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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Call for Joburg creatives to make free children’s books


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When she was a teenager, the Afrikaans poet Sheila Cussons tried her hand at an English fairytale – and the results are breathtaking

Trevor in the Land of FantasySheila Cussons gave her son, Jaume Saladrigas Cussons, a gift – a manuscript she had kept to herself for decades. Her son fulfilled her wish and in due course Imbali Academic published his mother’s imaginative and inspiring story.

“As adults we often lose sight of the fantasy world that exists in our imaginations,” says Ute Spath, Director of Sales and Marketing at Imbali Academic Publishers. “We are privileged to make this creative piece available. Cussons seamlessly incorporated old-world charm into a whimsical dreamland, and the result is Trevor in the Land of Fantasy.”

During an interview Cussons confirmed: “When I was about 14 I wrote an English story for my little brother, who was two at the time. I named it Trevor in the Land of Fantasy and I also illustrated it. I recall writing it in a hammock between two trees in our garden”.

Offering the perfect escape, the book will appeal to children and adults alike, and was re-lived by Cussons on many occasions as she read it to her brother, and then to her sons later in life.

Having moved to Spain she enjoyed sharing this secret story with her family. In later life Cussons moved back to South Africa and lived, for the last part of her life, at Nazareth House in Cape Town.

“While most of Cussons’ work was published between the 1970s and 1990s, this rare youth work held a very special place in her heart. Set in her home country, South Africa, the book instantly transports readers to a fantasy world. The imaginary piece will serve an important purpose in her memory, as all sales proceeds will be donated to Nazareth House,” concludes Spath.

Book details


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“The aim of VW is to ensure that every 10-year-old child in Uitenhage will be able to read with comprehension and write.” A Q&A with Vernon Naidoo, manager of the Volkswagen Community Trust

Published in the Sunday World, Daily Dispatch, Herald

By Carla Lever

Vernon Naidoo, manager: The Volkswagen Community Trust.

 
What role do you think corporates can play in making meaningful change in South Africa?

Most corporates are trusted because of the brands they represent. They have power in the form of leverage and resources. Government will never be able to fully turn the SA ship around – there’s a shortage of resources and skills, not the mention a lot of red tape! Meaningful change can be achieved, though – we just need Government, media, NGOs and Corporates to work together.

VW has chosen education as one of its target areas for giving back. Why is it something you feel so strongly about at VW?

The aim of VW is to ensure that every 10-year-old child in Uitenhage will be able to read with comprehension and write. In fact, we’ve been in the education space for more than 30 years – we believe it’s one of the key ingredients to true freedom.

In comparison with Africa and the world, South Africa ranks low on the literacy (reading with comprehension) scale. Volkswagen, together with the Department of Education and other stakeholders, want to part of the solution to change this statistic.

You partner with literacy NGO Nal’ibali on an exciting project in Uitenhage. What does it involve?

Volkswagen funds story supplements in newspapers across the country. In the Nelson Mandela Bay area, Nal’ibali has been tasked to set up Reading Clubs in schools and communities. Since books are so expensive, the reading supplement is utilised in the schools. Grade 2 and 3 learners are paired together – we call this the Book Buddy system. Each child is given a container (ice cream 2 litre works well) with 30 stories in it. These stories are cut out from the supplement. We call this the “mobile library” because the children take it home and can read a story wherever they are.

These two images were taken at the opening of the second literacy centre, opened by VWSA, Mngcunube Literacy Centre, on 26 February in KwaNobuhle.

 

That’s great, because if there is one ‘magic bullet’ solution to the education challenges South Africa is facing, studies seem to suggest it is books. Yet very few books are available in the mother tongue languages spoken by most people in this country. Why do you feel reading is an important part of education?

I feel that reading with comprehension is the key to education. This enables the young person to grasp concepts and skills. It will also assist them to think critically and to develop their reasoning skills. If you can’t read, this automatically excludes you from many things but especially from participating in the economy.

VW also seeks to encourage a volunteer culture in its staff as a way of giving back at a personal level. Have there been any particularly interesting staff campaigns with education?

Absolutely! As part of our Employee Volunteerism, we recruited staff to read to learners from five schools. We bused in the learners to the VW People’s Pavilion Hall. The other campaign that we ran was for every staff member to donate a book. These were donated to schools. Through this, VW has placed reading corners in all the schools that we work in. Our follow-up studies showed that those learners with reading corners in the class fared significantly better than those without, so we feel this is making a real difference.

What’s your challenge to other South African businesses, large or small?

As VWSA, we cannot do this alone. We have an annual literacy conference in Uitenhage – it would be a great idea if someone from another organisation can attend and share insights. We can all work on this together. We can change that low SA statistic! Let’s partner, because in this space there is no competition!

From Sunday April 15, Nal’ibali will be publishing its supplements in two new languages. An English-Setswana edition will be published in the Sunday World in the North West, and an English-Xitsonga edition will be donated to reading clubs in Limpopo. Clubs in both provinces will collect their copies from select post offices. The post offices (10 in each province) will also have 50 additional editions each to give away to member of the public.


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SA illustrator wins international literary award

Via Golden Baobab: Accra, Ghana (9 May 2018)

Toby Newsome, a renowned Cape Town based artist has won the internationally coveted Children’s Africana Book Award (CABA) for his illustrations in the children’s book, Grandma’s List. The book was written by Ghanaian author, Portia Dery, who who jointly won the CABA with Toby Newsome.

Toby Newsome, the acclaimed illustrator of Grandma’s List.

 
The Children’s Africana Book Award is an annual prize presented to authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S.A. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) and its sponsors includes the African Studies departments of universities Harvard, Howard and Yale among others. Past winning illustrators of CABA include South Africa’s Niki Daly.

One of Newsome’s stunning illustrations.

 
Grandma’s List is a brilliant and colorful story about an 8-year old girl, Fatima, who wants to save the day by helping her grandmother complete her list of errands. The problem is, Fatima loses the list and she has to recall from memory what was written on it. The rest of story then takes the reader on a funny and heartwarming adventure with Fatima and her family.

Grandma’s List, published by African Bureau Stories, won the 2018 CABA Young Children’s category along with two other books from international publishers, Candlewick Press and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. This is the second international children’s book award that Grandma’s List has won. It previously won the prestigious Golden Baobab Prize for The Best Picture Book manuscript in Africa in 2014.

The new children’s publishing house, African Bureau Stories, has made an impressive move in publishing a truly Pan-African book like Grandma’s List, which is a powerful literary partnership between Ghana and South Africa. The publishing house’s aim is to produce world class and contemporary African stories for children. In addition to Grandma’s List, African Bureau Stories has produced three other children’s books which according to the publisher, Deborah Ahenkorah, are “super cool books that will delight children all over the world.”

Anastasia Shown, a CABA Reviewer from the University of Pennsylvania says:

Grandma’s List is an excellent read aloud book for school or storytime. The illustrations show a neighborhood in Ghana that is very typical of many African towns with shops, gardens, small livestock, and many people outside working and playing…One of the best features of the book is the characters of many ages. There are kids playing, vendors selling, teens on their phones, grownups working, and elders relaxing. They wear African prints and western styled clothes…The book can generate lots of great open ended questions.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With illustrations like these it’s no wonder Newsome was the recipient of this coveted award!

 
Book details


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Q&A with the South African school representatives for the Global Kids’ Literature Quiz

Nal’ibali Column 12, Term 2: Published in the Sunday World, Daily Dispatch, Herald

By Carla Lever

From left to right – Jaskaran Rajaruthnam, Sam Walker, Jemma Kasavan, and Michaela Crankshaw.

 
Michaela Crankshaw, Jemma Kasavan, Jaskaran Rajaruthnam and Sam Walker are all grade seven students at Manor Gardens Primary – a small public in Durban. In July, they will represent South Africa in the World Finals of the Kids Literature Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. We interview them and their inspirational teacher, Isobel Sobey.

Congratulations to all of you on making the world finals of the Kids’ Lit Quiz – this must be hugely exciting! How stiff was the competition in the South African national finals?

Team: We were up against the best teams in the country, so it was difficult. It’s always stressful because we never know what to expect in terms of questions.

How long have you been practicing literature quizzes with Mrs Sobey?

Team: We have weekly morning book club before school and we sometimes do quizzes after to discuss our books. It’s mostly just about reading a lot of books and remembering what you read, who wrote it and when it was written – the quizmaster can ask absolutely anything!

Your school has an incredible track record when it comes to making the national and international finals of this competition. It seems that Mrs Sobey is your secret weapon! What’s your winning approach, Isobel?

Isobel: We are lucky to be in a school where reading is a priority from Grade 1 and students have been exposed to as many as 400 books in their first year of school. I’m just lucky to work with them once the Foundation Phase teachers have worked their magic. I guess I am saying that I’m not the magic; it’s Manor Gardens Primary School that is a magical place!

Isobel, you’ve said that children at Manor Gardens working toward getting a place on the team as early as grade one. How have you managed to develop such an incredibly powerful culture of reading at your school?

Isobel: Reading forms the basis of much of our teaching, is brought into lessons all the time and we give children and teachers half an hour a day to read solo for fun. With all that reading going on, most children make an effort to find books they enjoy.

It sounds like it’s a big deal to get on the Book Quiz team! What do the rest of the school think about the quiz and how do they support you?

Team: They are very proud and extremely supportive of our fundraising initiatives. They’re behind us all the way!

The international quizmaster says he can draw on any book published – two thousand years’ worth of literature is a lot to cover! How do you prepare?

Team: Read, read, read … we’re lucky that we don’t all like the same types of books, so we can divide what we need to cover. We’re allowed to read anything we want but Mrs Sobey looks for new books that might be part of the quiz.

What kinds of added benefits do you find reading gives you all?

Team: We can actually go to different exotic places in books themselves! We also learn a lot of general knowledge and vocabulary and it’s a relaxing way to escape the world.

Only four students get to take part in the competition, but how do you keep encouraging everybody in the school to get excited about reading?

Isobel: I do lots of book talks, I introduce new books, we watch movies based on children’s books. We have our own school inter-house Children’s Book Quiz – this way more children have a chance to answer questions about books and we all get to watch the quiz.

Who do you think your biggest competition is this year?

Team: New Zealand and the UK.
Isobel: I say Singapore.

I know you mentioned some programmes that Manor Gardens is running to partner with other schools to spread the reading bug. Can you tell us a little about that?

Isobel: The Phendulani Quiz was started by Marj Brown, the National co-ordinator of Kids’ Lit Quiz in South Africa. Schools sponsor other under-resourced schools who receive a set of books which they have a set amount of time to read before we all get together to hold our own quiz. Every year the Phendulani Quiz grows a little bit and a few more children get to enjoy bonding over shared books.

Not everybody gets the chance to fly to New Zealand, but why is it important that every child in South Africa has the opportunity to read books in their language?

Team: Reading develops your mind and your world. We wish everyone could find a lifetime friendship with books, like we have!

From Sunday April 15, Nal’ibali will be publishing its supplements in two new languages. An English-Setswana edition will be published in the Sunday World in the North West, and an English-Xitsonga edition will be donated to reading clubs in Limpopo. Clubs in both provinces will collect their copies from select post offices. The post offices (10 in each province) will also have 50 additional editions each to give away to member of the public.


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World Book Day celebrated in Soweto with READ Educational Trust pop-up library

Written on behalf of READ and Readathon

READ Educational Trust remains committed to promoting South Africa’s most urgent need: literacy. And today being literate is the ultimate ‘cool’.

To celebrate World Book Day and promote literacy, an iconic Readathon pop-up library, sponsored by Sage Foundation, ‘popped up’ on Monday, April 23, at Igogo Primary School, in Soweto.

Immediate interest was created among learners, and excitement mounted as READ’S Mrs Book and the talented author and cartoonist, Tim Mostert, read with the children. Learners also thoroughly enjoyed the quiz hosted by Mrs Book during the celebrations.

Pop-up libraries are a brilliant READ Educational Trust innovation to introduce children, to the joy of reading. The unparalleled pleasure that reading gives was further enhanced at Monday’s event when participants were given books to take home to read. These pop-up libraries promote the importance of reading, increase the availability of books, and grow literacy in South Africa.

READ is very reliant on the support of various private and corporate funders, such as Sage Foundation, without whom the literacy dream would be impossible to fulfil. Through these initiatives, READ encourages greater awareness of the illiteracy plight, and encourages the involvement of more patrons across Southern Africa.

Learners from Igogo Primary School in Soweto with READ’s Mrs Book at the Sage Foundation sponsored pop-up library.

 

Mrs Book entertains learners at Igogo Primary School in Soweto with interesting tales on World Book Day – 23rd April.

 

A learner from Igogo Primary School in Soweto enjoys a quiet moment of reading at the recent World Book Day pop-up library, sponsored by Sage Foundation.

 

Thumbs up from learners at Igogo Primary School in Soweto and Tim Mostert after celebrating World Book Day with a pop-up library and quiz, sponsored by Sage Foundation.

 
To find out more about READ Education Trust, visit www.read.org.za.

Join the conversations on:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/READEduTrust
Twitter: www.twitter.com/READEduTrust
Instagram: www.instagram.com/read_educational_trust


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Play it forward: win and donate books!

Via TimesLive

When you read to your children, you invest in their future. Image: Rico

 
Many stories for children have been adapted over time from stories that were originally created for adults. In fact, translators have often been responsible for crafting and reshaping stories across time and space to suit their different audiences.

Think of Aesop’s fables. Aesop was a slave and storyteller in Ancient Greece in the 5th Century BCE. For centuries his stories moved across continents and were told and heard in many languages. They first appeared in print in 1484 – as stories for children, and in English. Even today, new versions of these stories continue to be created.

Many famous fairy tales have different versions around the world. For example, across Africa and Europe, in Russia, Appalachia, India and Japan, versions of the Grimm’s fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, are told and read. So, the history of children’s literature is a history of translation. Through translation, stories from Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian and Asian languages have found their way into English. In South Africa, Pinocchio, originally written in Italian, has become Pinokiyo ngesiXhosa and is now appreciated by children who do not necessarily know that the story came from Italy.

‘Pinnocchio’ can now be enjoyed in isiXhosa, as ‘Pinokiyo’. Image: Rico.

 
Stories that originated in Africa have been retold in many languages too. All over the world people read the popular trickster tales featuring Hare, Tortoise or Spider. These stories use animals with human qualities to entertain and teach, and to share wisdom and understanding about human nature and human behaviour.

At the moment there are not enough children’s storybooks in African languages, either as original writing or as translations. But the numbers will grow as people get to know, choose, read and talk about storybooks with their children, and request storybooks in their languages of choice.

As citizens of the world, we are curious about each other and learn about each other as we tell and retell our stories.

Nal’ibali is growing a collection of stories in a range of South African languages. You can find them on the Nal’ibali website or mobisite.

Reading aloud to your children:

  • shows them that you value books and reading;
  • gives you things to talk about together;
  • builds a bond with them;
  • allows them to experience reading as a satisfying activity;
  • motivates them to learn to read for themselves and then to keep reading;
  • shows them how we read and how books work;
  • lets them enjoy stories that are beyond their current reading ability; and
  • develops their vocabulary and language abilities.
  • Try reading this story to your children

    Expand your children’s world! Read them the story of Neo’s imaginary adventure in Neo and the big, wide world by Vianne Venter, then do the Get creative! activity at the end of the story with them.

    Get your Nal’ibali supplement

    Sunday Times Express (Western Cape) – English and isiXhosa – Sunday, April 29

    Sunday World (North West Province) – English and Setswana – Sunday 29 April

    Sunday World (KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng) – English and isiZulu – Sunday 29 April

    Sunday World (Free State) – English and Sesotho – Sunday 29 April

    Sunday World (Limpopo) – English and Sepedi– Sunday 29 April

    • English and Xitsonga supplements will be available at selected SA Post Offices and reading clubs in Limpopo

    The Herald (Thursday 3 May) and Daily Dispatch (Tuesday 1 May) (Eastern Cape) – English and isiXhosa.

    Play it forward: WIN and donate books

    Two lucky readers can win 10 books each week and donate them to a school, reading club or library of their choice.

    The third runner-up will win a Nal’ibali reading-at-home starter pack.

    Books are donated by Tiso Blackstar Group and Jacana Media.

    To enter, contact patti.mcdonald@tisoblackstar.co.za before 5pm on Thursday, May 10 and give one reason why we need to read to children in their mother tongue. Include your name, cellphone number and physical address.

    Winners will be announced on Friday, May 11. Terms and conditions apply.


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Nal’ibali is growing a collection of fables and stories in a range of South African languages

Via TimesLive

When you read to your children, you invest in their future. Image: Rico

 
Many stories for children have been adapted over time from stories that were originally created for adults. In fact, translators have often been responsible for crafting and reshaping stories across time and space to suit their different audiences.

Think of Aesop’s fables. Aesop was a slave and storyteller in Ancient Greece in the 5th Century BCE. For centuries his stories moved across continents and were told and heard in many languages. They first appeared in print in 1484 – as stories for children, and in English! Even today new versions of these stories continue to be created.

Many famous fairy tales have different versions around the world. For example, across Africa and Europe, in Russia, Appalachia, India and Japan, versions of the Grimm’s fairy tale, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, are told and read. So, the history of children’s literature is a history of translation. Through translation, stories from Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian and Asian languages have found their way into English. In South Africa, ‘Pinocchio’, originally written in Italian, has become ‘Pinokiyo’ in isiXhosa and is now appreciated by children who do not necessarily know that the story came from Italy.

‘Pinnocchio’ can now be enjoyed in isiXhosa, as ‘Pinokiyo’. Image: Rico.

 
Stories that originated in Africa have been retold in many languages too. All over the world people read the popular trickster tales featuring Hare, Tortoise or Spider. These stories use animals with human qualities to entertain and teach, and to share wisdom and understanding about human nature and human behaviour.

At the moment there are not enough children’s storybooks in African languages, either as original writing or as translations. But the numbers will grow as people get to know, choose, read and talk about storybooks with their children, and request storybooks in their languages of choice.

As citizens of the world, we are curious about each other and learn about each other as we tell and retell our stories.

Nal’ibali is growing a collection of stories in a range of South African languages. You can find them on the Nal’ibali website or mobisite.

Get your Nal’ibali supplement
Sunday Times Express (Western Cape) – English and isiXhosa – Sunday 29 April
Sunday World (North West Province) – English and Setswana – Sunday 29 April
Sunday World (KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng) – English and isiZulu – Sunday 29 April
Sunday World (Free State) – English and Sesotho – Sunday 29 April
Sunday World (Limpopo) – English and Sepedi– Sunday 29 April
• English and Xitsonga supplements will be available at selected SA Post Offices and reading clubs in Limpopo
The Herald (Thursday 3 May) and Daily Dispatch (Tuesday 1 May) (Eastern Cape) – English and isiXhosa.

Expand your children’s world! Read them the story of Neo’s imaginary adventure in Neo and the big, wide world by Vianne Venter, then do the Get creative! activity at the end of the story with them.


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Book Dash reaches 100 books milestone

Via Book Dash

On Saturday, 14th April, 40+ volunteer professionals gathered at the Sunflower Learning Centre at Zonnebloem Primary School to create eight beautiful, new African storybooks in just 12 hours, to address the lack of access to culturally relevant books for young children in Africa.

The books will soon be available right here!

Supported by Book Dash facilitators, editors, and lots of food and coffee, these incredible volunteers manage to complete a process that would usually take months. The best part? Everything created on the day is their gift to the world, and all the books produced can be read at bookdash.org. All the stories can also be downloaded, adapted, printed and shared in any way. Just remember to credit the creators, and link back to this site. Book Dash also commits to translating and printing these books, that are then given away for free to children who need them.

This event was particularly special for us, because we reached the 100 books milestone – we believe every child should own a hundred books by the age of five.

Take a look at the events of the day!

Recent studies show that that children who say they own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who say they don’t own a book (28.8% vs 1.9%) and are four times less likely to read below the expected level (12.9% vs 48.1%).” (Book ownership and reading outcomes © National Literacy Trust 2017)

Read volunteer writer, Helen Moffett’s, account of the day here.

A huge thanks to the Otto Foundation Trust for sponsoring this wonderful event, and for making the beautiful Sunflower Learning Centre possible.


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“Having access to books in one’s mother-tongue and English can enable children to be powerful learners” – a Q&A with performer and education activist Cindy Mkaza

Published in the Sunday World, Daily Dispatch, and Herald

By Carla Lever

Cindy Mkaza

 
You turned a career in the performing arts – particularly in theatrical storytelling for children – into one as an education activist. What sparked this change?

In 2013 my mother sent me my sister’s not so good school report card. I was so worried about her future that I had to do something. As you know, in South Africa it is hard to make a decent living if you do not have a matric, especially for young people coming from low-income homes. My husband and I started the programme informally in 2014 after I struggled to find a tutoring organisation closer to Site B that could accommodate my sister.

Do you see similarities between the two careers in terms of crafting content that’s engaging and stimulating for young people?

Yes, I do! In fact, we make sure to take the learners to the theatre once a term to stimulate critical thinking through discussions and reflection essays. We also make the lessons into games. We once invited poets to come and teach English grammar – the students never forgot their parts of speech after that! So you can see I never did completely change careers. As part of academic support, we invite young black professionals to come and share their stories of success. It’s powerful when students see and hear someone with a similar background to them end their story with: “in the end, despite my circumstances I made it.” These stories make them see success is possible for them too.

Tell us a little about your operations.

We hold classes in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. We have two branches: one is in Site B at the local library. The second one is in Site C at Intlanganiso Secondary School. We’re currently supporting 100 learners between grades 8 – 12. The students self-select to be in the programme. We always put a call for applications towards the end of the year.

Do you find learners struggle to have appropriate resources in the form of textbooks and other kinds of books at libraries?

Having access to books in one’s mother-tongue and English can enable children to be powerful learners, but at too many schools learners have the wrong textbooks, or are not allowed to take their textbook home and have to share with their classmates. To assist the learners with extra resources we give the learners hand-outs and we photocopy past question papers for the grade 12 learners to practice at home.

We’re pretty interested in programme that get children reading – it seems to be the key to every kind of subject success. How are you able to encourage reading and writing support with the learners?

In the English sessions that we run with the learners we are always making them write reflection essays – these are often linked to theatre outings. We refer to these outings as the Culture Club. We’re planning to launch a Book Club soon where they will share books and write their own stories.

Education changes lives. What kind of growth and results have you seen?

Witnessing learners work hard towards their school work so that they can be bread-winners at home is an emotional journey. When we started the programme we met a learner who had failed grade 8 three times – his mother said we were his last resort. His English level was at a grade 4 level. To help him to improve we put him in touch with some of our friends that run a Teaching English for Foreign Learners school. He went there most days after school. That experience gave him so much confidence and helped him improve his results. He managed to pass grade 8 and 9 with improvements of up to 30% in Mathematics and English.

How have you managed to get this incredibly important project the ground? What would help you to do more?

The project is personal to me. I grew up in Khayelitsha and understand the dynamics of the environment – how it can be toxic and suffocating to people who want to succeed. We currently have a deficit in our outings budget and would really like donations towards it. We see these excursions as just as important as the academic support because some of the learners have never been outside of Khayelitsha. They live in a beautiful city which they don’t get to experience. How can you imagine more than your sum total of life experience? In the near future we would love to branch out to the Eastern Cape. To do this we will need partnerships. We would welcome anyone that is keen to see young people succeed in South Africa to get in touch.

From Sunday April 15, Nal’ibali will be publishing its supplements in two new languages. An English-Setswana edition will be published in the Sunday World in the North West, and an English-Xitsonga edition will be donated to reading clubs in Limpopo. Clubs in both provinces will collect their copies from select post offices. The post offices (10 in each province) will also have 50 additional editions each to give away to member of the public.


» read article