Social Work lecturer Dr Maud Mthembu of the School of Applied Human Sciences 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 simple 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 is told from Nsimu’s perspective and is intended for children aged six years and above.
‘When writing stories for children, the context and setting of the story are important, and this book tells the story from the perspective of a child from a rural area,’ said Mthembu. ‘All children can identify with the story and understand the impact of the pandemic on their lives. Despite the relatively low number of COVID-19 related deaths among children, many have lost their caregivers or family members to the virus.’
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 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 the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Fachhochschule University for the financial support received while we were writing the book,’ said Mthembu.