Award-winning TSU alumna from Tanzania releases children’s book
Written by Vibe Houston Staff on July 27, 2020
HOUSTON – A Texas Southern University alumna has released a book aiming to remove the negative imagery surrounding African children. Honeymoon Aljabri, an independent Tanzanian American filmmaker, wrote “Amani Wanders in Serengeti,” which follows the “Dora the Explorer” type of journey of a young girl who gets lost in the wild.
“Amani is a little curious African girl who goes to the Serengeti with her parents. During her adventures, she gets lost in the jungle, where she ends up meeting new friends,” Aljabri said. Published by Fulton Books, “Amani Wanders in Serengeti” is a delightful story, filled with illustrations and colors, that teaches children the value of kindness and being a good child.”
Aljabri also wanted to instill pride in African children, encouraging them to embrace their heritage, as well as expose other races and ethnic groups to the beauty of the continent.
“I want the African kids to look at the pictures and feel they can have anything they desire. There are too many stereotypes about African children as having big stomachs and mucus in their eyes,” Aljabri said. “I want them to know they can reach their dreams and be whatever they want to be, while letting their imaginations fly.”
Aljabari is publishing a series of Amani’s adventures as she takes us on journeys in Madasgar, Zanzibar and other places in Africa. “I want to connect African diaspora kids, helping them to learn more about each other and the historic and cultural blessings each place has,” Aljabri explained.
Aljabri graduated from TSU in 2017 with a Bachelor Degree in Radio, TV and film. After studying at other Houston area colleges, she decided to attend Texas’ largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) because it felt more like home.
“I wanted to tell ‘our story’ and TSU was the closest to my culture. I believe if we do not tell our own story, then someone else is going to tell it, and possibly not the right way,” Aljabri said. “Dr. B was really nice, but very tough, and I learned a lot from her. Now when I look at Black films, I look at them from a different perspective. I know if I had gone to a different school, I would have seen things differently.”
Aljabri’s films include Forgotten Hero (short film) 2012; Daddy’s Wedding (drama) 2015; Perfectly Oblivious (comedy drama) 2019 and Sechelela (drama) 2020. Aljabri has received numerous awards for her work, including Zanzibar International Film festival (Best Director-2015 ); Houston Community College Movie Award (Best Director – 2012); and World Fest International Film Festival (Gold Remi award -2017, and was nominated for African Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (Best Film East Africa- 2016) Her children’s book, “Amani Wanders in Serengeti” can be found at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes Store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes & Noble.