Nairobi News


Lupita’s ‘Sulwe’ now translated to Swahili and Luo

Academy Award-winning actress and New York Times best-selling author, Lupita Nyong’o’s book Sulwe has now been translated to Swahili and Luo.

Sulwe, a powerful, moving picture book about colourism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within, is now available at book shops and other outlets across East Africa.

The book which was released a year ago, follows the story of a young girl who wishes for her dark skin to be lighter. She wants to be beautiful and bright like her mother and sister. A magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

Lupita said that through the Kiswahili and Luo translations, young children, along with parents and guardians, are encouraged to absorb new work in indigenous languages.

“I am very proud to finally be debuting my book, Sulwe, at home in Kenya in English, Kiswahili and my mother tongue, Luo. It has been a dream of mine to have Sulwe published in indigenous languages as a way to celebrate them and keep them alive and relevant. I hope readers enjoy Sulwe’s adventure as she discovers the beauty within,” said Lupita.

Sulwe means star in Dholuo language. During the launch of her book, the 12 Years a Slave star said that Sulwe, the main character, is a “dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning.”


“This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”

With beautiful illustrations by Vashti Harrison, Sulwe, teaches young children to see their own unique beauty.

“A welcome celebration of Black girls, an important lesson for all kids (and grownups), and a necessary message for any child who has been made to feel unworthy of love on account of their looks,” Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association that provides critical reviews of books and audiovisual materials for all ages, described the book.

Sulwe has received critical acclaim since its initial publication in the USA in October 2019. The stunning picture book is a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work.

Sulwe has also appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 13 weeks. The book is available at Text Book Centre for Sh1,190.