Young Authors Book Initiative (YABI) gives participating learners basic writing skills.

Their first book will be launched at the Midlands Literary Festival in 2019

YABI was created by writer, film producer and TV director, Makhubalo Ikaneng. The book is compiled by Lungile Ikaneng.

The objectives of YABI is to encourage reading and writing amongst learners.

By putting the writing process in their hands, we hope to demystify the written word and make it accessible to them. We want to show the learners that books are not difficult products written by strangers but a fun and educational experience. By making the learners share their stories and publishing them on a book, we want to create peer role models within schools.

The Young Authors Book Process started when we invited schools in the uMngeni Municipality to select five learners in grades 9 to 11. We specified that the learners should be self-driven and passionate about writing or reading.  The participants attended a basic short story writing workshop at the Howick Library. At this workshop, the theme and structure of the stories were explained. The theme chosen was: The impact violent protest has in my community. The learners were tasked to write 5-page stories which would be compiled into the book.

Cuba Ikaneng is so enjoying being part of this project with real purpose. “This process has created time-capsules. Their stories are told from such different angles, with empathy for the characters in them. Some are factual – news reports, others are fantasy or love stories, a few relate a very personal perspective. Now they are captured forever.”

15 learners from 3 schools were able to submit short stories – they are breathtaking and hard-hitting. The participating schools for YABI 2018/19 are Howick Secondary School, Mconjwana High School and Injoloba Secondary School. These stories were typed and compiled into a book. The book will be launched at the Midlands Literary Festival.

Khwezi Radebe took part in YABI because she is passionate about creative writing, and loves reading. She likes trying new things and acquiring new skills. She hopes that, from her story, people will learn that violence does not solve anything, and learn to communicate better as nation.

Pamela Mtshali hopes that, through her story, people will learn that violent protests do not only destroy one specific area, but they affect the whole country.

Lindokuhle Blessing Zuma is a Grade Twelve learner from Howick Secondary School. He took part in YABI to do his share in building the nation. He believes that most people do not understand the repercussions of violent protests. He hopes that people will learn that violence is never the way – even when you are wronged, violence only makes the situation worse.

Mother Earth is written by Seemeen Sayed, who wanted to write a story that would inspire readers to write their own stories. She hopes that people will learn from the mistakes of the characters, and practice love and forgiveness.

Lungile Ikaneng says “We believe that the launch will give the project, its participants, supporters, partners and sponsors visibility that will assist in laying the foundation for the next book process. The current group (2018/19) of YABI participants will receive their participation certificates at the Midlands Literary Festival. These certificates will be special because it will be a recognition from the festival, writers, sponsors and the schools.”

Copies of the book will be donated to libraries in KZN and high schools in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. Should you wish to assist by sponsoring some of the printing costs, please contact Lungile at 079 755 2254 – kokotafestival@gmail.com

20 new participants for 2020 will attend a workshop, organised by the Midlands Literary Festival, on the Friday before the Festival. Experienced writers Elana Bregin, Zanele Njapha, Fiona Snykers, Sonja Kuse and Luke Molven will explain the short story writing process and inspire participants from 10 schools in the Midlands.


  1. Ashely Berejena on August 1, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Wow this is Amazing! And I am glad to be a part of this intiative big up to YABIAN’S …let’s continue to prosper!!?

    • media on August 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      We are so excited to meet you all on 30 August at the Writing Workshop. Sure you will have an inspiring time at the festival.

  2. David Robbins on February 24, 2020 at 9:18 am

    This sounds really exciting. Porcupine Press and African Narratives NPO are launching AFNA minibooks (small books big on content) quite soon. And Porcupine Press has a comprehensive distribution service which might interest YABI. The MidLitFest is still a long way away, but we’ll keep in touch. David

    • media on February 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you, David, for your interest. The YABI book sold out very quickly at last year’s festival. We will pass your message along to Lungile Ikaneng.

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