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Impact and Reach

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.

Impact and Reach


Numbers that speak

Since our launch in 2012, Nal’ibali has solidly entrenched its position as a thought and action leader for children’s literacy development. To date, we have spread the power of stories and reading nationwide:

Reading clubs

1660 reading clubs launched to date in 9 provinces.

Children reached

To date 60, 700 children.

People trained

13,642 people trained at 619 training events.

FUNda Leaders

3644 FUNda Leaders signed up to date

Materials produced

79 brand-new stories, and 526 translations of these stories.

125 supplement editions, in 6 languages.

1794 radio stories, in 12 languages - 7.16 million listeners

Materials distributed

156,638 books

Total supplements printed: 30,754,120
Supplements sent to reading clubs/schools: 4,617,510
Supplements via newspaper: 25,679,250

5304 radio broadcasts aired, which reach ~ 7.16 million listeners per week

Public presence

24,369 people reached in person via 168 events and conferences

Flagship events, competitions and campaigns

World Read Aloud Day: 719 672 children read to in 2017

Story Bosso: 2200 stories collected at 136 events

Story Power: 503 billboards flighted in 11 languages

Social media

24,321 Facebook likes and 6,079 Twitter followers


PRAESA (the Project for the Research of Alternative Education in South Africa), the co-founder of the Nal’ibali campaign, received the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award in 2014 and in 2015 received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), the largest award for children’s literature in the world. PRAESA also received a Cultural Affairs Award for the Best Contribution to Language Development from the Western Cape Government.


Nal’ibali publishes a bilingual Newspaper Supplement every two weeks during school terms. For each edition, more than 37 000 copies are delivered to reading clubs, and 180 000 copies are distributed in various Times Media publications: the Sunday World (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo), the Sunday Times Express (Western Cape), and the Daily Dispatch and The Herald (Eastern Cape).

In the last four years we have distributed more than 15.7 million Supplements:

* 2.1 million to reading clubs and schools.

* 13.6 million via newspapers.

Since our launch, we have distributed a total of 21.1 million Supplements.


Over the years, various South African role models and celebrities have joined Nal’ibali to amplify the message of the power of stories and literacy. Zolani Mahola, Bonnie Henna, The Soil, Nik Rabinowitz, ProVerb, Refiloe Mpakanyane, Sindiwe Magona, Gcina Mhlophe, Suzelle DIY, Ajax Cape Town and a multitude of other South African public figures have stepped up and spread the message to their own audiences.

A shift in attitude

To create a culture of reading, it’s crucial to shift mindsets and, consequently, behaviour. Once people have taken ownership of an idea or a concept, once they see it is an integral part of their world view and identity, behaviour begins to change. Nal’ibali strives to acknowledge and promote reading and storytelling as a key part of South African identity. This is why our reading clubs and drives extend to several provinces, focuses on mother tongue languages and provides content that is culturally relevant.

We’ve analysed links between reading club activities and literacy development. This has enabled us to keep abreast of statistically significant shifts, and to better understand whether behaviour trends are changing over time.

Our analysis of activity reports received from a number of reading clubs from 2012 to 2015 shows increases in writing and children reading on their own – which are crucial in both literacy development and gaining a genuine love for reading. We were also able to see that children had started to read aloud and draw more often, as well as continue to use cut-out-and-keep books.

Another fundamental aspect of our campaign are the numerous collaborations we have with our partners, which enable us to increase the breadth and scope of our reach. Feedback from partner organisations using the Nal’ibali Newspaper Supplements in their reading clubs shows the impact of both the Supplements and informal literacy learning opportunities:

[At] the Kokosi Library, up to 63 young readers come on a weekly basis to make the cut out and keep books, read along with the library staff member and slowly build their own library collections. Children are learning, in a fun way, not only in their own language but also in other languages. It helps to raise bigger inter-cultural understanding of their immediate community, but also of the world and how they fit into that. – Emfuleni Library


Locally we have seen struggling language skills soaring up to 30% where children came to partake in the Nal’ibali reading programme on a weekly basis in the public library. Parents and teachers are equally expressing their appreciation of the supplement and the role it plays in helping their children on their academic way. – Johannesburg City Libraries


There is a dire shortage of story books in our underprivileged schools and we promoted Nal’ibali supplements at all our workshops, reminding teachers that they need not lack for reading material ever again… The supplements have been a vital aspect of the Masikhulisane programme, as without the wonderful bilingual stories the programme would not have the impact that teachers believe that it has had on the learners’ changed attitude to reading. – General Motors


The supplements that were e-mailed to us were forwarded to the district officials to share them with the schools. Some schools were able to make copies to increase access for learners in the clubs. Other schools are keeping the copies in the libraries. – Department of Education, KwaZulu-Natal


In addition, our partnerships with the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Arts and Culture, the Community Work Programme, the SABC and others are integral in our approach to connect with and inspire as many adults and children across the country as possible.

Nal’ibali continues to measure the impact of the campaign through in-depth analysis focused on content, reach, attitudes and media to better engage with more adults and children across South Africa. We estimate that about 20% of South Africans have contact with Nal’ibali in some form or other. The aim is to ensure that at least two thirds (about 35 million people) interact directly with the campaign. To do this, Nal’ibali is scaling up its work in schools, widening its reach into every district in the country, finding retailers willing to partner in increasing people’s access to books and reading materials, and keeping alive its dynamic and joyful media campaign. By basing our approach and strategy on emerging trends, we hope to fundamentally change the reading culture in South Africa – one story at a time.