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Author, illustrator and publisher Themba Mabaso says it's important to tell stories to children in their indigenous languages.

He first started writing and publishing in 1994, but says he always had a passion for storytelling.

From a young age, he engrossed himself in books at the library of the sugar mill where his father worked.

When I was growing up, whenever I was given a book, my first interest was illustrations.

Themba Mabaso, author and illustrator

I immersed myself in the library... I promised myself that one day I would write my own books to share the stories and experiences that I had as a young person at the time.

Themba Mabaso, author and illustrator

Mabaso says he always felt that he did not see his own reality reflected in children's books, and vowed to write books that represented his cultural experiences rooted in the African context.

Read: Top 10 books for your kids to sink their teeth into

He explained that reading is paramount to improving the literacy skills of young children and developing a culture of reading.

Mabaso says that parents can learn more form their children through reading and instill in them a love for their language and the written word.

Mabaso described some of his children's books and read from various passages.

His books are translated in isiZulu, Xhosa, seSotho and Afrikaans. You can find out more about his work on
the Njabulo Publishers website.

Take a listen to the inspiring conversation and Themba Mabaso read from his books:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Author Themba Mabaso reads from his mother tongue children's books

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