My name is Madikapi (also known as ‘Pulane’) Mahlasela. I was born and bred in Heilbron, a small town in Free State. I currently stay in Cape Town.
I became concerned by the most recent national survey of reading which shows that 78% of grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning, and this is attributed to the lack of reading material and the absence of reading culture in our communities, among other things. As a former teacher and Subject Advisor for Sesotho, I am aware that there is no availability of reading books in most communities, especially in children’s home languages. This is what prompted me to write children’s stories because children who are read to and told stories in their home languages tend to succeed at school.
I got involved in the Call for stories campaign because Nal’ibali stories are easily accessible on various platforms – newspapers, radio, Nal’ibali website, etc. - thus reaching many children throughout the country in all 11 official languages. Through Nal’ibali’s reading campaigns, no child is left behind in terms of reading and listening to inspiring, funny stories. I am certain that my stories will reach as many children as possible and bring the much-needed difference in our communities and the culture of reading will be enhanced as a result.
I feel motivated to write more children’s stories, knowing that they will be published. I have always doubted my ability as a writer but after my two stories were selected by Nal’ibali for use in their multilingual programme, the urge to write more stories has become stronger.
So, if you would love to write stories, take that first step and see where it takes you. You will never know if you have it in you to make a difference in children’s lives unless you give it a try. Once you have written one story, read it to your child/children and see the joy and excitement it brings to them. That will also spark your interest to write even more.
Let us read to our children and tell them stories. You’ll be amazed how much they enjoy it. We owe it to them!