Words are my superpower. The nine-year-old writing an end to bullying
Lelo Mofokeng isn’t your average superhero. He doesn’t wear a cape, and he’s just nine years old. But he is fighting the baddies. It all began when Mofokeng started his Grade R year. Another boy came up to him and punched him in the stomach. Mofokeng felt scared and weak. He couldn’t bring himself to tell his mother. “I didn’t want to break her heart,” Mofokeng says. The bullying continued for another year, and Mofokeng didn’t want to go to school anymore. To escape, he turned to what he loved most: stories.
Already an avid writer by Grade 1, he began to express his hurt through words. “When I’m writing and drawing I just feel out of this world,” Mofokeng says. Eventually, he told his mom and she helped him confront his bully. But not everyone has the support to do so. Bullying can have a devastating effect on a child’s self-esteem, making them feel worthless and isolated. In severe cases, it can lead to suicide. To combat this, Mofokeng chose to share his experiences with others. Drawing on his own story, Mofokeng published his first book at the age of eight. Titled “How I Survived Bullying”, it reaches out to other children who may feel alone, and encourages them to tell an adult when being bullied. “I hope my book is helping other kids who went through the same thing,” Mofokeng says.
In the process of creating his book, Mofokeng found courage. “I used to be very shy, but through my writing I became very confident,” he says. The imaginative young boy has ambitions of a future in movie making. “I have big dreams, and I won’t let bullying stop me from reaching them,” Mofokeng says. He has a pile of written work waiting to be published, each featuring their own protagonists. In this story, Mofokeng is the one rescuing others – not with super strength, but by the powerful act of speaking up.