PASS staffer pens new children's titles

23 March 2009 | Story by Helen Théron

Shumi Chimombe

With the publication of her first children's book and play this year, UCT web editor Shumi Chimombe has come full circle.

Chimombe started her career in Cape Town marketing Maskew Miller Longman children's titles in West Africa, and specifically the Sara series of educational books teaching life orientation and produced by UNICEF.

"I realised I liked children's books," said the PASS staffer.

Her book, Dancing Star, has been published under Cambridge University Press' new Rainbow Readers banner, a large library of 350 titles for young readers.

Little Gogo is a play about four siblings who lose their parents to AIDS. They go to live with their grandmother but when she dies they must cope alone.

Chimombe is in the process of completing her first novel, as part of her dissertation towards her master's degree in creative writing at UCT.

In Dancing Star, young Thando finds he is just not equipped for competitive sport. He's last in athletics races. But thanks to a kindly teacher, he discovers he has rhythm and co-ordination. He's a star on the dance floor.

"Each book must have a message; it must teach children something."

The story is inspired by Chimombe's love of dance. She's training as a Biodanza facilitator, a form of dance that "fuses music, movement and emotion".

"Dance is my life. I dance all the time."

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