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Archive for the ‘Childrens Literature’ Category

Win a Nal’ibali mini-library fully stocked with storybooks in different South African languages!

Reading is the apex of educational escapism; reading is fun and informative; reading creates thinkers and dreamers. Slotsom: reading rocks! (Bibliophile shot by Daniel Born.)

 
Nal’ibali, the nationwide reading-for-enjoyment campaign which aims to spark children’s potential through reading and storytelling, is supporting caregivers in kick-starting their children’s 2019 school year by giving away 20 mini-libraries fully stocked with storybooks in different South African languages.

Research shows that children who read for pleasure, do better across all school subjects, including maths.

However, to keep children reading, it’s helpful to understand what motivates them to read.

According to American researchers, Kathryn Edmunds and Kathryn Bauserman, the following factors influence children’s reading behaviours.

• Children are more likely to read a book they chose themselves

• Children enjoy books that match their personal interests

• Children are more likely to choose books that have exciting covers, great illustrations and action-packed plots, as well as books that are funny or scary

• What they could learn from reading a book was important to them

• Their interest in reading was sparked and encouraged by their family members (especially mothers), teachers and friends

• Children were often excited to read books they had heard about from friends

• Children enjoyed being read to by family members and teachers, even if they could already read

• Once they’d caught the reading bug, children continued to motivate themselves to read!

Nal’ibali mini libraries contain a carefully curated selection of books designed to expose children to a range of literacy and illustration styles.

Every library is bilingual in a bid to support a culture a multilingualism, and to help children build a strong foundation in their other tongue as well as English.

“Providing families and classrooms with their own mini libraries is just one of the ways we are nurturing a culture of reading in South Africa. Nal’ibali stories can also be accessed directly from its website, in its regular reading-for-enjoyment supplement or heard on the radio,” explains Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director.

To stand a chance to win one of 20 mini-libraries, send a short motivation on how you plan to enjoy your mini-library with the children in your life to info@nalibali.org by 21 December 2018.

Entrants must also include their name, physical address and contact number. Winners will be notified during the week of 7th January 2019.

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children’s stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Stories and smiles aplenty at Nal’ibali’s book handover to the Thuma Mina Hillbrow Book Club

By Mila de Villiers

Bliss is perusing a bookshelf… (Shot for the shot, Daniel Born!)

 
The Thuma Mina Hillbrow Book Club, an exceptional book club created for orphanages in and around Johannesburg, was recently gifted books in English, Zulu and Sesotho by the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali.

The handover of the donations was celebrated at Killarney Mall’s Exclusive Books on a sunny Saturday morning with Thuma Mina Book Club organisers, Nal’ibali team members, media and the buoyant bookworms in attendance.

The group of animated bibliophiles were also offered the luxury of selecting any two books to add to their growing libraries, thanks to a fundraiser organised by the Thuma Mina Book Club.

(Colouring-in books seemed to be a hit and Nomalizo Xabana, marketing manager for the book club, had to encourage more than one youngster to please “pick another storybook”…)

Nal’ibali’s Bongile Mtolo (and storyteller par excellence) treated the riveted audience to a reading of two stories from Nal’ibali’s story collection: Sisande’s Gift tells the tale of Sisande, an orphaned giraffe who’s gifted a book after the passing of her mother and The Rainbird – a fairy tale about hope, magic, courage and a fantastical avian.

Bongile Mtolo working his magic. Pic by Daniel Born.

 
Bongile interacted with the crowd during the reading of both stories, asking questions such as which gifts they’d like to receive for Christmas (a confident “iPhone 8!” was met with mirth from the group), and what they would name a giraffe if they were to own one (“Owen” was quite a surprising answer…)

Youngsters do tend to get a bit kriewelrig after having to sit for a prolonged period of time but Bongile kept the vibe alive by leading two lively renditions of the Nal’ibali hand-clap – because no, one doesn’t clap “like you’re in church” after being read to, he quipped.

All together now: “One, two, three!” [clap, clap, clap] / “One, two, three!” [clap, clap clap] aaand [Ululate!]

To paraphrase the Von Trapp siblings, the time to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen and goodbye is inevitable and the merriment concluded with a donation from The Sowetan of R80 000 to Nal’ibali, presented to the organisation by Sowetan editor, S’thembiso Msomi.

Now that’s what one calls a contribution to a nation’s literary future.

A beaming Bongile Mtolo, Thuma Mina members and S’thembiso Msomi, as snapped by Daniel Born.

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“Having the luxury of reading for pleasure is something we’d like everyone to have” – a Q&A with Open Book School Library Project facilitator, Frankie Murrey

Nal’ibali column: 14 November 2018

By Carla Lever

Frankie Murrey, facilitator of Open Book Festival’s Open Book School Project

 
What made the team at Open Book Festival decide to take up the challenge of giving young children access to quality books?

From the start, we have been committed to doing whatever we are able to in order to increase learners’ access to books. Books have such a far reaching impact on one’s life and understanding of the world in which we live.

Can you tell us a little about the school book project – what it involves and how it works?

Initially the Open Book School Project saw us putting libraries into schools, but we came to realise that those libraries were underused. What we do now is put boxes of library books – we call them Open Boxes – into classrooms so that teachers and learners have access to books throughout the day. We work with the teachers to ensure that the books are relevant to the learners.

Are there any grades you strategically choose to target, or is it different for every school?

We piloted the Open Box project at St Mary’s Primary in Cape Town and there we went through the entire school, donating boxes of books grade by grade. This year we worked with Siyazingisa and placed Open Boxes in each of their Grade R classes. We’re looking to work with another Grade R group in Gugulethu in 2019.

Of course, it’s not just books you give children access to, but also a culture of reading for enjoyment and fun. Can you tell us a little about the mentoring and event side of the project?

At each of the handovers, we run some kind of book related activity that’s designed to get the kids excited about reading. This depends a lot on the age group we are working with, so this past year has been a storytime and drawing which is always loads of fun.

What has the feedback been like, from teachers, kids and parents?

From teachers and kids, the feedback has been fantastic. It’s been particularly tricky this year to source a range of books in isiXhosa, though. Teachers we’ve worked with have understood that at times we have had to put English titles into the boxes, but we always try to stock a variety of fantastic, exciting stories in the children’s mother tongue.

What have some of your favourite moments been, working on this project?

Watching the kids get hooked into the stories that are being read to them is amazing. I don’t think it’s something anyone can get tired of! Lwandiso Ntanga of the Book Lounge has been central to the smooth running of the project in 2018. Watching him interact with the Grade R learners has been an absolute delight. The world missed out on a very gifted teacher when he went the route of bookseller! As a mother-tongue Xhosa speaker, he’s ideally suited to speak to the children and share his passion for books, too.

Lwandiso Ntanga and a group of riveted young bibliophiles

 
Why is it so important for young people to have access to exciting books in their own languages from an early age (and throughout their lives)?

Having the luxury of reading for pleasure is something we’d like everyone to have. Without books that resonate in one’s own language, though, that becomes more difficult. It’s through books and stories that so many of us are able to recognise ourselves. When books that speak to who you are in the language that you speak are missing, that’s a failure we are all responsible for fixing.

What can we all do to support and develop all SA children’s love for reading, no matter where we live in the country?

There are a number of organisations that work to get books into schools – Nal’ibali and Book Dash are great examples. See what’s happening in your area and double check that the books are actually well matched to the learners. See if you can join a group that visits schools. Check with your local public library what their youth programme is like.

How can people get involved with your specific project?

They can get in touch with me at frankie@openbookfestival.co.za.

So often we make our literacy challenge the problem of individuals – people should donate more books, support more charities and so on. This often lets the big players off the hook. Ultimately, of course, today’s children without books become the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs supporting our economy. What role do you think businesses and government should be playing to take responsibility at a macro level?

I would love to see government increasing budgets to allow schools additional salaries to employ librarians. I would also like to see them putting money into growing children’s publishing across all languages in South Africa. On the corporate side, many companies already have projects of their own that target school learners in different ways. It would be fantastic to see more companies involved in supporting increased reading in some way, whether it’s through putting a book directly into someone’s hands, or whether it’s through supporting the creation of kids content.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.


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13-year-old Praises Banda has been announced as the winner of Nal’ibali’s 2018 Story Bosso contest!

Via Nal’ibali

Praises Banda, a 13-year-old Grade 7 pupil from Leboho Primary School in Limpopo, has been announced as 2018′s Story Bosso winner!

 
Story Bosso is a multilingual storytelling contest designed to provide aspiring storytellers with an opportunity to showcase their talent and to promote storytelling in all official South African languages. It’s an initiative of South Africa’s national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali.

The theme for this year’s talent search was ‘South African Heroes’. By remembering and telling the stories of our heroes, the campaign aimed to inspire greatness in all South African children.

Says Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director:

“Heroes guide us about how to live our lives; they give us hope and motivate us to overcome challenges. We were blown away by young Praises Banda from Ga-Kibi, Dankie Village, in Limpopo, as her story, skillfully told in her home language Sepedi, did exactly that.”

Told with both sadness and passion, Banda’s story is about her personal hero, Kholofelo Sasebola, who put an end to the bullying she endured at school.

“The sadness in Praises’ voice is palpable. You can tell the bullying was traumatic, but, at the same time, you can hear her passion for celebrating the deed of her hero. Her command of Sepedi is commendable. Though the story is told in simple sentences, Praises uses the language playfully, and the story is easy to understand,” comments Lorato Trok, Story Bosso judge and children’s story development expert.

Storytelling is an important part of South African heritage and plays a key role in children’s literacy development by encouraging the use of imagination, curiosity, and empathy.

More than 50 special storytelling events were held across the country throughout September to allow members of the public to practice and build their storytelling skills before entering the contest.

Banda’s story was selected from over two thousand entries and, as this year’s Story Bosso, she will be receiving R5 000, a book hamper, and R500 worth of airtime.

A further five prizes will be awarded to provincial winners. Thabiso Khoeli from the Free State; Sibongile Mofokeng from Gauteng; Afika Cwecwe from the Eastern Cape; Mandisa Madlala from KwaZulu-Natal and Mbalentle Mangete from the Western Cape will each receive R1 000, a book hamper as well as R250 of airtime.

“Stories need to be valued for the critical contribution they play in the development of young minds. They help build neural circuits in our brains, particularly in young brains, that ultimately enable sophisticated thinking and reasoning,” says Jacobsohn.

“We know that well told stories – where a word may be a snarl, a shout, a whisper, or a cry – can be a colourful trail of chocolate Smarties that lead children to books! Those bonding moments of sharing stories with children help to root the seeds of a culture of reading into South African homes. We are proud of all of our winners this year for showing us what good storytelling can be,” concludes Jacobsohn.

To listen to the winning stories, or to find out more about Story Bosso and the Nal’ibali campaign, visit the Nal’ibali website on www.nalibali.org.


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“Poetry has a unique way of humanising the players in a political story” – a Q&A with slam poet and performer Siphokazi Jonas

Nal’ibali Column 29: Term 4, 2018

Sunday World 4 November 2018, Daily Dispatch 5 November 2018, Herald 8 November 2018

By Carla Lever

Slam poet par excellence, Siphokazi Jonas

 
Your poetry engages very deliberately with political and personal questions of identity. What kinds of ideas are you most passionate about spreading through it?

It’s all about the importance of autonomy in telling your story. I’m really interested in writing about and staging narratives which are not seen regularly, particularly about the lives of black women.

Do you think that there’s a space for poetry to reach people politically where newspaper reports or debate can’t? How can we all use or be open to that space?

Absolutely – poetry has a unique way of humanising the players in a political story. There is room for publishing poetry in newspapers and other media which could widen the scope of who has access to our work.

We come from a long history of protest poetry – literature, storytelling, theatre and so on. But now, it feels like there is a generational shift: a group of passionate young people who are ready to make their own political points outside of the traditionally political works of the past. Does this feel to you like a good time to be a young poet?

This is a fantastic time to be a poet! The shifts happen as politics and concerns change. Poetry gives us a platform not only to wrestle with past and present but also to engage with an imagined future.

Sometimes, no matter how familiar we are with a work, we can still read something and have a strong emotional reaction to it. Can you give us a couple of lines of your own poetry that still hit home for you?

Sure. Here’s an extract from my poem Making Bread:
Every December, in exchange for Tupperware full of roosterkoek
Tried over coals, I present uMama with English poems
To match the decadence of the season.
(English, with its heavy hand of sugar, corrodes my vernacular,
English poems do not let me forget that the bowl I work in is borrowed)
.

It’s always a challenge to get work out into the public, particularly as a poet. In 2016 you released some of your poetry in a very unusual format: a DVD. Can you tell us a little about why you did that and how it’s been received?

The DVD was to capture the verve and fire of spoken word which often disappears once you leave the stage. Although the work was received well, we didn’t quite account for the move away from physical DVDs and CDs – the best platforms for distribution are now online.

You’ve had some great successes in big slam poetry competitions. What has been the most exciting experience for you?

Slam is quiet a competitive format of performance and poses a challenge to the poet because of all the rules and time constraints placed on a performance. My favourite thing is how the slams tend to feel like collaborations instead of competitions.

I first encountered your work when you performed with the ‘Rioters in Session’ poetry collective. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a number of their performances, though I’m not officially part of their collective. In their own words, Rioters in Session was “organized [as] an intuitive community for POC poetry womxn to share their work in a soft and safe space with a gentle audience”.

Why is it important for poets, storytellers, performers to have spaces to share their work and for people to be able to share and discuss it together? What does sharing stories do for communities of people?

We have an incredible history of storytelling and poetry in this country which has been integral as a way of archiving history, holding communities together, holding leaders accountable, protesting injustice, etc. I believe that we are seeing the same in the contemporary moment.

How can we encourage young people to get involved with poetry and storytelling? Are there resources or organisations you could direct them to?

The best way is to read poetry and also watch material online, follow poetry houses on social media such as Hear My Voice, Word and Sound, Poetry Africa, Poet in a Suit, Inzync Poetry, Grounding Sessions, Current State of Poetry, Words in My Mouth Poetry Slam. If there are no existing book clubs or poetry groups, start them right where you are!

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.


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Michelle Obama, DJ Sbu and Jamie Oliver headline the 2018 Exclusive Books Festive Catalogue

Via Exclusive Books

Exclusive Books has made gifting easy for South Africans this year, with more than 100 titles to pick from in its annual festive catalogue – including Becoming, Michelle Obama’s personal account of her upbringing, her life in the White House and what it’s like to raise two daughters under the media’s glare.

The catalogue is available free from Exclusive Books stores from 1 November.

“There’s a book for every age and taste,” said Ben Williams, GM: Marketing at Exclusive Books, “and plenty of local flavour mixed in with the international blockbusters.”

Alongside Becoming, other such blockbusters will include Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Out of the Maze: A Story About the Power of Belief, the final book by Dr. Spencer Johnson, of Who Moved My Cheese? fame.

DJ Sbu’s The Art of Hustling: Sell or Surrender headlines the business category with Johnson. “It’s the book that will launch a thousand SA entrepreneurs,” said Williams.

For cookery enthusiasts, Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Cooks Italy will transport home chefs to the Bel Paese, while Simply Zola by Zola Nene serves up a South African taste sensation.

John Grisham’s Reckoning stands tall in the fiction section, along with George RR Martin’s Fire and Blood and Deon Meyer’s Prooi. “Take them all to the beach!” said Williams.

For younger readers, the Harry Potter Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts is set to provide hours of fun, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid box set – all twelve books in one place, at a special price – is a sure-fire future heirloom for every reading family.

On the sports scene, Shane Warne’s autobiography, No Spin, has already set tongues wagging – with sledging to follow, no doubt.

“We’re promoting several books at very special prices,” said Williams, “including Jeffrey Archer’s Heads You Win, an epic tale of fame and fortune that begins in Leningrad, Russia, and will be sure to please his legions of fans. We understand that customers are under ever more pressure and have worked hard to ensure they can find something for every family member at the right price.”

Fanatics members will earn double points on all the books featured in the catalogue.

Spread the magic – give a book this season, with Exclusive Books.


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Magical, inspirational, life-affirming – notes on the 12th Book Dash, held in Johannesburg

By Anna Stroud

Photographer Urvesh Rama was there from start to finish, capturing all the action. Visit Book Dash on Facebook for more images.

 
Energy crackled in the air – the kind that makes every hair on your body jig, from your nose to your toes.

It’s a powerful sensation watching nine teams brainstorm, craft and chisel away to create nine beautiful children’s books in less than 12 hours. And that’s exactly what happened on Saturday, 27 October, as volunteers drove into the heart of Johannesburg to participate in the 12th edition of Book Dash.

The Streetlight Schools in Jeppestown was the perfect home for the Book Dash crew. The schools started in October 2013 in a small store-room in Bjala Square and their aim is to create globally competitive schools in the most underserved areas in South Africa.

In 2016, they launched the flagship Streetlight Schools: Jeppe Park where we hung our hats for the day. Judging from the drawings on the wall and the wholesome menu on the blackboard, it’s a nice, caring place to learn.

The nine teams of three – writer, illustrator and designer, plus one editor for two teams – experienced that care first hand. The school’s support staff kept us fed, hydrated and happy as we worked our way to the finish line.

“Everything we do today is a gift to the world,” said Book Dash founder Arthur Attwell at the start of the day, while his six-year-old son (and unofficial Book Dash cheerleader) beamed at us from across the room.

Book Dash originated in 2014 from the founders’ belief that each child should own 100 books by the age of five. The books are available for free under the Creative Commons Attribution licence and in all 11 official South African languages.

The Book Dash model has been replicated by various groups in and outside South Africa, and the Android app recently hit just over 100 000 downloads worldwide!

This 12th edition was made possible by the Otto Foundation Trust, which allows Book Dash to print and distribute the books.

One of the reasons why I volunteered as a Book Dash editor is the feeling of positivity and goodwill that permeates the room.

Throughout the day, the love spreads from writer to editor, designer to illustrator, facilitator to support staff, barista to photographer to videographer, and back again, like a never-ending cycle of good vibes. (Yes, we had our own barista!)

In the morning, all the writers and editors gathered in the library to read their stories aloud and to give each other feedback. I’ve never experienced such an affirming group of people, who gave each other advice on how to make their stories better and built each other up every step of the way.

It wasn’t an easy feat.

As the day progressed, illustrators’ hands started to cramp, designers started to see double, writers and editors went back and fro with coffee, snacks and kind words to motivate them to the finish line.

Then the final stretch: proofreading for wayward punctuation, frowning at fonts with their own free will, and watching the clock count down to the final minutes.

And then – sweet release – the work was done and we could bask in each other’s glory.

The teams took to the stage and the writers read their stories aloud to roaring applause. The final book caused all the tired creatives to collapse in fits of laughter: somewhere in the night, a car backfired just as one writer read the line: “What’s that noise behind the tree?”

The books will be available soon – but here’s a sneak preview of the magical titles that came to life during the day:

• I don’t want to go to sleep!
• The Great Cake Contest
• The very tired lioness
• Dance, Mihlali!
• Let’s have an inside day!
• Mali’s Friend
• Auntie Boi’s Gift
• Lions are always brave
• What’s at the park?

To experience some of the magic, follow the hashtag #BookDash for live coverage on the day or visit their website to find out how you can get involved.


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“Children need to be encouraged from an early age to learn another language or languages” – a Q&A with academic and language activist, Zakeera Docrat

Nal’ibali Column 26: Term 4, 2019

By Carla Lever

Zakeera Docrat

 
Congratulations on your two recent awards – having your MA thesis voted the best in Southern Africa by the African Languages Association of Southern Africa and winning the Albertina Sisulu Doctoral Fellowship at the SA Women in Science Awards. What will this recognition mean for you personally, and for your research specialty professionally?

Thank you very much! It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling to know that my research is being recognized at the highest levels of academia and government. It also casts the national spotlight on a relatively new field of forensic linguistics – or language and the law. Including African languages in the legal system enables real justice: it’s an issue that’s finally being placed on the national stage.

Your academic work looks at how African languages are represented in the legal system. Can you tell us a little about your current research?

My PhD research focuses on language and the law, specifically looking at the language of record in South African courts. In 2017, English was made the sole language of official record, but only 9.6% of the population in South Africa speak English as their mother tongue. Language affects people’s rights in courts. If you are an African language or Afrikaans mother tongue speaker and you have no or limited linguistic competency in English, then you are solely reliant on an interpreter. In my opinion, that’s both unfair and untransformative.

How do you think it changed your worldview, to be able to communicate with a wide variety of people in their own language?

By acquiring an additional language, in turn you acquire a cultural key to navigate cultural barriers. We live in a diverse, linguistically rich country, where the majority of our people speak an African language as their mother tongue. I couldn’t imagine being unable to communicate with the majority of people in the province of my birthplace, the Eastern Cape. You’re able to see the world through someone else’s perspective, to relate to fellow citizens and be respectful and aware of their traditions.

Since 1996, courts have made translation available to anyone who needs it. Why, in your opinion, is this not enough to really ensure people are fairly represented? How can it still place defendants at a disadvantage?

All accused persons have a right to a fair trial and to be legally represented. But can a legal representative defend the accused fully when they communicate through an interpreter? In my opinion, no. When people use interpreters to give evidence, meaning is often lost or changed. If the presiding officer only speaks English there is no possibility of picking up any inaccuracies. There are also often cultural concepts and traditions that can’t be interpreted directly into English.

Are there countries in the world where legal language policies are inclusive and work well? Who can we look to as an example?

Indeed there are! We could emulate a Canadian model, which is fully bilingual with judicial officers and legal practitioners being fully bilingual. Cases are heard in either of the official languages. Although South Africa has eleven official languages as opposed to Canada’s two, there is no reason why there can’t be language policies for each province, given that there are two languages spoken by the majority in each province.

Academics are often theory-driven, but was there a practical moment or discovery that really brought home the injustice and shortcomings of a legal system that can’t accommodate people’s lived, language-based realities?

I’m actually trying to find the answer to a very practical question: how do we enable access to justice for the majority of our people who are not English mother tongue speakers? The case of State v Sikhafungana (2012) really brought home to me how difficult it can be for South Africans to navigate our legal system. It saw a Deaf complainant needing to testify about being sexually assaulted, but being at a severe disadvantage because she couldn’t understand English or communicate using South African sign language. It was heartbreaking to see how there were so many barriers to justice for her.

People often counter policy suggestions by saying expanding options will prove too expensive. In your opinion, are there incremental or simple changes that might already make a big difference, or should South African invest in a large system overhaul?

The expense argument is one that is constantly used, yet there is always money available for wasted expenditure. Language is seen as a problem rather than a right and a resource. It isn’t valued.

We can’t expect to wake up tomorrow and have the entire legal system fully functional in all eleven official languages. What can be done, though, is for universities to begin to train prospective lawyers in languages other than just English. African languages and Afrikaans should also be language of record where practical.

Of course, the legal system isn’t the only one that is failing to truly represent our country’s diverse needs. Education, healthcare, policing…do you think all these areas could benefit from drawing on the richness of our languages as resources rather than sideline them as problems?

Indeed. Miscommunication in services such as healthcare, education and the legal system can have disastrous effects. It’s sad that pupils and parents think that English is the only language that will give rise to job opportunities. The power of the mother-tongue in acquiring a sound education and learning content subjects isn’t recognized in policy. Language is also key to the decolonization and transformation of our universities, yet we continue to see an emphasis placed on what we learn rather than what language we’re learning in. There’s a real need to create awareness on the importance of language as a tool to empower and transform South Africa.

How do you think we can develop and nurture a love for, and practical engagement with, all of our country’s languages in South Africa?

It starts in the home! Children need to be encouraged from an early age to learn another language or languages. Mother tongue speakers also need to value the power and status of their language – by doing this, others will be encouraged to learn those languages too.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.


» read article

Nal’ibali has come third in a spectacular award from the AU Innovation in Education Expo!

Via the AU Innovation in Education

[Dakar, Senegal] This Saturday 6 October, South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali, took third place at the African Union’s Innovation in Education Prize, rising ahead of six other emerging innovators from across the continent.

The announcement came during the AU Commission’s Innovating Education in Africa Exhibition in Dakar, supported by the Senegalese Government and African partner institutions.

The campaign received this recognition in large part for its bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement. The supplement is produced by PRAESA (Project for the Research of Alternative Education in South Africa), printed biweekly in Tiso Blackstar newspapers, The Daily Dispatch, Herald and The Sunday World.

Budding bibliophiles enjoying a supplement story with Nal’ibali literacy mentor, Thabisa Nomkhonwana.

 
It is donated and delivered directly to reading clubs, schools, libraries, and community organisations in the Nal’ibali network across South Africa, with the support of its publisher and the South African Post Office. Since 2012, 37.3 million supplements have been distributed to those who need them the most.

“We’re really honoured to receive this continent-wide recognition,” says Katie Huston, Head of Research and Innovation at Nal’ibali.

“We often assume innovation has to mean new technology, but the supplement shows that something really ‘low-tech’ can have a huge impact when it is built on sound research; when it catalyses ground-breaking partnerships between the private sector, civil society and government; and when it meets people where they are.

“We want to thank the AU for recognising the importance of innovative solutions to our continent’s education challenges. Together we can give all our children the opportunity and support they need to become lifelong readers.”

Nal’ibali’s award-winning supplement may be the answer to one of South Africa’s biggest challenges: How do we get quality, affordable reading material into our children’s hands? Reading has been shown to be the single biggest contributor to a child’s future school success, yet only 17% of South African schools have a library stocked with books, and very few homes have more than ten titles on their shelves.

“In South Africa, books are expensive and very few are printed in indigenous languages,” adds Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director of Nal’ibali. “When schools do manage to get books, they often keep them for teachers to read in the classroom only. They’re simply too precious to risk getting damaged by children.”

Thabisa handing out Nal’ibali supplements to young story lovers.

 
Each 16-page edition of Nal’ibali’s newspaper supplement has a range of exciting and accessible literacy resources designed to get children to fall in love with reading.

This includes two to three new cut-out-and-keep story books which encourage children to feel part of the process, and provide a sense of ownership of printed reading materials. There are also ‘story active’ tips that help caregivers and educators extend the story sharing experience, as well as fun literacy related games and activities.

The supplements currently come in eight of South Africa’s 11 national languages, meaning inclusivity is central to its design. And, with the supplements printed every second week during school term time, teachers who receive the supplement report that children cannot wait for ‘story week’.

Huston explains some of the winning features that impressed the AU judges. “Not only are the supplements cost effective – they cost just R1.55 (11 US cents) per copy to develop and print – but they’re meeting children where they’re at, with quality, fun reading material in their home languages. This is important, because having a strong foundation in their first language better equips children to learn additional languages, including English, and to succeed in school.”

These innovative efforts have now been recognised by the AU, as part of a drive to meet both the Continental Education Strategy for Africa goals, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals too.

For more information about accessing Nal’ibali’s supplements, or the power of reading and storytelling, visit: www.nalibali.org and www.nalibali.mobi.


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Readathon: raising superheroes through reading, in 2018

Via READ Educational Trust

In a country of great contrasts and diversity, in which the future seems filled with uncertainty, our focus should be on empowering our young people at all costs.

What better way to do so, than with helping them discover facts about their world, and most importantly, about themselves, through that one little gift we should be passing on from generation to generation; from child to child: the gift of reading.

For nearly 40 years, READ Educational Trust has focused on promoting literacy across South Africa.

This is achieved through various programmes, with Readathon being READ’s pride and joy. In conjunction with National Literacy Month, held in September, READ is excited to unveil the fifth Readathon Red Reading Box; an invaluable tool to encourage reading amongst a broad cross-section of learners.

Each Red Reading Box has had a fascinating theme, and this year’s is no different. The ‘Finding Facts’ box is visually appealing with its ‘Superpower’ look and feel. It is designed to help children discover their special skills through a fact-finding mission which begins and ends with reading. Children are taught that reading is their superpower … it’s the key to unlocking facts about the world around them, about what interests them, and about what they are good at!

 
In the 2018 Red Reading Box you’ll find a ‘Finding Facts Magazine’ – a place to find out about our ancestors, our family, our country and our culture. The ‘Superhero Journal’ is a journey of self-discovery, and ‘Everyday Heroes’ is a book filled with stories about children similar to the readers. The ‘Finding Facts Cut-Outs’ book contain instructions for all the games in the box, as well as fun cut-outs. Games include a ‘Flags of Africa’ game, ‘Word Power Playing Cards’ and more.

A young reader taking a peek inside his Red Reading Box.

 
While we’re on the topic of facts, a heartening statistic is that 12 000 children have been reached through Red Reading Boxes over the past four years. The Pizza Hut Initiative in support of the Africa Literacy Project, distributed an additional 2 500 this past year, and READ aims to distribute 3 000 new Red Reading Boxes this year.

The launch of the Box at Boepakitso Primary School in Soweto!

 
An additional Literacy Month activity saw the new Box being launched at Boepakitso Primary School in Soweto, on Friday 7 September. Children were delighted to explore the boxes and their contents, and were even more thrilled with the donation of several Red Reading Boxes for their school.

Budding bibliophiles exploring the new 2018 Red Reading Box.

 
Educators and parents are urged to purchase a Readathon Red Reading Box for only R255. Every cent of the profits is ploughed back into promoting literacy in disadvantaged communities across South Africa.

To find out more, visit www.read.org.za or purchase your Readathon Red Reading Box directly from the READ Online Shop for R255 – https://thereadshop.co.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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