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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

SA author’s Palestinian-themed colouring book sells more than 10,000 copies

Nathi Ngubane received hate messages on social media after releasing his Palestine-themed book.

South African author Nathi Ngubane’s Palestine-colouring book, From the River to the Sea, has sold over 10,000 copies.

“I am truly grateful for the unwavering support from parents, independent bookstores, teachers, children, and activists despite the backlash and insults from Zionists,” Ngubane told The Citizen.

Ngubane was at the receiving end of hate messages on social media after releasing his book.

Some of the messages targeted at him said they would love to purchase the books and use them as toilet paper.

Analyst at the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Adam Charnas told The Citizen at the time that they respect different political views and agendas, but found the book “shameful that children are dragged into further a political agenda.”

Some Exclusive Books stores have removed copies of the book from their shelves. The bookstore released a statement defending the sale of the book in some of its outlets.

Ngubane said he was happy with how the book had sold.

“Selling over ten thousand books in less than six months was beyond my expectations. Palestinian content deserves to be on our shelves and we will continue to stand up for the oppressed everywhere,” shared Ngubane.

ALSO READ: SA author defends his Palestinian-themed colouring book amidst criticism

Selling like hotcakes

The book sale was announced by its publisher, Social Bandit Media. The organisation is a collective that produces educational material.

Social Bandit Media has Durban-based Baitul Hikmah Islamic Books and Gifts as a distribution partner for the book.

“As a small bookseller, this achievement represents our highest sales for a single title thus far. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Nathi on this remarkable accomplishment!”

Ngubane has previously collaborated with Social Bandit Media for a book titled Duma Says, which was about people residing in informal settlements during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It educated young readers on how to avoid contracting the disease.

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Power of art

Ngubane said the book’s success displays art’s effectiveness as a tool for education and communication.

“Especially in a world where many individuals struggle with reading. Visuals can help people connect and express emotions when words fail,” averred the author.

“Art has the power to move people, spark inspiration, and allow them to imagine a different world. It is a crucial medium for communicating our fears, resistance, concerns, and moments of pride.”

“I believe that teaching children about apartheid, the Nakba, intifada, and solidarity can cultivate a natural sense of activism from a young age,” said Ngubane.

From the River to the Sea has now been translated into French.

“I am thrilled about the French translation of the book and hope to have it available in many more languages so that the message can reach people far and wide. I am also eager to travel abroad to discuss human rights and Palestine.”

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