When children grow up in households where there is an abundance of books and storytelling, it is most likely that they will learn to appreciate books and make reading a lifelong activity. For Lugogo, it was his grandmother’s habit of regularly sharing stories with him that opened his imagination and sparked his love of reading.
What started as a special family tradition turned into a calling for Lugogo and today he has a thriving reading club of 25 children with whom he meets three times a week. It is a safe space for children to read, talk about the books they are reading and engage in other literacy activities. “I want to change and challenge the mindset of people who believe that reading for enjoyment is not for them. That is totally untrue, reading for enjoyment it is something that all of us can do and enjoy – I want to share the love of reading with kids in Khayelitsha,” Lugogo says passionately.
Nal’ibali’s FUNda Leader movement is network of literacy activists across the country who volunteer their time to promote literacy in their communities. In return, they can receive special training and support from the Nal’ibali campaign.
Lugogo says that it’s truly a privilege for him to be part of the movement because, through the FUNda Leader network and its support, he is able to positively impact even more children. “The love I have for my township and the interest I have for reading and writing opened the door for me to be part of the FUNda Leader movement. I was motivated to join because I want to spread a love for reading in my community, in my township and possibly in my country – I want everyone to become a bookaholic”, explains Lugogo.
As a FUNda Leader, Lugogo says he is encouraged to lead by example and become a reading role model. And, looking back, he now appreciates the importance of reading and the creative space that his gogo – his own reading role model – created for him as a child, noting the direct benefits he sees in the children who attend his club.
“I work with children between the ages of eight and 12 – using meditation as well as storytelling to create a peaceful space for them to be the best versions of themselves. It is important to Lugogo that in the noise and busyness of the township, that an opportunity for peaceful reading is created. Further, he educates parents about the importance of reading for enjoyment with their children and highlights the impact and change that it can bring: increasing children’s chances for success at school and assisting in their emotional development.
Lugogo is a shining example of what it means to be a FUNda Leader and his work in his community is being shared with the Western Cape members of its network to inspire and encourage other everyday people, just like him to help turn literacy around in South Africa.