The team behind the Nal'ibali supplement come from all walks of life, but they all share one passion: the love of language and literature. As the only bilingual resource of its kind in South Africa – the supplement offers the children and their caregivers the opportunity to enjoy stories and read material in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho and Afrikaans thanks to these linguistic wizards. To celebrate the 100th edition of the Nal’ibali supplement, we chatted with the people who make this multilingual resource a reality every two weeks!
Meet our Nal'ibali supplement superheroes:
Arabella Koopman is the Supplement Editor. She is responsible for developing the content of the supplement, from the literacy activities to the informational articles to help guide parents, reading club volunteers and teachers to make reading for enjoyment a part of daily life. She also liaises with publishers to select some of South Africa's most popular children's stories to translate and adapt into the cut-out-and-keep storybooks that appear in every edition. Before joining the publishing industry, she worked as a teacher and teacher-educator. Arabella's experience as a writer and publisher informs much of the content she creates for the supplement. She has a passion for supporting children’s literacy development in multilingual settings.
Our Sepedi translator, Mpho Masipa, feels that the supplement “encourages
people to read and write, while also teaching them about life.” For Mpho, the stories are the heart of the supplement – filled with imagination, possibility and endless fun for children! Having grown up with a mother and grandmother who told her family stories in Sepedi, she absolutely loves reading stories to her son and sharing this joy with him!
In addition, our Sepedi editor Matlakala Kganyago knows from experience that these multilingual stories are critical, especially in the Foundation Phase, as they enable children to more easily grasp a second language while mastering their first!
Patti McDonald, Times Media Education Consultant, has worked with the Project for Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) and the DG Murray Trust to produce and disseminate the Nal'ibali supplement through Times Media newspapers since its conception in 2012! Patti's vast experience of working with newspapers, magazines and the Department of Education has made her an informed consultant on the Nal'ibali supplement and how best to get it into the hands of people who need it most!
English and Afrikaans editor, Ilse von Zeunrer, has been working for Nal’ibali for over three years. For Ilse, the supplement “is a wonderful way of providing lots of reading material for children who do not necessarily have access to books, and to provide even more reading material to those who have.”
She recalls that her mother used to read her favourite story, ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle so often that she would remember the words on the next page even before she had learnt how to read. Her passion for books was also nurtured by her grandfather, who used to love telling stories: “He would tell us stories from his youth, or made-up stories. He was a very gentle man and had a keen sense of humour, which we caught onto very quickly. The best part was that he would tell these stories to us in Afrikaans!”
Busisiwe Pakade, the supplement’s isiZulu translator, grew up surrounded by storytellers. Her mother and
grandmother would read her books in English, as well as share isiZulu and isiXhosa stories with her. As a result, Busisiwe has come to appreciate the beautiful nuances of language and the importance of translation. For her, the supplement is crucial because it promotes literacy in more than one language, and also encourage families to spend quality time together.
IsiZulu editor Bhekinkosi Ntuli believes that the supplement is a resource that “extends the child’s experience beyond his/her limited environment and stimulates the child’s own creativity in a special way!”
IsiXhosa translator Nobuntu Stengile finds the supplement entertaining and educational, and feels that it has
tremendous value in raising the profile of our indigenous languages: “All sections of the supplement offer something different and interesting. From story stars section we get to meet great authors and celebrities from a different perspective who encourage the children to read and write. The tips and suggestions in the first section of the supplement help me in dealing with my daughter's literacy journey!”
Hilda Mohale, the supplement’s Sesotho translator, has worked for Nal’ibali for two years and enjoys promoting reading and stories in communities. Her father used to tell her Sesotho stories when she was a young girl, and she has pledged to pass on this gift to her daughter by using the supplement, library, as well as old family stories. Similarly, Pulane Mahlasela – our Sesotho editor – feels that “ it is important to instil the culture of reading and storytelling at schools and in communities. It encourages the love of reading from an early age. The best part is that children’s listening, speaking, reading and viewing skills are developed through taking part in the activities offered by Nal’ibali supplement.”
Nkululeko Ndiki, the co-ordinating African Languages translator for the supplements and isiXhosa
editor, hits the nail on the head: “I think that to effectively develop, nurture and preserve reading as a tradition in South Africa, you need resources such as the Nal’ibali supplement. Multilingual, fun reading resources make stories a community activity, rather than confining it to the classroom, as it has traditionally been the case. And a reading society is a literate society!”
That's the Na'ibali supplement dream team! If you missed one of our 100 supplements, or would simply like to revisit an edition you liked, simply click here to download!