A children’s book about a tokoloshe


Masego Lehihi, a stay-at-home mom, tells us what motivated her to write a children’s book titled Tafi and the Tokoloshe. By Fundiswa Nkwanyana

When I became a mother, I started reminiscing about my childhood.

I couldn’t help but think of all the scary things that frightened me as a child. The tokoloshe came to mind – a scary dwarf-like creature that is believed to be evil. As a township-raised child, this was my biggest fear. And, when I asked my son Tafi if he knew what a tokoloshe was, he laughed at me. He did not know about this mythical scary creature, and I realised that children growing up in the suburbs like him did not know about it. This inspired me to write the book.

My children’s book reintroduces the tokoloshe to the new generation.  It is about a boy called Tafi, and his interaction with a tokoloshe as he tries to figure out whether it is real or not. I chose characters that African children can identify with because I wanted them to see themselves in books. It’s a family-orientated book that parents will enjoy because they probably remember the tokoloshe. Children will be fascinated to know about this creature.

Getting an illustrator that understood my vision for the characters was difficult. Once I had written the storyline, I had to find the right illustrator to bring my characters alive. After trial and error, I met illustrator Katleho Mofolo, who had the necessary expertise to deliver my vision on paper. The illustrations are amazing.

This is my first book, but it won’t be the last. I plan on writing more books that will entertain children while fostering a culture of reading in ways that stimulate the modern child. So far, the response has been great. I’m glad that we live in a digital age because my book can only be purchased online at amazon.com.