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Author and UKZN graduate, Mr Thembalethu Mahlangu.

College of Law and Management Studies alumnus, Mr Thembalethu Mahlangu’s book, I believe, Letter To The Youth has been nominated for the prestigious The Book Behind Awards taking place in October this year.

The annual awards acknowledge young authors and celebrate their efforts. They also aim to encourage a culture of reading and writing.

Mahlangu’s book explores four facets of life that young people face every day – dreams, obstacles, failure, and contentment. It aims to help the youth overcome drawbacks and focus on chasing their dreams.

‘Today’s youth suffer from hopelessness and demotivation. Most motivational books are written by older people who don’t relate to our preferences which is why many young people aren’t interested in reading them. This book, which is a message from youth to youth aims to fill this gap,’ he said.

This 24-year-old from Umlazi township said finding a writing style to suit him took almost two years and finishing his book took him four months as he was also studying towards his undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications at UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies and served as the Chairperson for the One Love feeding scheme and a mentor for first-year students.

‘Publishing while I was still a student was no walk in the park, and I am grateful for the support of Mr P Ndaba from Student Governance Leadership and Development who mentored me throughout my journey.’

While his book has already been recognised and used for a book review competition, Mahlangu said that winning this award would help him to empower students who want to become authors.

‘Winning this prestigious award will inspire others to keep their heads up and focus on chasing their dreams. Being an author is something that was not previously associated with Africans, particularly young Africans from rural areas and townships. If I win this award, I will not only win it for myself but for all young people.’

To vote for the book, SMS BMB300 to 34877. The voting window period is open until the end of August. Copies are available from Adams Bookshop or contact Mahlangu at Ibelievebook1@gmail.com or 084 857 6216.

Words: Samukelisiwe Cele

Photograph: Supplied