Social Work lecturer Dr Maud Mthembu from UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences recently led a team that wrote an isiZulu children’s book about COVID-19 titled:Uhambo lwami ngesikhathi sekhovithi- My journey during COVID-19.
The book uses illustrations and child-centred language to tell the story of Nsimu, a 10-year-old child whose family was affected by COVID-19 and the impact the disease had on the family. The story, written in isiZulu, is told from the child’s perspective and is intended for children aged six years and above.
‘When writing stories for children, the context and setting of the story matter, and this book tells the story from the perspective of a child from rural areas. All children, including those from rural areas, can identify with the story and understand the impact of the pandemic on their lives. Despite the low COVID-19 related deaths among children, many have lost their caregivers or family members due to the virus,’ explained Mthembu.
She believes the book is appropriate for initiating COVID-19 related conversations with children and helping them express their experiences and feelings related to the virus and loss using child-friendly language.
Mthembu also partnered with Lulisandla Kumntwana, an NGO from Mseleni, to distribute 400 books to children affected by COVID-19. It was well-received by both children and teachers.
‘We are grateful to German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Fachhochschule University for the financial support received to write the book,’ said Mthembu.