“If you read, there’s no limit to what you can do”, writes the prize winner of the Nal’ibali/Sunday Times Storybook competition, Mangaliso Ngomane
The first Sunday Times Storybook was launched three years ago to allow children from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience the magic of stories, especially in their own languages.
The Sunday Times has distributed two million copies of the first book in all 11 official languages free of charge to school, libraries and reading clubs across the country.
We asked readers to tell us why it’s so important to nurture a love of stories and reading among school children who have limited access to books.
Read Mangaliso Ngomane’s winning response:
Reading exposes a child to the avenues of their dreams so that they may be opened to the many available possibilities.
Thankfully there are many age appropriate stories in their own indigenous language to assist in early childhood development by relaying salient principles in a relatable way that they can understand and appreciate from a tender age.
Like our dearly departed president Nelson Mandela once said “talk to a man in his language and it goes to his heart”. That is especially true about a child reading in their language and thus taking pride in their cultural heritage and it also preserves their culture for future generations.
Considering all of this it is inconceivable that there are still children that have limited access to books and not just books but interesting books to nurture their love for reading
I for one have a toddler daughter for whom I’m always trying to get books and establish a library for in either siSwati (our home language) or isiZulu (the next best thing: both are Nguni languages).
I read to hear now and when she’s old enough to read on her own there will be a smooth transition into siSwati literature and an overall love for reading.
I recognize in myself, I love speaking siSwati and reading it now however because I picked up on siSwati as a First Additional Language in high school I had to work a little bit harder at it specifically and at reading any language generally.
I’m trying to correct that in her because if you read, there’s no limit to what you can do so I want to equipment her mind with the best possible tool with which to navigate the world.