29-year-old entrepreneur, Glad Kaizer shares his passion for the world of literature and why he chose to be a publisher for child-authored books
Have you always been entrepreneurial, what childhood memories do you have that made you choose your profession?
I have had a number of childhood experiences — some were good, some bad and others just plain ugly. However, I have learnt and drawn from all of them. These experiences have taught me that the most effective leaders are those that learn from their experiences and this made my transition into a writer and publisher that much easier.
Take us back to when and how you started Bala Books and exactly what do you do?
Glad Kaiser is a 29 year old entrepreneur who hails from Soweto; a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and the Head Honcho at Bala Books — a child-authored book publishing company which specialises in book publications authored by children and adolescents.
My story of success began in my Grandmother, Ella’s, dining room. Armed with a family photo album that was falling apart, I, a Peter Pan obsessed with my own childhood memories, vigorously attempted to salvage what was left and set forth creating a storybook of memories. And with just my old home PC, a small printer, guillotine and binding glue, Bala Books was born.
Schooling children and adolescents in the art of storytelling and authoring books, based on the plethora of imagination that lie deep within their hearts waiting to be discovered, is like experiencing the magic for the very first time, and Bala Books enables children to do just that.
What is the story behind the name of your organisation and what inspired you to create this service to young people?
The word Bala is derived from sanskrit meaning “Strength” and the phonetic meanings of the word in Sesotho and Zulu are to Read and Write respectively. Children are my biggest inspiration, being around them teaches me a lot — their childlike characteristics; innocence, playfulness, happiness, laughter, wonder and world beyond my own.
Tell us about your workshop taking place today, what does it entail and who should attend?
The World Beyond Your Own book-writing programmes cater to young authors and at the end of each programme, children walk away with a keepsake copy of their work and a wealth of knowledge. Selected children’s books are published through Bala Books and the children are the recipient of a publishing deal.
Today’s one-day workshop, however, is designed to give parents a more in-depth analysis of what their child can learn by signing on for the full 6-Week course on Writing comprising twelve modules. We invite all parents to be a part of the free One-Day Introductory Book-Writing Workshops at the Standard Bank Incubator.
What is your long term vision of your organisation?
Fast forward to today and Bala Books offers an authentic and invaluable learning experience through book-writing programmes designed for school children in the anthologies of authoring a book. Each child-authored book draws the readers into a world beyond their own … a realm where children’s fantasies come to reality. Our vision is to become globally recognised as the publisher for child-authored book publications.
How big is your team and how is your leadership style?
Our team is made up of 25 young professionals specialising in different disciplines including Linguistics, Education, African Literature, Journalism, Illustration and Animation. We are a team of 5 permanent professionals and 20 contracted professionals.
My personal leadership style is leading through a state of higher consciousness and service to others and ensuring that everyone on my team is a lot smarter than I am.
What is the best business or career advice you have received that you still apply today?
The best career advice I have received thus far is “Mind your own business and be the only one that can do what you do.”
Your organisation is in line with education, if you could, what would you change in the education system in South Africa?
I would take what is currently deemed ‘Alternative Education’ and make it Mainstream, and take what we currently know as ‘Mainstream Education’ and make that an Alternative.
What’s your advice to young people who want to make a success of themselves?
Your success begins with knowing your why and knowing your why in life marks the beginning of your very successful life.
The World Beyond Your Own” book-writing workshop, is taking place at the Standard Bank Incubator in Rosebank. It will teach parents in the anthologies of authoring children’s books and the 12 Steps to writing a book according to the Glad Kaiser Method. Parents will also gain a more in-depth analysis of what their child can learn by signing up for the full 6-Week course on Writing comprising twelve modules at R350 per module.
For more information about Bala Books visit www.balabookscreations.co.za