“…There is nothing wrong with you. Nobody should have to go through what I went through.”
Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida can now add the title of author to her impressive list of achievements.
Musida has written a children’s book – Shudu Finds Her Magic, published by Jacana Media in six languages and with delightful illustrations by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne – which will be available in bookstores around the country and online towards the end of August.
The book is inspired by Musida’s own childhood and the bullying she experienced when she moved to a new province and a new school.
Musida is a well-known advocate for mental health awareness, and this year launched her online mental health initiative #MindfulMondays on her Instagram platform @shudufhadzomusida, in conjunction with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) and Discovery Vitality.
She explains: “The book is aimed at children aged between four and 12 years of age and deals with bullying and the power of friendship. I hope that youngsters will be able to see themselves reflected in the storyline and be able to take something positive away from it.
“The one lesson I want to impart is that when something bad is happening to you it is important to speak to an adult that you trust about it. This could be a parent, a family member, a teacher or an elder. Remember that being bullied is not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. Nobody should have to go through what I went through.”
The book – which retails at R95 – is available in Afrikaans (Shudu Vind Haar Sprankel), English (Shudu Finds Her Magic), Sesotho (Shudu O Sibolla Boikgetho ba hae), Venda (Shudu u wana Vhuṱolo Hawe), Xhosa (uShudu u Fumanisa ukuba UnoMlingo) and Zulu (uShudu Uthola Umlingo Wakhe).
The Miss South Africa Organisation and Jacana Media are determined to make Musida’s book available to children around the country and copies will be donated to Childline and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) who help children with issues like bullying and depression. Copies will also be given to literacy organisations like Biblionef which donate books to schools and libraries to help foster a love of reading.
Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “We are proud of Shudu and what she has achieved with this book. We hope that it helps teach children how to cope with bullying as well as about kindness and compassion and what it means to be a friend. Shudu has always wanted to make a difference and she certainly has.”
Musida will be giving a series of virtual school talks around the publication of the book and will do a countrywide tour to promote it, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
As the reigning Miss South Africa 2020, Musida will be participating in the 70th edition of the Miss World pageant to be held on December 16, 2021, at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of Rolene Strauss, who took the title in 2014.