Writing her first book at the age of 11 has helped Olwami Shangase, 12, heal the pain of discovering that her biological father had rejected her before she was born.
Olwami said her book, titled Rejected Treasure, aims to teach everyone, especially children, about the power of forgiving and loving.
The young author from Illovo in KwaZulu-Natal said: “I am hoping that this book will encourage other young children to love and forgive.
“I forgave my biological father even though he never came to me and asked for forgiveness.
“I also want other parents to know that it is okay to raise children that are not biologically theirs, and children must also know that it is okay to be raised by step-parents,” she said.
“My book is carrying a message of love and forgiveness,” Olwami said.
“Forgiveness is very important to me and I use the book to tell other people about the power it has.”
It was on her seventh birthday that Olwami found out that her father had rejected her.
“I was very heartbroken that my biological father rejected me, but at the same time I was grateful and appreciative that my stepfather filled in the gap and never made me feel like I am not his biological daughter. It was very humbling to know what he has done just for me,” Olwami said.
An avid reader who finishes about four books a week, Olwami thinks books carry powerful messages.
Some books are educational, some spiritual, while others take you on an imaginary tour of the world, she said.
“I love reading books. Reading teaches me a lot about what other people go through all around the world.”
She said single parents should not give up or be discouraged.
“As children, we need parents to guide us and give advice on certain things about life and to also support us emotionally.”
She said all parents must remember that children were a gift from God.
– This article was originally published in GCIS’s Vuk’uzenzele