One Step at a Time by Gregory Maqoma

Let dance lead the conversation about our creativity as a people.

– Gregory Maqoma

With Jacana Media and funding from the National Arts Council, we commissioned the publishing of One Step at a Time. We are thrilled to have these books on our shelves to share with our beneficiaries throughout South Africa.

About the book

Gregory Maqoma is an acclaimed South African dancer and choreographer whose life is filled with courage and conviction. Gregory shares his story of resilience, determination, and hope in this intimate and inspiring story. From his childhood in a segregated township in the 1980s to his current status as one of the most sought-after choreographers in the world, his story is one of courage and determination in the face of adversity. Through his passionate and powerful writing, Maqoma takes us on a journey of hope, determination and self-discovery as he strives to transcend his circumstances and find his true purpose. With a unique voice and formidable spirit, Gregory Maqoma’s story is an inspiring testament to the power of the human spirit.

What is the significance of this book?

South Africa has many stories from people of colour from townships and rural heartlands whose stories are never told. History books and other literary material have mostly excluded people of colour in South Africa. Therefore, young people of colour are not exposed to reading material addressing their issues and/or celebrating the achievements of ordinary people coming from and living in their communities. There’s a narrative in South Africa that there are no role models in townships; hence, children growing up in that environment imitate drug lords and people with questionable behaviour, as it’s all they are exposed to. Suppose they don’t get exposed to the history of ordinary people’s activism and the heroes amongst them who contributed to South African society. In that case, we are a country with a false history.

Furthermore, we must promote literature in African languages so that this knowledge can be accessible to many children and adults who have a passion for literature and the development of the languages. The absence of literature in African languages tends to place English as a superior language of South African literature, thus creating a hierarchy between languages and entrenching English as a norm in a multilingual country.

Target Audience

We recognise that as children grow from the foundation phase of schooling into the Intermediate phase, they need to be challenged to read a variety of longer books than is currently the case. For this reason, this book is targeted at 6 to 10-year-olds. The book will play an essential role in promoting reading for enjoyment and can also be easily incorporated into schools’ current curriculum and create meaningful discussions among teachers and learners.

How will these books be used?

We have received 1200 copies of One Step at a Time in isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Xitsonga, Afrikaans and English. These books will be incorporated into our book donations programme, where we will donate them at no cost to schools and children’s organisations throughout South Africa.

We are advocates for expanding the variety of books available to our youth in their mother tongue and bringing South African stories to the forefront. You can read more about some of our other publishing projects below:

  1. Our Story Magic and Stories of Africa
  2. Kgalagadi Tales
  3. Skin we are in
  4. The Forgotten Scientist: The Story of Saul Sithole
  5. The Series, Imbokodo: Women Who Shape Us
  6. Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid