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Nal'ibali has helped me grow as a writer

Meet Bubele Retshe

My writing journey dates back to 2005 when I fell in love with reading and the English language. It was the year that I was sent to a school where English was the medium of teaching and communication.

At that point in my life, the only English phrase I knew with confidence was, "Good morning, ma'am." My English was so poor that I was given an ultimatum to either repeat grade four to improve my English, or forfeit my place at the school. I was heartbroken.

I then met a librarian who encouraged me to read books in order to improve my English, and through this process, I unintentionally fell in love with reading and writing. 

Fast-forward to 2019. I stumbled upon Nal’ibali’s call for radio story submissions. I saw this as an opportunity not only to share my stories with the world, but to plant the same seed in young readers that was planted in me all those years ago. Children are curious beings, and books are the best tool to satisfy that curiosity. I submitted four stories for Nal’ibali radio season 5 and two of them were selected: The Boy Who Loved to Run, and Timo the Superhero. The following year I submitted five stories for Nal’ibali Radio Stories Season 6 and three of them were selected: How the Zebra Got its StripesThe Young Lion, and The Tortoise and the Duck. 

Nothing boosts a writer’s spirit like words of encouragement or feedback from a stranger, especially if that stranger is a nationally recognised institution like Nal’ibali. I was filled with joy when I received calls from friends and relatives upon hearing my stories on the radio. The opportunity that Nal’ibali provides to authors from all backgrounds is a rare and rewarding experience. It has helped me grow as a writer and has allowed me to dream bigger dreams such as one day publishing my own children’s book.

Words of encouragement I would like to give other writers, is to always keep writing. You have been entrusted with a gift to tell stories, and the stories that you are holding on to might just be the stories that will spark inspiration in the minds of young children and encourage them to dream. Who would have thought that that little boy who could not speak English would one day be published by Nal’ibali, and that his children’s stories would be broadcasted on radio nationwide. It always seems impossible until it is done!                                                                        

Send your story today in a Word document to stories@nalibali.org. For story guidelines see more here https://bit.ly/3gJaDpV

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