#WorldReadAloudDay: I’m this year’s ambassador!

wrad 

1 Feb 2019 – World Read Aloud Day

The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book and the person reading.

There is huge potential in South Africa to turn our literacy crisis around so that reading becomes a powerful tool, to tackle inequality and poverty.  As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’  While education may be the most powerful weapon, reading aloud and storytelling are integral building blocks in learning.

This is why NGO, Nal’ibali, focusses on reading-for enjoyment. Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be the tipping point for education in South Africa.  Part of this ongoing drive to encourage South Africans to read is Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) initiative.

Call to action

As the biggest literacy drive in the country, WRAD seeks to draw attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue. Every year, thousands of South Africans join in the celebration. They are doing it for their children, their language and their futures. This year Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for WRAD 2019 with their children on the day, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others do the same and be part of the South Africa’s literacy solution.

World Read Aloud Day is being celebrated on Friday, 1 February 2019.

A new story is born

Jade Jacobsohn, Nali’bali’s Managing Director, says, ‘Every year we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official SA languages. Then we encourage adults and caregivers across the country, to join us in reading it aloud to children on WRAD. This year’s story, ‘Where Are You?’  is written by Ann Walton, a well known South African author and illustrator of children’s books.

‘The story can be downloaded from our website from Monday, 21 January. We’d like to encourage South Africans to register that they will be reading aloud and to share pictures of their reading sessions online.’

Why read aloud?

Most of the teaching that happens in a child’s early years is oral.  Being able to recognise and understand a wide pool of words, better equips them to learn and succeed in the classroom.

The reading of a story out loud not only shows children the value of books but starts discussions, builds bonds between the reader and the audience and motivates children to learn to read and enjoy books beyond their current reading ability,’ says Jacobson.

Remember to tell us you’re reading

‘Last year, with the help of our network partners and the public, we managed to read to over a million children,’ says Jacobsohn. ‘In 2019, our aim is to beat that record and reach 1.5 million!’ In order to monitor the success of WRAD, Nal’ibali asks that all participants log their reading activities on its website: https://nalibali.org/WRAD-2019 

So what’s happening on WRAD?

Apart from promoting the ‘Where Are You?’ story on digital and social media platforms, Nal’ibali’s network of partners, schools project – Story Powered Schools, Literacy Mentors and FUNda Leader volunteers will be reading the story aloud at reading clubs and community centres across the country.  With the support of the Department of Basic of Education, thousands of school children and educators will be joining the celebration too.

A special event will be held on the morning of the 1st February 2019, at the inspirational Sandton Library, with 200 children from Soweto and Alexandra. The event will be attended by this year’s campaign ambassador, children’s author and social activist, Lebohang Masango and is supported by the Department of Education and its Read to Lead campaign.

Masango will give a special multilingual reading of ‘Where Are You?’ and engage the attending children and adults about the importance of reading aloud. She says, ‘Reading to your children is important because the benefits will follow them for their entire life. Not only is it great for bonding but you are also expanding their vocabulary, their knowledge, their imaginations, their ability to focus and confidently articulate their ideas out loud. Reading is truly the gift that keeps on giving!’

Copies of her own book, ‘Mpumi’s Magic Beads’, will be given to each child to further encourage them to keep reading.

Community walk

During the week of 21 January, a Nal’ibali mascot and volunteers with take to the streets within various communities to promote WRAD while handing out story cards.

If you would like to join the Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day:

  1. Visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi to download the official story in any of the languages.
  2. Pledge the number of children you will be reading to.
  3. Share pictures of read-aloud sessions on the Nal’ibali’s Facebook and Twitter platforms: @NalibaliSA, or use the hashtag #WRADChallenge2019 on the day.

 

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children’s stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA.

New Book Alert: The Great Cake Contest

great cake contest

The Great Cake Contest is a sweet little story about a little boy who loves cake and tries to bake the best cake for the contest, but he and all his friends have the same ideas! You can read more about it and download it for free: here.

Last year on 27 October 2018, I had the honour of being invited by Book Dash to contribute to the amazing work that they do for children’s literacy by volunteering my time to create a brand new storybook. It’s one of the coolest things I have ever done!

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Book Dash organised us into 9 teams, each with a writer (me), illustrator (Nompumelelo Mduli), designer (Amanda van der Walt) and an editor (Anna Stroud). We spent a good 12 hours creating this lovely piece of work. It was so much fun. I really admire the efficiency of the organisers – they knew exactly how long each page and illustration should take in order for us to all be on time.

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Photographed by Aisha O’Reilly

I got to meet new people who are all passionate about children’s literacy, like Aisha and we had a conversation about the importance of books and representation for little readers.

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I’m grateful that I continue to be able to live a life in which I use my mind, body and spirit in collaboration with others and contribute good things to the world. I hope you enjoy our story! And just like that, I am the author of two children’s books! My first one is this piece of my heart: Mpumi’s Magic Beads.

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Thank you, Book Dash for inviting me to be part of your brilliant work!

#ComeSeeMe: Abantu Book Festival

ABF

I am looking forward to seeing you at Abantu Book Festival in Soweto. Here are my sessions:

  • Friday, 7 December, 11.30 – 12.30 – Mpumi’s Magic Beads reading in the Kid’s Zone
  • Saturday, 8 December, 11.30 – 12.30 – Mpumi’s Magic Beads reading in the Kid’s Zone
  • Saturday, 8 December, 16.00 – 17.00 – Interview with Dr Uhuru Phalafala on Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile at Eyethu Lifestyle Centre

Check out the programme to see the sessions with your favourite authors.

UNICEF South Africa appointment

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It is my immense honour and privilege to accept the appointment as UNICEF South Africa’s Volunteers Advocate. This means that I’ll be working with the organisation to establish some volunteer programmes in service of the children in our communities; to come together and do what we can to make their childhoods safer, healthier and more joyful. I’m really excited to make my contribution to this amazing cause. You can read more about it here.

#ComeSeeMe: Book Circle Capital

November is my birthday month! So, you’re welcome to gift me with your presence at Book Circle Capital in Melville, Johannesburg on Saturday, 24 November 2018. We will even be doing arts and crafts at the end of the session, which is fun for everyone!

Zanele Mbeki Fellowship

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From the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship website

This year, I began a journey into a feminist leadership experience with the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship. First Lady Zanele Mbeki has established the collective as a way of contributing to the continuation of feminist leadership in South Africa – an undertaking that I respect deeply.  Anyone who knows me, knows that all of my academic work means that I end up thinking and working alone for long stretches unless absolutely necessary, so I accepted the invitation to apply as an opportunity for a change; a challenge to become part of a collective and to think and work along with people who have a similar outlook on the gendered personal and political life of South Africa. Our first module in July was focused on the self and gave us room to prepare for the journey ahead as sisters on a mission of collective feminist self-realisation. Our second module in October focused on feminism. We have been privileged enough to learn from Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Bunie Sexwale, Professor Patricia McFadden, Lebohang Pheko and many more valuable educators. So, far it is an enjoyable journey that has also been deeply challenging to my usual way of being in the world. I am grateful for the opportunity and excited for the many lessons that this journey promises.

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Thank you to the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship for selecting me!

#ComeSeeMe: South African Book Fair 2018

Book fair

Happy National Book Week everybody! The South African Book Fair will be held on 7 – 9 September 2018 in Newtown. I will be facilitating and participating in some sessions. I look forward to seeing you!

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Magic of Storytelling

A reading of Mpumi’s Magic Beads

Venue: Market Theatre Precinct, Auditorium

Time: 08:45 – 09:30

Free for children in the school’s programme.

 

Kids Write All the Time

Facilitating a panel of child authors featuring Michelle Nkamankeng, Lelo Mofokeng, Amr Sallie and Karabo Nkoli.

Venue: Market Theatre Precinct, Auditorium

Time: 11:15 – 12:00

Free for children in the school’s programme.

 

Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Café – Session Two

Poetry featuring Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, Xabiso Vili, Roché Kester and Katleho Kano
Shoro

Venue: Ramolao Makhene Theatre

Time : 16:00-16:45

Price: R40. Buy tickets: here.

 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

She Speaks

Panelist in conversation with Elinor Sisulu, Dr Sindiwe Magona and Lauri Kubuitsile

Venue: Sarafina

Time : 10:00 – 11:00

Price: R40. Buy tickets: here.