks, saying out loud what both of them are thinking.

“I have a deal for you,” whispers the dust. “Help me rescue my friend fromthe Army of Shadows and I will help you find Itumeleng.”

Itumeleng. Zee’s mother.

“Who – or what – are you? Why should we believe you?” Zithembe asks.

There’s a trace of anger dripping into his voice. He wants to save his mother, but how can he trust a floating cloud of dust? Any of the magical things in the dreamworld could trick him into trapping himself or Nom here.

Book details

Jaco Jacobs se Both sides of zero se regte aan Oneworld verkoop

LAPA is baie trots om aan te kondig dat Jaco Jacobs se boek Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word se wêreldwye Engelse regte pas verkoop is aan Oneworld, ’n uitgewery in Brittanje.

Die Engelse titel sal heet ‘Both sides of zero’. Die vertaling is deur Kobus Geldenhuys gedoen.

Vroeër vanjaar is die fliek ‘Nul is nie niks nie’ landswyd in filmteaters uitgereik. Dit is ’n verwerking van hierdie einste boek.

Oneworld is dieselfde uitgewery wat vroeër ook die regte vir Jaco se boek ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim gekoop het.

Oneworld is ook bekend daarvoor dat twee van hulle boeke reeds die Man Booker Prize gewen het.
Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word is hier te koop.



’n Goeie dag vir boomklim