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Advocacy & awareness

Advocacy & awareness

The Nal’ibali campaign aims to spark and sustain a culture of reading in South Africa. The role of media partnerships and ambassadors is crucial in spreading knowledge and awareness on the power of stories, and is key to ensuring that more people know about the effect of reading and storytelling on children’s educational success. For this reason, Nal’ibali strives to reach as many people across South Africa as possible.

Our aim is to position Nal’ibali as a household name that is recognised and loved across the country; to create a larger-than-life phenomenon that people are eager to be a part of. Nal’ibali harnesses power of positive peer pressure, identity and public communication to motivate behaviour change. We believe that a loud and inspirational media campaign together with engaging interpersonal interaction will eventually lead us to a ‘tipping point’ that would substantially shift the national culture of reading.

Flagship events

Since 2013, World Read Aloud Day (created by LitWorld) has been a massive milestone event for Nal’ibali. Strongly supported by the likes of author Niki Daly, storyteller Gcina Mhlope, singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka and actress and author Buhle Ngaba, World Read Aloud Day has seen huge national success in terms of literacy advocacy. Through this drive, we are able to connect with people both online and on the ground with this global push for read-aloud awareness!

In 2014, we proudly launched our Children’s Literacy Charter with UNICEF to highlight the range of literacy experiences all children should have to best enable them to learn to read and write. This was followed by our Children’s Literacy Rights Poster in 2015 on World Book Day, which provided children with guidelines to make books and reading a part of their daily lives. Local author and storyteller, Zanele Ndlovo, children’s television presenter, Karabo Bonco, and narrators of the Nal’ibali storytime slots on Umhlobo Wenene, Ukhozi FM, Thobela and Lesedi FM radio stations took part in surprise visits to our reading clubs, sharing their own favourite stories and the role that books and stories have played in their lives.

In 2014, Nal’ibali launched the Story Power: Bring it Home billboard campaign to generate awareness and discussion around the power of stories to spark children’s potential. Over 500 billboards were erected across the nation, with taglines translated into the predominant languages of the provinces and locations in which they are found - reaching thousands of people in their own communities. Community members from our billboard research stated that they found these billboards engaging as it created awareness about the importance of reading, in their own communities and in their own language.

If reading is the foundation to all learning, stories are hook that gets adults and children alike to books. Nal’ibali celebrated our first ever storytelling competition, Story Bosso in 2015 - aimed at reawakening a love of storytelling and reading among South Africans of all ages. The competition highlights people’s power to influence their children’s literacy development through storytelling. Every story in our diverse country has the power to create identity, inspire empathy and enrich vocabulary for children – as long as they are shared! This is why partners such as Times Media, National Book Week, Jozi Book Fair, Soweto Theatre, Vodacom Teacher Centres, Mad About Art and Africa Unite joined us in spreading the word and getting information and materials to caregivers to encourage them to get storytelling!

In 2016, we launched our FUNda Leader - our national drive to inspire parents, caregivers and all adults to commit to creating a culture of reading and writing in South Africa. With over 5752x FUNda Leaders, hundreds of reading-for-enjoyment activities across the country and FUNda Leader trainings, this reading revolution has only just begun!

And every year, we have ensured the Mother Tongue Day is recognised and celebrated. From a celebrity-filled video on the effects of reading in an unfamiliar language, to a video showing just how few vernacular books are available in libraries, Nal'ibali strives to advocate for the power and importance of mother tongue languages in South Africa.

Our public figures

We have been supported by a range of celebrities and public figures who have joined the cause and taken it upon themselves to amplify our message to their followers.  Some of these literacy heroes include Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Gcina Mhlope, Suzelle DIY, Zolani Mahola, Zanele Ndlovu, Elana Afrika, ProVerb, Bonne Henna, Sindiwe Magona, Nik Rabinowitz, Lebogang Mashile, Hlubi Mboya, The Soil, Buhle Ngaba and Refiloe Mpakanyane. In spreading our message, these individuals have been crucial in modelling positive literacy behaviour to inspire others across the country to do the same.

In addition, we’ve partnered with several passionate corporate partners, such as Volkswagen South Africa, SABC Education, PEN SA, FunDza, Pick n Pay, Jet, and Jacana Media among others.


Sharing knowledge and learning from other organisations in similar sectors is crucial to developing a wide-reaching and effective campaign. The conferences we have attended, supported and contributed to include the Franschoek Literary Festival, African Storybook Project Symposium, Puku Wordfest Talk, Independent Publishers Alliance Conference, Eastern Cape Literary Festival, Goethe-Institut - Mobile Literacy Workshop, UNICEF ECD Knowledge Building Seminar, Iziko Museum Mother Tongue Day Talk, among others. Imparting and sharing expertise in this way, Nal’ibali aims to better tailor its methods and campaigns in an ever-changing landscape, as well as support and inform other organisations who do similar work.


Over the years, we’ve witnessed just how powerful awareness raising can be when organisations and individuals with the same mission join forces and make change happen. If you have a partnership or sponsorship request for us, please email us here