This International Mother Tongue Day (Friday, 21 February), the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign will be highlighting the importance of reading and sharing stories with children in their mother tongue languages through its weekly literacy supplement and a special Twitter drive.
The campaign is calling on South Africans to share at least one, or all of their tweets, in their home languages on 21 February with some of SA’s best-loved celebs and thought leaders who are already pledging to lead the way.
Legendary Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow (@JackParow); acclaimed jazz singer, Judith Sephuma (@judith_sephuma); activist, actress and glamorous literacy ambassador, Hlubi Mboya (@HlubiMboya) together with television personality, Akhumzi Jezile (@akhumzij); rapper Zeus (@zeusgc) and columnist Palesa Morudu (@palesamorudu) will all be sharing tweets in their home languages to help raise awareness about the role of mother tongue in children’s literacy development.
“By the time children are five, their brilliant young minds have helped them to learn how to think and communicate in their home language. And, when you read to children in their home languages, you give them a strong foundation for learning language and developing their literacy skills,” comments Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign together with Times Media and other partners.
“With a combined reach of more than 250 000 followers, our celebrity role models play a vital role in helping us to get our message out there,” adds Bloch.
“In addition, the Mother Tongue Day edition of our weekly bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement – which appears in The Times, The Sowetan, The Dispatch and The Herald – will share information with parents, caregivers and volunteers on the value of mother tongue to help grow their children’s literacy. The supplement – which features a new children’s story in every edition and is also delivered free of charge to hundreds of reading clubs each week – is available in English-isiXhosa, English-isiZulu, English-Sesotho and English-Afrikaans allowing volunteers, caregivers and parents to have access to reading material on a regular basis in a variety of languages,” she concludes.
Illustrating her commitment to drive, Judith Sephuma shared the following: “Ke kgethile go berekishana le Na’libali reading-for-enjoyment campaign ka gore ke tseba gore setshaba se se sa tsebeng setjo, polelo le meshomo ya sona ke setshaba se se latlhegileng. Thuto ke lesedi la setshaba le bana ba rena. A re ruteng bana ba rena. Le rena re ithuteng. go bala go aga tlhaloganyo e bile go a thusha.”
Which, translated into English reads: "I have chosen to work with the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign because I know that a nation that doesn't know its culture, its languages and its works, is a nation that is lost. Education is a light for our nation and our children. Let's teach our children and teach ourselves. Reading builds understanding, and, it helps!"
Join Nal’ibali on Twitter (@nalibaliSA) on Friday 21 February and share one or all of your tweets in your mother tongue using the hashtag #InMyLanguage.