While many eight-year-olds spend their days playing with friends until the sun goes down or watching cartoons until mom says it’s enough, Lelo Mofokeng writes books.
After being bullied in Grade R, the eight-year-old decided to pour his heart out on paper and write a book, reports Kempton Express.
READ MORE: Gauteng’s stern warning to bullies
The young author from Esther Park recently launched his first published book, titled How I Survived Bullying.
One day in 2016, Mofokeng wrote his name and age in a book, followed by: ‘Let me tell you about my bullying story.’ This is how his writing journey began.
This is not his first book; Mofokeng has been writing since Grade One.
He is currently in Grade Three, but his earlier bullying experience inspired him to put pen to paper and express his feelings.
“One boy in my grade but not in my class used to bully me. He used to punch me in the stomach and push me around, he even threw my lunch out,” explained Mofokeng.
During this traumatic time, he tried to avoid his oppressor, who he calls Ken* in his book ‘so that nobody gets hurt’, as he puts it.
Describing Ken in his book he writes: “Ken had a mean face and every time I saw him, my heart would hurt and my tummy would run.”
Although he reported the intimidation incidents to his teacher, it seemed the harassment would never end.
“A week after I got punched I told my mom and she wanted to give him a piece of her mind,” explained Mofokeng.
He convinced his mom, Lerato Rakgaba, not to confront Ken as his teachers were dealing with it. After the holidays Mofokeng was terrified to go back to school.
“I was scared. I thought if I bumped into Ken he would hit me. So I would hide under the table during break time and cried every time I saw him. My teacher kept telling me to stop crying and that he would not hurt me, but my brain was telling me he would.
“My teacher called my mother but that didn’t change anything. I was terrified of Ken.”
“I didn’t want to be at that school anymore. I know my mom was hurt by this, because sometimes she would cry with me. I hated my life.”
In his book, he writes: ‘I hated school. I hated being at school. I hated being sad all the time’.
This was the final straw for Mofokeng’s mom. She decided to take matters into her own hands at a classmate’s birthday party she had dragged her son to.
“My mom told the bully to stop and he apologised and it stopped and I’m good,” Mofokeng said.
“So the book should actually be titled ‘How my mom and I survived bullying’, since my mom saved me by confronting the guy,” he joked.
The bullying ended in 2016, the same year Mofokeng started writing his book. When he grows up he wants to be an author and animator.
“I want to work for DreamWorks and make movies. I like drawing,” he described.
How I Survived Bullying includes illustrations of the characters Mofokeng writes about, all these are drawn by him. He is passionate about animation, even more than he is about writing.
“If DreamWorks is ready, then I’m ready,” he said enthusiastically.
His message to bullies: “Please stop bullying others because you don’t realise how much pain you are causing to another person and their family.”
He also advises bullies to be nice and if they have a sad heart, to speak to a teacher or family member.
The eight-year-old is currently working on four different books.
To order his book, you may contact his mom, Lerato, on 082 830 0121 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org