Initiative helps authors with disabilities promote their books
6 Oct 2020
By Lebohang Monyatsi
Valhalla Arts has partnered with Rise and Shine magazine to profile books by four authors with disabilities via their social media networks during September.
A full four days was allocated to each writer during September 14 – 29 to talk about their book and engage the audience. Their participation in this project could further lend them the opportunity to be profiled in the November issue of Rise and Shine which will be published to celebrate disability month.
Musa E Zulu, the founder of Valhalla Arts who is also an established author, said authors need to work hard to build long-term publicity strategies and plan how to distribute their books.
“I know that a single post, or even one full day cannot give due publicity to a discussion around a book. Authors need to know this and often strive to design long-term publicity strategies and plans for the wider distribution of their books,” Zulu said.
Valhalla Arts was established in 2005 and offers motivational talks, artwork design, website design, book publishing, stationery development and events management, according to www.valhallaarts.co.za.
Msimelelo Boltinah (book: Baptised in fire), Vivian BriMasuku (The sun will always rise), Mapule Moloto (Amazing abilities) and Mfundo UvoLwethu Shozi (Dream catcher)were the chosen authors for the promotion.
They were chosen, Zulu said, because they are hardworking, wear many hats and their stories deserve be heard.
“All are authors with various natures of disabilities who have written powerful stories which I believe should be told and listened to. These are people I have known and worked with in the past – motivational speakers, activists, entrepreneurs and role models.
There are many more [authors] who will be given the platform if our partnership with this stellar magazine continues,” Zulu said.
Boltinah said he felt honoured to have been part of the promotion. “This project will not only spread the news about our books but it will also change how people view disability.”
Moloto said the project helps to explore the issues of inclusiveness and equality.
“We have been excluded anddiscriminated against due to our disabilities. We are not given equal opportunities and with the help of this project I believe things will change for the better. People will get to hear and know our stories and hopefully inclusiveness and equality will be what everyone talks about.”
A spokesperson from Rise and Shine magazine, Sbulelo Ntsangani, said the collaboration with Valhalla helped to break barriers and to change the status quo, as the programme helps “to highlight and celebrate authors with disabilities who are changing and influencing the literary world”.
However, she added that there were some challenges with the project, and also some lessons learned.
“We had a poor audience and believe this was caused by targeting the wrong audience. This means that we have to take a different approach in future, and make people aware at least a month in advance so that they can diarise it and share it on different social media, not only on Facebook.”
She still feels the project is a great initiative since it focuses on breaking the barriers that authors with disabilities face.
“It was our first project of this kind and if I were to rate it out of 10, I would give it a six,” Ntsangani said.