Nwelezelanga: The Star Child

Nwelezelanga, The Star Child travels a magical and spiritual journey that merges the ancestral realms

with contemporary realities. It is a story of an ancestral spirit that is born through Nwelezelanga,

who is tasked with the purpose to pass messages from beyond; a divine responsibility to children of the star.

The birth of Nwelezelanga was foreseen by the wise ones of the tribes and hidden in folktales and abstract

proverbs. However, forces of black magic and the underworld had clandestine intentions to interfere
with her divine destiny and will undignified death upon her birth.

‘Absolute-truth’ reveals that there is birth within death.The story explores how forces of the upper- and

underworld, light and darkness, the known and the unknown unravel to determine her destiny.

‘Magubeni handles the sacred subject in a way that neither slants nor meddles. For this reason, when

African traditionalists learn of Magubeni’s book they will be nervously curious but will discover that they

needn’t have been. It will be a rare gift for the scholars, and we ordinary readers will not remember our lives

before Magubeni happened.’ – Thando Mgqolozana, author of A Man Who is Not a Man, Unimportance

and Hear Me Alone With a rich vocabulary that is poetic and uncluttered, this debut novel is nothing short of a masterpiece.

It is both a well-written and philosophical book. The story begins with Nokwakha giving birth at her

village home, and when it is discovered that the child is an albino the midwife convinces her that it is a

curse and she should snuff the life out of it before it takes another breath. The dreadful deed is done by

the river, but the ‘all-knowing one’ has other plans …


With an assured voice and eloquent prose, Magubeni invites us into the life of this extraordinary

being, Nwelezelanga, the child who should not have been, contrasting the themes of darkness and

light, embracing the unknown and unseen in a way no one else has – or can.

I have many names; my mother calls me ‘Nwelezelanga’ because of my golden hair. Some call

me ‘Mhlophe’ because of my fair, almost-ginger skin. One wise old woman of the tribe calls me

‘Mehlomadala’ because of my big round eyes that reflect oceans of untold stories. The village girls

who like to taut me just call me ‘that albino girl’.

I’m thirteen years old, however that’s a distortion on its own. I’m young yet old; I’ve experienced the

cycle of birth and death many more times than I care to count. I’ve donned and shredded many skin

colours in my lifetime. I’ve lived the lives of many; the lives of the poor and the healers of Bantu and

served the divine purpose in countless ways. I have also visited this world before as a baobab tree

and stood tall for over a hundred years exuding all the wisdom in the known world. I’ve made short

visits sometimes as a carefree butterfly showing off the innocence from beyond. One of my favourite

incarnations was when I was a bird and would cross the oceans with my own kind, reflecting the

endurance of the immortals. On occasion, I have visited this world in less glamorous roles such as

in the form of a worker bee and worked all my waking life giving the world the sweet honey of my

hard labour.

I spend most of my time suspended in the hills of my humble village. I watch the clouds looking for

messages from beyond. I watch them morph into countless symbols speaking the language of the

gods. I struggle to decode some of the messages. I have to be patient; there are hidden secrets in the

eternal knot of existence. Many think I’m crazy and find my favourite pastime an excuse for being




Unathi Magubeni is an Eastern Cape-based writer, sangoma and trainee herbalist, who left

the corporate world in 2009. His first book, a collection of poetry called Food For Thought was

published in 2003. Nwelezelanga, The Star Child is his debut novel.

Also available as an e-book:

978-1-928337-25-6 d-PDF

978-1-928337-26-3 ePUB

978-1-928337-27-0 Mobi file


Parameters of Book: 
Author: Unathi Magubeni
ISBN: 978-1-928337-24-9
mobi file ISBN:  
Size (mm): 216x116mm
Pages: 136pp
Format: Trade Paperback
Colour: Black and White
Rights: World Rights
Language: English
Publication Date: April 2016