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Literacy Blog

Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi is igniting the minds of teenagers and contributing to the advancement of South African indigenous languages through his translation of scientific books. In this process he has invented almost 500 new isiZulu words. Mbuyazi spoke to us about how the importance of nurturing mother tongue languages in the educational and academic world:   Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom we, the humans, are...
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Choosing books for children

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Verushka Louw, a children’s bookseller who works at an independent bookshop in Cape Town (The Book Lounge), tells us how important it is to choose the right book at the right time for children: I was a library child. We moved around a lot when I was younger and I did not have many of my own books, so in each new town I soon...
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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
June, 14th 2015
Sally Mills, Networks and Communications Coordinator 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
June, 14th 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 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 topics: Writers...
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Building bridges with books

Posted on
June, 14th 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 bridges 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...
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Imagining a literate South Africa

Posted on
April, 24th 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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