This literacy and heritage month, Nal’ibali – the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign – in collaboration with the South African office of the United Nations, will be using its annual multilingual storytelling contest, Story Bosso, to nurture a new generation of courageous and literate children. Launching on Friday, 31 August, and running for the month of September, this year’s contest has ‘South African Heroes’ as its theme.
“By remembering and telling the stories of our heroes, we hope to inspire greatness in our children. Heroes educate us about what is right and wrong; they give us hope and motivate us to overcome life’s challenges. When children hear stories about heroes they can identify with, they can internalise these values and are more likely to act on them, making heroic and moral behaviour part of their everyday lives,” says Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director at Nal’ibali.
An effective method of passing on values, storytelling is also an important part of children’s literacy development and encourages the development of imagination, curiosity and empathy. While it is part of daily life, it also requires practice, and the campaign has created a hero-inspired storytelling board game to support entrants in building and practising their storytelling skills. The board game will be freely available for download on Nal’ibali’s website.
The campaign will also directly connect with at least 10 000 adults and children through a series of community and regional events held by its literacy mentors, schools’ network – Story Powered Schools, and volunteers or FUNda Leaders across the country. Guests will have the opportunity to play the board game in their home language before auditioning and entering a story in any one of this year’s four categories: Hero of the Past, Living Legend, Personal Hero, and Fictional Hero.
Many of the values for which South African heroes stand, align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity and dignity for all. Says Masimba Tafirenyika, Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria: “We hope that all who participate in this year’s contest will see that the Sustainable Development Goals are really human rights, and that those who stand up for them are heroes.”
Sharing more about the SDGs and encouraging children and adults to play their part in ensuring they are met, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka will open the competition at a special event in Soweto. Joining the singer-songwriter and humanitarian will be local celebrity and hero Busisiwe Mmotla. Miss Soweto will share her own heroic story before demonstrating how to play the storytelling board game to an audience of primary school children.
This year’s Story Bosso, or first-place winner, will be awarded R5 000 as well as a book hamper. A further eight provincial prizes will be awarded and each of these winners will receive R1 000 as well as airtime. Stories must be entered by 30 September. All winners will be announced in October.
To see full event details, download the board game, or submit a story digitally, visit the Nal’ibali website at www.nalibali.org. Stories can also be submitted via Nal’ibali’s WhatsApp number, 076 598 1039, or email at email@example.com. Entries should not be longer than three minutes, and must include the entrant’s name, age, contact details, language, province, and entry category.
So, whether your hero is Mama Winnie, or your own mama, join Nal’ibali in using the transformative power of storytelling to build a prosperous South African for us all.