Carol Ofori talks about her new book series ‘The African adventures of Sena and Katlego’

“Our schools expose our children to a lot of European and American stuff, but we don’t expose our children to African stuff.” Photo: Carol Ofori/ The Platinum Club.

“There weren’t any books that explored the different countries in Africa and gave children an opportunity to learn about Africa’s different cultures, food and all the elements of being African,” shared Carol Ofori, one of South Africa’s seasoned voice-over artists, mom and well-respected Radio & TV personalities when we asked her what inspired her new book series. 

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‘The African Adventures of Sena and Katlego’. Photo: Carol Ofori

Her new book series titled The African Adventures of Sena and Katlego was illustrated by Sasha Richards and published by Lingua Franca Publishers.

It tells a story of a little boy named Sena and his magical teddy bear Katlego who visit different countries on the African continent as he visits his family. It is a unique and beautiful story one that shares that we as Africans are family.

Ofori told us that after doing a DNA test and discovering that a large part of her DNA stems back to West Africa also inspired her to write this book. 

All this time, she was convinced that she would have strong South African roots, but she found that her very own father’s enormous heritage comes from somewhere up in the western parts of Africa.

Read | Carol Ofori shares the six gifts your child will love this festive season

Ofori told us that publishing this book was something she wanted to do for a long time, and when she finally did it, it did not have the desired outcome she wanted, and she had to wait.

“When I wrote the book four years ago, I thought that it would be picked up immediately, but that did not happen. So, I left it alone, and two years later, I heard from the publishers that they were interested in the book, so I never gave up on it. I just put it aside for a moment. God’s timing is the best time, and that is another lesson I have learnt,” shared the mom of two.

The queen of the airways shared that children between the ages of 0-14 years will enjoy this educational, entertaining, and dreamy book because it has all the things that kids love.

Also read | Mabel Mnensa tells us about the ‘anchoring moments’ that inspired her to write for World Read Aloud Day

“The aim is to have this book in libraries and school syllabus,” says Ofori, adding that not just in South Africa but also across the continent.

“I think celebrating Africa is very important. We need to celebrate it; we must love it and protect it. How do we do this? It’s in the simple things like literature, such as African literature, music, African food, African locations, African landscapes,” Ofori said.

“You know, in our home, we have a lot of African pieces that remind us of who we are as a people. So, I am very intentional about what is around us all the time, to remind me and my family that we are African and that we are beautiful,” added Ofori.

The mom of two shared that one of the reasons why our children are clueless about Africa as a continent is because “schools expose children to many European and American stuff, but not African stuff.”

She says that we know more about what happens in all these European countries than what is happening in our neighbouring countries like DRC, Nigeria or Zimbabwe.

She calls us to refrain from that and teach our children about their roots and history even at school. She also hopes that the new book series will do just that.

“I hope that my series of books will encourage this process and encourage the idea of schools integrating the idea of more African literature,” added the radio and tv personality.

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Mom Ofori is holding her book. Photo: Carol Ofori

The takeaway from this book series for her is self-love. She explained, “love for where you are (Africa), love for the beauty, the culture, the food we have here. The love for the landscapes, the history, the people, and everything Africa has to offer.”

“I want them to walk away from this series of books feeling empowered and to feel like they read something that spoke to them and resembled them.”

“I want this book to inspire people to want to travel the continent and possibly have some of these experiences in these countries for themselves. I hope that it evokes conversations in families about Africa and travelling Africa,” she added.

The new book series will be available in our local bookstores and online stores from April 2022.

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