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Literacy Blog

How family storytelling helps us grow

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Award-winning South African author Maxine Case reflects on the role of intergenerational storytelling in preserving family history and supporting children’s literacy development: During the school holidays, my sisters and I would join our cousins at our grandmother’s house. With 10 children underfoot, Ma had little time to devote to any of us, but she was fond of me. Like her, I was a bookworm. Ma knew...
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Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi is igniting the minds of teenagers and contributing to the advancement of South African indigenous languages through his translation of scientific books. In this process he has invented almost 500 new isiZulu words. Mbuyazi spoke to us about the importance of nurturing mother-tongue languages in the educational and academic world:   Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom we, the humans, are the only...
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Choosing books for children

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Verushka Louw, a children’s bookseller who works at an independent bookshop in Cape Town (The Book Lounge), tells us how important it is to choose the right book at the right time for children: I was a library child. We moved around a lot when I was younger and I did not have many of my own books, so in each new town I soon...
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Jonathan Jansen, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, speaks to us about what PRAESA's Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award means for the literacy landscape of South Africa: Growing up amidst the poverty and hardship of the Cape Flats, I remember one thing from my childhood—it was how the presence of books would come to change my life forever. My mother was a nurse...
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The art of the spoken word

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Sally Mills, Networks and Communications Co-ordinator at Nal’ibali, explores how the work of literacy activist Mpho Khosi inspires literacy: The streets are alive and so are the minds of the young people who walk them. Brisk with triumph, pounding with frustration, clumsy with desperation or tripping with excitement, the streets feel the beat and the urgency of the youth and give rise to a voice...
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Mandla Langa is a South African poet, short-story writer and novelist. He is also the Executive Vice-President of PEN South Africa, an endorser of the Nal’ibali children’s literacy rights poster. Mandla spoke to us about the importance of literacy in allowing children to fulfill their potential: The need to entrench the culture of reading among children was impressed on me recently. During the Easter weekend...
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Imagining a literate South Africa

Posted on
April, 24th 2015
Koketso Ratsatsi is a collaborator in the Mohlakeng Youth Movement – a team of young people working in the Mohlakeng township south of Randfontein to grow a culture of reading in the community. Here's her wise take on how we should all take ownership of literacy development: Knowledge is powerful and, transmitted through reading, it is one thing that no one can ever take away...
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The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the richest award in children's literature, and one of the richest literary prizes in the world. The award recognises "authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and promoters of reading" whose "work is of the highest quality." The objective of the award is to increase interest in children’s and young people's literature, and to promote children's rights to culture on a global scale. Nal'ibali is proud...
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What we become depends on what we read

Posted on
March, 16th 2015
Righardt le Roux is the Nal’ibali School and Public Library Co-ordinator. Best known for his entrepreneurial and innovative skills of “taking libraries to the people”, he has won a multitude of awards for his community work. He talks to us about South African Library Week and how we become maps of what we read: The theme for this year’s South African Library Week (14-21 March), Connect...
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Tessa Dowling, Senior Lecturer in African Languages in the School of Languages and Literature at the University of Cape Town, talks about the role of brands and language in the South African context: If you were an African-language speaking child growing up in South Africa, the first written words you’d see wouldn’t be ones from your own tongue. Nearly all the words on packets, street signs, billboards...
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