This September, and in commemoration of Literacy Month, Nal’ibali – the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is encouraging a wave of storytelling across the country with its third annual multilingual storytelling contest, Story Bosso.
Placing a special focus on folktales in a bid to preserve this national treasure, the campaign will be hosting storytelling performances and events across the country for the month and is inviting members of the public, young and old, to join them by telling the traditional stories they remember being told, or to have fun making up new ones.
“Storytelling is a forerunner for children’s literacy learning in all languages and forms part of our national heritage. Many of our traditional stories, historically told by grandparents around fires, feature characters such as the jackal and the hare, wise old men and greedy giants. Starting with different phrases: Once upon a time, kwathi ke kaloku ngantsomi, kwasuka sukela; these stories have been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth and are in danger of being lost,” says Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director.
To help children and adults remember these special stories, Nal’ibali has created a set of storytelling playing cards featuring common folktale characters, settings and objects. Together with over 8 000 children’s story books by local authors featuring folktales and other family-friendly stories, these story cards will be distributed and given away at community events to help increase the number of leisure books and story materials available to children and caregivers. They are also freely available for download from Nal’ibali’s web- and mobisites for the month.
“Our stories are an important part of our heritage and collective culture. By encouraging South Africans to tell and share our stories in all our languages, we’re hoping to not only support adults in becoming pivotal players in their children’s literacy development through this simple yet effective method, but ensure this beautiful craft which has the power to connect us all remains alive,” continues Jacobsohn.
Opening the month of storytelling, South Africa’s best-loved storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, will be telling one of her favourite folktales to children in Soweto before inviting them to enter the contest and stand a chance of being crowned this year’s ‘Story Bosso’. Mhlophe will be joined by comedian, Marc Lottering, who will be infusing an element of fun by demonstrating how to use the cards for improvised storytelling and Soweto-based master storyteller, Bongani Godide, will add local flavour to the event.
Regional storytelling events in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape will be supported by storytellers Sindiwe Magona, Hluma Zakaza, Hlobisile Mkhize, Mpumy Ndlovu and Nolubabalo Rani who will be enchanting children and adults alongside Nal’ibali storytellers, Sanelisiwe Ntuli, Madoda Ndlakuse and Thanduxolo Mkoyi. Further, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors will be hosting community events in these provinces and more, all helping the campaign to collect its goal of 5 000 stories – a first step towards preserving this unique part of SA heritage. To add to the excitement, Nal'ibali's will be conducting FUNda Leader reading for enjoyment trainings in each of the above regions as precursors to the Story Bosso events.
And, with prizes in the form of cash, airtime, books and caps up for grabs, there is added incentive for South Africans to get storytelling. A main prize of R5 000 cash, R1 000 book voucher, R500 airtime and a Story Bosso cap will be awarded to the overall Story Bosso winner. There will also be eight provincial winners, who will each receive R1 000 cash, R500 book voucher, R250 airtime and a Story Bosso cap. Spot prizes of books, airtime and caps will be available to those who enter online throughout the month.
All South Africans are invited to submit their entries between 01 and 30 September as audio or video clips online on the campaign’s website (www.nalibali.org), mobisite (www.nalibali.mobi), Facebook page (NalibaliSA), to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Nal’ibali’s WhatsApp line: 076 920 6413. A full list of community storytelling and entry events will be available from 1 September on the Nal’ibali website along with the contest rules and guidelines.