A young writer brings #BlackGirlMagic to children’s books


Buhle Ngaba forgot her godmother’s birthday. Starting out as an actress, she had no money to purchase anything lavish. Using her creativity, she wrote and crafted an impromptu book inspired by their close relationship. She posted snippets of it online with the hashtag #BooksforBlackGirls. Before she knew it, the gift became an internet sensation.

The Girl Without a Sound is written in Setswana, Ngaba’s native tongue. It tells the story of a mute girl looking to find her voice. With an afro and big brown eyes, the protagonist of the story does not conform to the typical heroines found in children’s fiction. Aimed at young black girls, the story aims to correct imbalances in representation by catering to an under-served and ignored demographic. Instead of waiting for a large publisher, Ngaba took it upon herself to release the book. Without external backing, it has sold out across South Africa and Ngaba was recently voted first in the Superbalist 100 for 2016.

Her book forms part of a growing collection of online movements like #BlackGirlMagic. Ngaba appreciates how these restore confidence and self-love in black women without the need for mainstream media. The Girl Without a Sound documents experiences that black girls from all walks of life can relate to. Her real joy is seeing people identifying with her story.