Nal’ibali - South Africa’s national reading-for-enjoyment campaign - is proud to be adding two more South African languages to their literacy newspaper supplements. Setswana and Xitsonga readers can now enjoy the Nal’ibali supplements in their mother languages from mid-April 2018. This latest addition brings the total number of languages to eight, for Nal’ibali’s bilingual supplements. It is a significant milestone for Nal’ibali, which fully promotes reading and writing in mother languages.
The supplements are made possible through a media partnership with Tiso Blackstar (formerly Times Media Group), which publishes the bilingual newspaper supplements every two weeks during term time. The print-rich material includes stories, literacy activities, reading and reading club tips and support, to inspire and guide parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians and reading clubs, to make reading and storytelling meaningful, enjoyable and accessible.
“The importance of mother language preservation and promotion is critical and should be addressed as such,” explains Nal’ibali Xitsonga language editor Mr Gezani Chabalala, who believes language, culture and identity are inseparable and complement each other. Language assists in shaping one’s culture. It is important to preserve and promote mother tongue for the language’s continued existence, and as a minority language in SA, Xitsonga speakers will benefit from this milestone. People learn and understand better when lessons are conducted in a language they know and understand well, concludes Chabalala.
Nal’ibali places value on the power of language and cultural relevance in literacy development. To cultivate a reading culture and a nation that prides itself on high-level literacy, all children and adults need to understand what they are listening to and reading. Real understanding makes it meaningful and enjoyable, which is significant for raising readers.
“I would like to commend Nal'ibali for giving the Batswana children, and children of other languages, an opportunity to read interesting stories in their own language! It is a great effort towards ensuring we cultivate a culture of reading in our children, at the same time preserving our language. In my opinion, children who can write and read in their language can easily learn other languages. Through storytelling, with special reference to Setswana, our language and culture will be hugely promoted, as Nal'ibali urges children to interact with others, to use their imagination and to learn from these stories” says Opelo Thole, Nal’ibali Setswana language editor.
Several Tiso Blackstar titles distribute 147,600 reading-for-enjoyment supplements fortnightly in the following language combinations, available during school term time only:
- Sunday World (North West Province) – English and Setswana - Sundays
- English and Xitsonga supplements will be available at selected SA Post Offices and reading clubs in Limpopo
- Sunday Times Express (Western Cape) – English and isiXhosa – Sundays
- Sunday World (KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng) – English and isiZulu – Sundays
- Sunday World (Free State) – English and Sesotho – Sundays
- Sunday World (Limpopo) – English and Sepedi– Sundays
- The Herald (Thursdays) and Daily Dispatch (Tuesdays) (Eastern Cape) – English and isiXhosa.
Each week, 53 000 supplements are also distributed free of charge through Tiso Blackstar Education directly to reading clubs, community organisations, libraries, schools and other partners in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, North West and KwaZulu-Natal. A limited number of free supplements will be available at select post offices in Limpopo and North West. Visit the Nal’ibali website to see a list of these post offices.
To download digital copies of the supplements and more information about the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children's stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA.