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Enjoy these South African short stories for kids

Sanibona, salibonani, molweni, dumelang, avuxeni, ndaa, hallo, and hello everyone. Welcome to the wonderful world of local stories!
Here you’ll find 5 South African short stories for kids and in all of our 11 official languages.

Some are reimagined South African folktales that have been told for generations, while others are original creations by local authors.
These are the stories that our children can relate to, because they speak of a world they know. So, let’s tell them and keep on telling them, because that’s how we keep these stories safe and ensure they live on.

Kwasukasukela. Chosi!

Enjoy Story Time
Portrait of Lebohang Nana Boselesele kids story book

Lebohang Masango - Author

Lebohang is an award-winning author and poet. Her children’s book, Mpumi’s Magic Beads, which was written in 2017, is available in all 11 of South Africa’s official languages and has won numerous literary awards.

Nanana Boselesele is a story Lebohang grew up with, one that she was told many times by her mother. It is a story that shaped her understanding of the world and that made her proud of her heritage and culture. This is why she has decided to give us her rendition of this famous South African folktale, so that other children can stay connected to the world they come from.

Subi Bosa

Subi Bosa - Illustrator

A modern artist with a distinctive style, Subi is a passionate children's book illustrator. He has worked on numerous international titles and also does a lot of advocate work for literacy organisations such as Bookdash and The Bookery. Check out @subi_bosa on Instagram or Behance.

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Portrait of Lebohang How the owl got its sound kids story book

Tracy-Lee Easthorpe - Author

Tracy-Lee enjoys writing for children because storytelling is a wonderful way to connect with them and also, because the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating imaginative tales.

The story of How the Owl Got its Sound came about because of her fascination with an owl that lived in a tree outside her bedroom window. Then one day, a friend told her how owls were introduced to Alexander township in an effort to help with an ever-growing rat infestation and how the locals were not happy about this, many believing it to be an act of witchcraft. In that moment her story was born.

Ndumiso Nyoni

Ndumiso Nyoni - Illustrator

Ndumiso is an award-winning illustrator and motion graphics designer. You might recognise his distinctive vector style from the work he did recently on Disney Africa’s channel. Find out more at dumisonyoni.com or follow @ndumiso_nyoni on Instagram.

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Portrait of Sindiwe Magona The Monkey and Crocodile Book

Dr Sindiwe Magona - Author

Dr Sindiwe has authored over 120 children’s books. She grew up on intsomi (South African folktales) told by grandfathers and grandmothers, older siblings, aunts, and uncles. These short stories for children are important, she realised, because the words conveyed knowledge and important teachings that helped them to understand the world they live in.

Monkey & Crocodile teaches children that deceit is a negative thing, especially in friendships. It also tells us that we are born with minds that can think and, if we don’t let fear overcome us, we can always think of creative solutions and can overcome anything.

Susie Appleby

Susie Appleby - Illustrator

An art teacher by profession, Susie believes in using traditional methods to create her artwork. She then converts her hand drawings and paintings into digital formats, which adds a beautiful old-school charm to her children's books. You can see her work by following @susieappleby on Instagram.

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Portrait of Refiloe Moahloli How the Elephants Saved Summer kids story book

Refiloe Moahloli - Author

Refiloe’s career as a writer of children’s books started when she was inspired to write a story for her nieces that celebrated who they are and where they come from. A story in which there is a sharing and exchange of their language and culture with others. This grew into her debut children’s book: How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?

How the Elephants Saved Summer is another original South African folktale by Refiloe, and it was inspired by the uniqueness of the baobab tree. When looking for interesting facts around this big and bold tree, she found that elephants can be a threat to it. Because they know that baobabs store water inside their tree trunks, in times of water scarcity they will look to them for their supply – tearing through the bark. But that is not the story she set out to tell. This is the story of a little elephant called Esi who befriends the big baobab tree and ends up saving summer.

Katlego Keokgale

Katlego Keokgale - Illustrator

Katlego is a young mom and talented modern artist who's excelled at bringing expressive characters to life. She has multiple international titles to her name and has worked on another book with Refiloe Moahloli set to be released by Pan MacMillan. You can check out her work at behance.net/Kady.

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Portrait of Cobi Labuscagne Jackal and Wolf kids story book

Dr Cobi Labuscagne - Author

Dr Cobi started writing because she wanted to share more South African stories with her children. She believes that local stories reinforce confidence and instil a sense of pride in one’s own background. Local stories can also teach children about people who live very different lives from our own, but whom we interact with every day, which is important in a country as diverse as ours.

Growing up, she listened to a lot of Jackal and Wolf stories and felt that it was unfair that the Jackal always won. She also loves milk tart, especially her grandmother’s milk tart, and wanted to weave a tale around this wonderful bit of South African cuisine. This is how her story of Jackal and Wolf came to be.

Mogau Kekana

Mogau Kekana - Illustrator

Mogau is a storyteller, animator, and conceptual artist with two distinct illustrative styles. He is currently studying at Gobelins in France. You can view his work or follow @mogau_k on Instagram.

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Portrait of Dr. Nomsa Mdlalose Naughty Nogwaja Book

Dr Nomsa Mdlalose - Author

Specialising in folklore, particularly African oral literature, Dr Sasa has published numerous children’s books. She enjoys updating traditional stories, making them contemporary and relevant to younger generations.

Dr Sasa has always been fascinated by the trickster character of the hare and as a child loved stories in which cunning animals outsmarted each other. This was the inspiration behind the Naughty Nogwaja, who is a hero to some and a nuisance to many.

Siya Masuku

Siya Masuku - Illustrator

Siya writes, illustrates, and publishes through his platform Siyafunda Online. He also has numerous book titles under his belt, is an IBBYSA board member, and is known for his beautiful work in isiZulu. Have a look at his work on siyamasuku.co.za or follow @siyamasuku on Instagram.

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