Honoured for its work in Western Cape in the field of multilingualism and mother tongue literacy promotion, Nal’ibali, the reading-for-enjoyment campaign, was awarded the Best Contribution to Language Development prize at the annual Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards. The ceremony was held last night at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.
Initiated by PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education), Nal'ibali is a national campaign working to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. It aims to raise public awareness of the critical link between reading for pleasure and children’s educational success while enabling the conditions for learning, both inside and outside of school, that motivate children to want to read and write in African languages as well as English.
“We are proud to receive this acknowledgement from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. Without an amazing team of inspired and hard working colleagues, we could not do what we do,” commented Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA, who accepted the award with colleague, Malusi Ntoyapi.
“We hope this accolade will inspire further support of our campaign, allowing us to grow our work not only in the Western Cape, but across the country, because, the reality is that many children miss out on regular informal encounters with books, particularly in their home languages, and reading regularly to children in their mother tongue provides a strong foundation, not just for learning to read, but for all learning,” said Ntoyapi, Nal’ibali Programme Support Officer.
Since it’s establishment two and a half years ago, Nal’ibali has published over 130 children’s stories in a range of SA languages with a primary focus on English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho. Many of these stories were published in African mother-tongue languages for the first time by the campaign, appearing in its weekly bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement – the only bilingual literacy resource of it’s kind in the country. And, with 83 editions published to date, Nal’ibali, together with the help of media partner, Times Media, has donated and delivered over two million copies for free directly to it’s network of over 300 reading clubs as well as libraries, schools, early childhood development centers and other literacy –related organisations across the country.
The stories are also freely available on the campaign’s website and mobisite, accompanied by information-sharing articles for parents and caregivers on reading, writing and storytelling with children. These articles are pioneering the guidelines for reading-for-enjoyment and developing young children’s literacy in home languages.
PRAESA is affiliated to the University of Cape Town.