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Take a look at in-depth pieces and powerful narratives from some of South Africa's best literary minds and critical thinkers, as well as the latest Nal'ibali news and updates. 

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Nali'Bali in the media

Storytelling: The Crucial Curriculum

Posted on
March, 26th 2015
“We live storied lives” This World Storytelling Day, it’s important to understand how stories (from amusing tales to the story of your life) are the pixels that make up your understanding of the world. Stories are not something separate from life – they aren’t fictional pastimes. In fact,they are so prevalent that  they’re woven  tightly into the tapestry of every person’s life, and in incredibly...
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Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, will be celebrating World Storytelling Day this Friday, March 20, at the Indie Book Fair taking place at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg. In celebration of the day, and the power of stories, the campaign will be hosting a special storytelling session with guest storyteller and author, Zanele Ndlovu. “We are all born to tell stories, memorise and make...
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Last year, people across South Africa helped us read aloud to almost 50 000 children on World Read Aloud Day! In 2015, Nal’ibali was determined to share the power of reading aloud with even more children… And thanks to parents, teachers, librarians, reading club volunteers, and Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors, we managed to reach our goal and set a new reading record. On 4 March 2015, a...
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What we become depends on what we read

Posted on
March, 16th 2015
Righardt le Roux is the Nal’ibali School and Public Library Co-ordinator. Best known for his entrepreneurial and innovative skills of “taking libraries to the people”, he has won a multitude of awards for his community work. He talks to us about South African Library Week and how we become maps of what we read: The theme for this year’s South African Library Week (14-21 March), Connect...
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Tessa Dowling, Senior Lecturer in African Languages in the School of Languages and Literature at the University of Cape Town, talks about the role of brands and language in the South African context: If you were an African-language speaking child growing up in South Africa, the first written words you’d see wouldn’t be ones from your own tongue. Nearly all the words on packets, street signs, billboards...
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Tribute: Neville Alexander

Posted on
March, 16th 2015
Neville Alexander was the founder of the Project for Alternative Education (PRAESA) in South Africa. He was a visionary scholar and activist, and his fight for South African democracy became a call for multilingual education in post-apartheid South Africa. He believed that freedom is not simply about political change, but about cultural acceptance and cultural understanding through language. Language, Neville explained, underscores freedom and human dignity....
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Brain food for growing minds

Posted on
March, 2nd 2015
In South Africa, most of the adults who spend time with children in their various capacities as parents, teachers, care­givers, adopters or custodians, do not regularly read aloud to them. And even if they do, with repeated readings of favourite storybooks, most can’t sustain the activity long enough for it to become a habit. This is because if they choose to read in a mother...
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Nal’ibali is calling on all South Africans to join them in celebrating one of the most important dates in the literacy calendar, World Read Aloud Day, on Wednesday 04 March. Raising awareness of the importance of reading aloud for children’s literacy development, and attempting to break its read-aloud record from 2014, the campaign is asking adults across the country to read aloud the same story on the same...
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How a book can change a life

Posted on
February, 23rd 2015
He was perhaps 13, face shadowed under his hoodie. ‘Got any spare change?’ he asked. It was some time past 10pm in St Vincent’s emergency waiting room, where my husband was struggling to breathe with a bone caught in his throat. There were no free beds, so the doctors were attending him there, till the surgeon arrived. I gave him a little. I didn’t have much –...
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Nal’ibali has collaborated with SA role models and public figures to highlight the importance of mother tongue languages in children’s literacy development this International Mother Tongue Day, Saturday 21 February. By asking participants to try to read a children’s story – in a language they didn’t understand – Nal’ibali has created a poignant Public Service Announcement (PSA) highlighting the challenges faced by many young children as...
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