Zazi Books to publish collection of isiXhosa stories for tweens

Gecko looking at the title Xa kuTshon' iLanga for the new isiXhosa tween fiction book published by Zazi Books

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New South African indigenous-language imprint Zazi Books to publish a collection of stories for tweens in isiXhosa

[Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 March 2024] – Zazi Books, an imprint of Clockwork Books, has announced that it will publish Xa kuTshon’ iLanga (“When the Sun Is Setting”), a collection of stories for tweens written in isiXhosa by emerging author Nolusindiso Dumezweni.

The title is part of a three-book programme launched by Zazi Books to develop South African authors writing for the 8-12-year age group, especially those writing in our local languages. The Kubomntwana Author Development Programme is partly funded by a grant from the National Arts Council (NAC).

The tales in Xa kuTshon’ iLanga are contemporary iintsomi (folktales) narrated in pairs of imiboniso (scenes), emulating the traditional style of storytelling grandparents’ evening stories take.

Each story follows a character as they face a series of challenges with threads of the magical intertwined with real-world elements that will be familiar to young readers, such as encounters with police or the daily struggles of hungry families.  

The writing of Xa kuTshon’ iLanga is suitably accessible for the age group while showcasing the beauty of the isiXhosa language. 

“Our goal in publishing indigenous-language fiction for this age group is to encourage our tweens to read for pleasure,” says commissioning editor for Clockwork Books Sarah McGregor. “Providing young readers with stories that reflect their linguistic and cultural origins while encouraging their imaginations to take flight is essential if we are to overcome the literacy challenges we currently face.”

Xa kuTshon’ iLanga is suitable for isiXhosa Home Language readers at a Grade 5 level or higher or First Additional Language students from Grade 7 upwards, or for reading aloud to learners in lower grades. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nolusindiso Dumezweni is a young writer from Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, who is proud to continue her grandmother’s legacy of telling iintsomi.

Image by Freepik


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