The Nal’ibali national reading-for-enjoyment campaign has joined forces with publisher Pan Macmillan to inspire even more children with the picture book version of Nelson Mandela’s bestselling autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Abridged by the late award-winning author Chris van Wyk, the book brings Madiba to life for a younger generation – from his childhood days as a young village boy to his campaign for freedom across the world. In the week leading up to Mandela Day, the partners will be sharing the story on air together with participating radio stations and distributing copies of the book across Nal’ibali’s network of more than 300 reading clubs.
“Storytelling is one of the greatest tools we have. Not only does it allow us to build connections with each other by teaching important qualities, such as empathy and tolerance, but hearing other people’s stories can help us to shape our own life story,” comments Carole Bloch, the Director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign.
“Sharing Madiba’s story is a wonderful way to encourage children to emulate the kind of qualities that Mandela and his generation of leaders stood for,” adds Smangele Mathebula, Nal’ibali Campaign Driver.
Through a generous donation of 7 000 copies of the book from Pan Macmillan, Nal’ibali reading clubs will each receive copies for use in their sessions. Early Childhood Development Centres, Children’s NGOs, schools and literacy organisations will also be invited to apply for packs of the books, which the campaign will send to them free of charge.
And, while the books are in English, to extend the story’s reach, it has also been made available by the publisher to be read on air by radio stations in all 11 official languages. Stations sharing the story include national broadcasters, SAfm, Lotus FM and Radio 2000, as well as provincial and community stations 567 Cape Talk, Umhlobo Wenene, Capricorn FM, Bush Radio, CCFM, Mosupatsela FM Stereo, Mozolo FM 98.2, Unisa Radio, Central University of Technology (CUT) FM, Eldos FM, IFM 102.2, Mdantsane FM 89.5, Link FM, TruFM, Ligwalagwala FM, Thobela FM, Motsweding FM and Phalaphala FM.
“Pan Macmillan is delighted to be able to share one of South Africa’s most important stories with so many children. We hope that they will read, share and enjoy the book but most of all, be inspired by Mandela’s remarkable life story, so masterfully adapted for children by Chris van Wyk and brought to life with Paddy Bouma’s illustrations,” remarks Terry Morris, Managing Director of Pan Macmillan South Africa.
And, to further ensure the story is given meaning and relevance to the young audience, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors in six different provinces will be hosting special Mandela Day activities linked to the book. By reflecting on Mandela’s life, his values and what he stood for, reading club members and invited guests from the community will be asked to think about who their special ‘Mandela’ is and how they can be like a Mandela figure to someone else.