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Jonathan Jansen, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, speaks to us about what PRAESA's Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award means for the literacy landscape of South Africa: Growing up amidst the poverty and hardship of the Cape Flats, I remember one thing from my childhood—it was how the presence of books would come to change my life forever. My mother was a nurse...
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The art of the spoken word

Posted on
14 June 2015
Sally Mills, Networks and Communications Co-ordinator at Nal’ibali, explores how the work of literacy activist Mpho Khosi inspires literacy: The streets are alive and so are the minds of the young people who walk them. Brisk with triumph, pounding with frustration, clumsy with desperation or tripping with excitement, the streets feel the beat and the urgency of the youth and give rise to a voice...
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Kgebetli Moele, a South African writer best known for his novels, Room 206, UNTITLED, and The Book of the Dead, writes about the effects of globalisation and the importance of engaging with our stories in this multi-faceted country: There was a man who once wrote a book and titled it Cry the Beloved Country, and then another man, amazed by our fake selves, said: “Oh! But...
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Telling stories from the heart

Posted on
14 June 2015
Acclaimed South African storyteller, poet, praise singer and actress, Andrea Dondolo speaks to us about the importance of storytelling mothers: Imagine the scene: It’s that magical and haunting time of day – sunset! Can you hear them? Listen carefully… Stories are like a thumping heart, begging to be allowed to live. Providing a pulse to humanity, our senses come alive with storytelling and, like animals...
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Nakanjani Sibiya is an award-winning author of a number of isiZulu books across various genres. Contributing most significantly to the short story category, his works often reflect the people of his rural KwaZulu-Natal hometown, depicting their sense of humour, despair, triumph and determination to survive. In this piece, Sibiya tackles just how crucial it is for South African writers to take on uncomfortable and taboo...
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Building bridges with books

Posted on
14 June 2015
Born in the Eastern Cape, Sonwabiso Ngcowa is an emergent young author. Passionate about literature and social development, he uses writing and stories to uplift those around him. In this article, Ngcowa explores how reading and books bridge a divide between all cultures: With life being as busy as it is in the modern world, our opportunities to meet new people and connect with each other...
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Mandla Langa is a South African poet, short-story writer and novelist. He is also the Executive Vice-President of PEN South Africa, an endorser of the Nal’ibali children’s literacy rights poster. Mandla spoke to us about the importance of literacy in allowing children to fulfill their potential: The need to entrench the culture of reading among children was impressed on me recently. During the Easter weekend...
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Imagining a literate South Africa

Posted on
24 April 2015
Koketso Ratsatsi is a collaborator in the Mohlakeng Youth Movement – a team of young people working in the Mohlakeng township south of Randfontein to grow a culture of reading in the community. Here's her wise take on how we should all take ownership of literacy development: Knowledge is powerful and, transmitted through reading, it is one thing that no one can ever take away...
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The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the richest award in children's literature, and one of the richest literary prizes in the world. The award recognises "authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and promoters of reading" whose "work is of the highest quality." The objective of the award is to increase interest in children’s and young people's literature, and to promote children's rights to culture on a global scale. Nal'ibali is proud...
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What we become depends on what we read

Posted on
16 March 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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