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Letlhabile resident recognised in national storytelling contest

Nal’ibali, the national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has announced Annah Gumbi from Letlhabile, near Brits, as the North West provincial winner of its annual storytelling contest, Story Bosso. 

Chosen from over 6 000 entries collected from across the country and over 100 entries in the North West, Gumbi’s winning entry, Tortoise and the Birds, is aimed at teaching children about respect.

Each year Nal’ibali hosts its month-long Story Bosso drive in September (Literacy Month), to encourage members of the public, young and old, to get storytelling in their home languages. 

A simple yet effective method to lay the literacy foundations that children will need to learn to read and write; storytelling is something that anybody can do: anytime, anywhere. The sharing of stories is also part of the collective culture and heritage of all South Africans. 

This year the talent search attracted a record number of entries and included a provincial road-show with celebrated storytellers, including Gcina Mhlope and Sindiwe Magona, giving special demonstrations of their craft to adults and children in different parts of the country. Driving the initiative at local level, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors held over 100 audition and entry events in seven provinces to source stories directly from communities and from Nal’ibali’s network of over 1 000 reading clubs. 

Gumbi is a children’s books author, literacy activist and an educator who loves telling stories to children. Her love for meaningful stories that convey an educational message led her choosing Tortoise and the Birds as her Story Boss entry. Gumbi downloaded the story from Nal’ibali website for her Grade R class story time, and when she saw the contest promoted on Twitter she decided to enter using the same story. She read the story aloud to her class and the children loved it, she then forwarded the voice note to enter the contest. This story is about teaching children life lessons. 

“I like the voice variation she used. The story is beautiful, very clear and easy to follow and listen to,” commented Nozi Ngomane, a Story Bosso judge and Gauteng-based storyteller. 
Gumbi is joined by seven additional provincial winners: Java Hoy in the Eastern Cape; Lethuxolo November in Gauteng; 

Dimakatso Letsoele in Mpumalanga; Sabelo Khomo in KwaZulu-Natal, Maggy Matladi in Limpopo and Gaireyah Fredericks in the Western Cape.  Each provincial winner has been awarded with a cash prize of R 1000, a Nal’ibali branded cap, a R500 book voucher and R250 airtime. The national winner is Lindiwe Makhoba from the Free State. 

Says Nal’ibali Managing Director, Jade Jacobsohn: “An ancient practice used to shape societies, stories not only have the power to build bonds between generations and connect communities, but ignite the parts of the brain connected with imagination, empathy and language learning in children; helping them develop sophisticated reasoning and become informed, empowered citizens. For these reasons, it’s important that we work together to keep storytelling alive in our homes, classrooms, and communities. As an organisation and a country, we should proudly celebrate storytelling.”

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination, and school success. To access children's stories in a range of SA languages and tips on reading and writing with children

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