Thuli Nhlapo: Children were told, don't play with this one, this yellow thing

Author Thuli Nhlapo has written a heartfelt memoir of her life called Colour Me Yellow. It tells the story of how she suffered and was ostracized because of her light skin complexion.

The book has received much deserved literary success being shortlisted for the Alan Paton Awards for non-fiction.

Nhlapo sat down with Eusebius McKaiser to tell the painful story of her life that has turned her book into one of the literary successes of the past year.

READ:Looking for a new read? Four fiction books that come highly recommended

She says she didn't expect the kind of success that the book has received. She didn't even think that the book would even be published or be sold.

I was writing a story to myself and being a journalist talking too much. I mentioned it in the newsroom and the editor at the time said no ways, send it to me. Before I knew it, the story was in the Mail and Guardian.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

An extract caught an eye of a publisher and before I could even say no or yes, they said they want the manuscript. It took ten full years full years for me to sit down and actually complete the book.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

Because as I am saying, it was my story, I wanted to tell it to myself, make peace with it myself and when they said publish, I said who would want to read this?

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

She says she is surprised that people actually go to the shop to buy her book.

So you have to put it together when you meet people, they say where are you from?

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

I am not the kind of person who can answer that question, I can't say I am from Pretoria or I am from Mpumalanga. I am from everywhere.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

It depends, you have got to say between these years where were you. I first told I was born in Pretoria which turned out to be a lie because I was born on a farm near Bethel.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

It was Eastern Transvaal at the time and it is Mpumalanga now. I grew up in Pretoria, former Bophuthatswana and then I also grew up in Swaziland and I came to Pretoria so I have been everywhere.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

She says she remembers how her childhood was not the same as other children as she lived with a lot of her cousins in the same yard.

They will be told, don't play with this one, this yellow thing, don't play with her. You will take the bad habits of her people. I still remember the one girl I played with, was a girl called Sibongile who was an albino and a few boys cause boys liked to experiment.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

She says she had aunts who made sure that when they called all the children, she was never called hence she still loves sweets even today.

They kept me away from sweets, so to this day I always have a packet of sweets saying now I am allowed to have sweets.

Thuli Nhlapo, Author of Colour Me Yellow

Listen below to hear Nhlapo tell the painful story of her life...


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Solving puzzles and mysteries, and what all of us may be missing about it

Solving puzzles and mysteries, and what all of us may be missing about it

At last, a way to future proof yourself against the 4th Industrial Revolution.

[WATCH] Kabelo Mabalane on lows of drug abuse and running towards his destiny

[WATCH] Kabelo Mabalane on lows of drug abuse and running towards his destiny

Legendary muso Kabelo Mabalane bares all in his memoir, 'I Ran For My Life: My Story'. He reflects on his inspiring life lessons.

[LISTEN] The Book Club movie will have you LOLing says film critic

[LISTEN] The Book Club movie will have you LOLing says film critic

Film critic Gayle Edmunds shares her views of the film ‘Book Club’, and chats about some of her favourite scenes from the movie.

Does SAICA have any credibility left amid fraud scandals?

Does SAICA have any credibility left amid fraud scandals?

Eusebius McKaiser and his panel get to grips with the state of chartered accountants in SA and related corruption scandals.

Who is Elon Musk really? This biographer got closer to him than anyone ever

Who is Elon Musk really? This biographer got closer to him than anyone ever

Truth is stranger, more spectacular and drama-filled than fiction. Bruce Whitfield interviews Musk biographer Ashlee Vance.

Tips to get started in the art of comic book writing and illustration

Tips to get started in the art of comic book writing and illustration

Azania sat down with illustrator Sean Izaakse and writer Jim Zub to talk about the art of telling stories in pictures and words.

[LISTEN] 8 apps your children may be using that you should be worried about

[LISTEN] 8 apps your children may be using that you should be worried about

Azania spoke to an associate at the Digital Law Company Rorke Wilson to find out which applications are cause for concern.

[LISTEN] John Maytham's Book Review: murder, dilettantes and Jihad

[LISTEN] John Maytham's Book Review: murder, dilettantes and Jihad

John's three book picks for the week.

[LISTEN] Joanne Joseph's fourth episode with authors of My Father Died For This

[LISTEN] Joanne Joseph's fourth episode with authors of My Father Died For This

The book is a moving account by Lukhanyo and Abigail Calata about the Cradock Four, one of who was Lukhanyo's father.

Alex Parker shares how he chose the 50 people who stuffed up the world

Alex Parker shares how he chose the 50 people who stuffed up the world

In this week's book review, Africa Melane chats to author Alex Parker about his latest book.

You’re either a ‘money slave’ or a ‘money master’ (says author of 'My Money')

You’re either a ‘money slave’ or a ‘money master’ (says author of 'My Money')

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Sugar Creek financial expert and author of “My Money” Gerald Mwandiambira.

How to make money through ‘buy-to-let’ (using very little of your own money)

How to make money through ‘buy-to-let’ (using very little of your own money)

Bruce Whitfield interviews Francois Janse van Rensburg, author of “Making Money through Buy-To-Let in South Africa".

Why 96% of small businesses fail (and what to do about it)

Why 96% of small businesses fail (and what to do about it)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Raiz Corp CEO Allon Raiz who reviews “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber.

SA’s public finances recovered spectacularly after ’94. We’re back on the brink…

SA’s public finances recovered spectacularly after ’94. We’re back on the brink…

Financial Mail's Claire Bisseker discusses her book “On the Brink: South Africa’s Political and Fiscal Cliff-Hanger”.

Principles that lead to success (by Ray Dalio, the ‘Steve Jobs of investing’)

Principles that lead to success (by Ray Dalio, the ‘Steve Jobs of investing’)

Regular book reviewer Ian Mann reviews “Principles” by Ray Dalio, a "business" book you can live your life by.

Popular articles
10 best business books reviewed on The Money Show in 2018

10 best business books reviewed on The Money Show in 2018

Know someone who’d appreciate a business book for Christmas? These were the best ones of the year…

'The corrupt use anti-corruption campaigns to divert attention from themselves'

'The corrupt use anti-corruption campaigns to divert attention from themselves'

Political analyst Steven Friedman says corrupt people use anti-corruption campaigns to neutralise those fighting corruption.

ANCWL calls on the ANC to suspend Pule Mabe

ANCWL calls on the ANC to suspend Pule Mabe

ANC Women's League says Mabe must be suspended pending the outcome of a sexual harassment complaint lodged against him.

'Evidence is solid. Poor people’s money was used illegally. Shivambu benefitted'

'Evidence is solid. Poor people’s money was used illegally. Shivambu benefitted'

Ray White interviews Pauli van Wyk, an investigative journalist with Scorpio at Daily Maverick.

RMB and a paediatric surgeon from Baragwanath came together to save little lives

RMB and a paediatric surgeon from Baragwanath came together to save little lives

Ray White interviews Prof Jerome Loveland (Paediatric Surgery at Wits and Baragwanath) and Gareth Armstrong (Rand Merchant Bank).

ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe accused of sexual harassment

ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe accused of sexual harassment

In a letter seen by Eyewitness News a 26-year-old woman says Mabe wanted to have sex with her in exchange for a job as his PA.

[LISTEN] EFF's Floyd Shivambu was a beneficiary of stolen money - Pauli van Wyk

[LISTEN] EFF's Floyd Shivambu was a beneficiary of stolen money - Pauli van Wyk

Journalist Pauli van Wyk outlines how VBS approved Brian Shivambu’s R1. 46m home loan, with a little help from his brother.

[WATCH] Johnny Clegg opens up about emotional 'The Crossing' video

[WATCH] Johnny Clegg opens up about emotional 'The Crossing' video

South African legend, musician Johnny Clegg talks about the moving recording of his track The Crossing by over 50 artists.