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“The consumerist culture in townships is poisoning the youth” – Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winner, Dumisani Hlatswayo, discusses Imibala Yothando

The 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winners were recently announced at Hyde Park’s Exclusive Books, Johannesburg.

Gold went to isiZulu writer Dumisani Hlatswayo in the category ‘African languages’ for Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), described as “a riveting tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and growing up in the social media era”. It centres on Sinenhlanhla, who is sent to a new school in Soweto, where she falls prey to a cyber bully.

Dumisani Hlatswayo, author of Imibala Yothando

Imibala Yothando explores love in all of its shades, ranging from lightness and purity to the darker shades of jealousy.

Sinenhlanhla, the daughter of a famous Maskandi musician, is navigating being the new girl in school. Sinenhlanhla is ambitious, excels at Maths and swimming. She has no time for all the admirers she has attracted at her new school. Among the many admirers are Mzekezeke, who has been chosen to represent the school at the Maths Olympiad in Cape Town with her and is too shy to declare his feelings, and Bhejasi, the school bad boy and skhothane.

After being spurned by Sinenhlanhla, Bhajasi manages to get hold of private photos of her that he spreads on social media in an effort to humiliate her. Will this destroy Sinenhlanhla’s life or is she strong enough to overcome something so terrible?

Here Dumisani discusses his award-winning novel with NB Publishers:


Imibala Yothando

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