To commemorate the centenary celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, Nal’ibali – South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign – is highlighting some of the values he embodied by sharing a special series of three children’s stories. Made possible through a collaboration with non-governmental organisation Heartlines, the stories focus on honesty, compassion and forgiveness and are an effective way for adults and caregivers to pass on these values to children.
Available from Nal’ibali’s website in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Afrikaans for the week of Mandela’s birthday, the stories, Topo’s Tree House, Bear’s Haircut and The Small Seed, will also be shared among children in Nal’ibali’s national network of over 1 000 reading clubs. Each story comes with activities and talking points about the values it focuses on to help parents and caregivers engage their children around these important principles.
“Through discussing the pictures, characters and what is happening in a story, children learn about how stories work and how to explore them. By letting the conversation flow naturally as we enjoy a story together, we are extending children’s literacy learning. Many stories focus on how characters deal with challenges that life sends their way. Story conversations help children to relate what they read about in stories to their own lives.
“Children are able to practise expressing their feelings and opinions as they learn about themselves and explore the complex world we live in,” says Arabella Koopman, Content Development Specialist for Nal’ibali.
Not only does Nal’ibali value the power of reading for enjoyment, it understands the role of language and cultural relevance in children’s literacy development. Language is intrinsically linked to belonging and when children see themselves in stories, this too contributes to positive self-development.
To share these three stories with even larger audiences, community radio stations in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Gauteng – the provinces with the highest concentration of children – will be reading them live on air as part of their 67 minutes of community service. Newcastle Community Radio, Intokozo FM, Capricorn FM, Kingfisher FM, Bay FM and Jozi FM are some of the radio stations supporting this drive, and will be placing a strong emphasis on the spirit of ubuntu, the values in the stories and those that unite the people of South Africa.
As uTata Madiba once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” To this end, Nal’ibali is inviting all caregivers, older readers and active citizens to share one, two or all three of these stories with the children in their lives this July. Members of the public are encouraged to share photographs and tag Nal’ibali on Facebook and Twitter: @nalibaliSA.
Concludes Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director, “To celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday, we at Nal’ibali would like to remember the values uTata Madiba stood for and help ensure these values are passed on to our children. Children are the future. Let’s continue to spark their potential through the power of storytelling and reading.”