An old, battered car chugs slowly down the road, leaving kids feeling slightly mortified as their parents pull up to collect them from school in said vehicle (also known as a ‘skorokoro’). Durban North author Melanie Rosettenstein’s second children’s book tells a familiar South African tale with important life lessons woven throughout.
When Melanie dropped her two children off at school at the beginning of last year and found herself watching an old ‘skorokoro’ limp down McKeurtan Avenue in Durban North, she knew she had to write a story about it. “I’m sure most people can relate to the skorokoro experience – either owning one or having a parent who owned one.”
‘Skorokoro’ is a South African term used to describe an old car that is ragged and worn beyond its years. The book, aimed at children aged three to seven years old, is about a little boy who is embarrassed about going to school in his dad’s old car. “As the story evolves, the boy experiences the magic that happens with being kind and grateful for what you have, even though it may not be perfect,” says Melanie.
Born in Empangeni, Melanie grew up in Mtubatuba and attended boarding school in Pietermaritzburg. She did a BA degree in Journalism and English before heading overseas to work at a ski resort in Colorado and then in London for four years. When she returned to Durban, Melanie worked as a reporter before moving into PR and corporate communications, which is the space she now works in as a freelance content writer and consultant. She also writes books.
Melanie wrote her first children’s book, Rosie’s Travelling Takkies, in 2016 while living in Zambia.
“The idea for the book came to me after a fishing trip to the lower Zambezi. It’s the story of a little girl who travels around South Africa with her grandpa and a pair of magic takkies. She puts the takkies on and together they fly from Table Mountain to the Kruger National Park via the Garden Route, Transkei and KZN before she falls asleep in a baobab tree. It was illustrated by Cape Town-based illustrator, Julie Donald, who really brought the story to life, showing kiddies what our beautiful country has to offer.”
As a mother of two small kids, aged 6 and 4, Melanie says KZN-living suits their lifestyle perfectly. “We love the outdoors and often camp and go to the beach together as a family. We love exploring our beautiful province and beyond.”
When they are at home Melanie says it’s all about spending time together with family and friends, listening to loud music, and a lot of reading!
Skorokoro is illustrated by talented Durban-based illustrator, Cristy Zinn and published by www.kidsbookclub.co.za. The book is R100 (excluding delivery) and available at Mr Tickles toy shop or from Melanie directly.
Details: [email protected] or 073 984 0316.
Photograph: Mbali Mpofu