By Staff Reporter

The book is available in most bookstores and retails for R250. Photo by Kelebogile Xaba

Love is a beautiful thing, and it is at its cutest when given unconditionally by a loving parent and mentor.
Gogo Sabbath Sekoloana Thembekwayo launched her self-published book – The Brain Sharpener – Short Stories which she wrote this year as she celebrated her 90th birthday. The launch was held at a restaurant in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, Soweto. The 90-year-old former teacher said she wrote the book as an inheritance that she would like to bequeath to a generation of great-grandchildren as a mind-sharpening tool made of fables. She said she was saddened by our children’s poor quality of life.
“I chose to write this book for our children because I have observed how they are engrossed by their mobile phones. It is meant to assist them to have an active mind, to have an alert mind – that is why I called it The Brain Sharpener,” she said.

An avid reader, Gogo said she wrote the book to motivate and encourage children to enjoy reading from an early age, rather than spending so much time on their mobile phones, not even speaking to other people around them. She said our children were indoor-bound couch potatoes who needed moral life lessons in order to give them an imaginative outlook of the world around them.
“I feel so sad when we gather as families to introduce them to one another; they would just exchange greeting ‘hi’ – ‘hi’ and that would be all. The next thing they would focus on their mobile phones, without talking to anyone. They saddens me because I know this is destroying them.
“Our children are a danger to themselves, they like to live a luxurious and comfortable life, and they would like to get whatever they want.

Their priorities are just skewed, they believe in shortcuts, they have no respect for hard work, they are impatient, and very fragile when the going gets tough. These are our children, and they need help.
“They help need is for churches, for educators, for parents, for communities to organise reading clubs, reading teams, competitions and other incentives to encourage them to read,” she said.
Gogo said the book, was a gift to children between the ages of 10 to 14 or grades 4 to six and that it is meant to assist them to deal with peer pressure when they got to high school.
It is a collection of 17 easy-to-read stories packaged beautifully in 72-pages. The large font is eye friendly for young ones as it is tantalising to read. Thembekwayo, a devout Christian, dedicated teacher, said the book would be a cherished guidance for young children; “this book is my own lessons and stories I heard from my parents as I was growing up,” she said in an elderly majestic voice.

“My mother made it a point to instil in us a sense of responsibility by telling us about some stories in an attempt to build in us a character and good values of life. We were taught the word of God, stressing the sense of self-awareness and being well-mannered towards all human beings.

“Our minds and souls were always shaped and moulded by these fables told by elders in the family,” she wrote in a declaration of the book. Gogo Thembekwayo’s book launch was attended by many who’s who in the education fraternity media including Radio 702’s Jenny Crwys-Williams. Entertainment came from Gogo’s world-famous nephew Sipho Hot Stix Mabuse who provided soothing jazz sounds. But it was his timeless hit Burn Out that got mostly senior citizens audience to its feet dancing demanding anchors.

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