MultiChoice Presents: Africa’s Most Loved Storyteller Issue featuring…me! I recently collaborated with media giant MultiChoice in writing a poem that represents the importance of the storytelling tradition on the African continent which also extends to who they are as a company that has been giving opportunities to Africans of all ages to tell their stories for the past 25 years. You can read about my insights and my work in the cover story which was so beautifully written by Gomolemo Lesejane in the latest edition of The Throne as well as more stunning photographs. My gratitude goes to Caron Williams, publisher of the Throne; photographer, Austin Malema; make-up artist, Nureen; hair stylist, Smangele from Indalo Nubian Naturals and Sibu Mabena from Duma Collective for bringing it all together. It was amazing to be on sent with this remarkable group of people who are all so supremely gifted in what they do.
There aren’t enough words to capture how incredible Austin Malema’s photography is.
You can watch my poem, Ten Thousand Stories below and read the words inside The Throne.
Currently available in English, isiZulu, Setswana, Sesotho, isiNdebele and Xitsonga. More translations coming soon!
There’s magic in the air
as Mpumi and Jabu play.
They sign and laugh,
as they become friends.
“Oh what fun!” they say.
The sequel to Mpumi’s Magic Beadsis here! The story follows the the adventure that unfolds when Mpumi, a hearing girl, and Jabu, a Deaf boy, meet for the first time. They learn that even though we are all different, we are also the same in many ways. We love playing and reading, we love smiling and helping our family and friends. Everything about us makes us special. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Hi Hopes, an early intervention partner for families of deaf and hard-of-hearing babies. About the co-author
Claudine Storbeck has a PhD in Education Linguistics and has been working in the field of Deaf Education and Deaf Studies for over 27 years. She is a fluent signer and was honoured to be the South African Sign Language (SASL) interpreter for the inaugurations of both Presidents Mandela and Mbeki. Claudine has over 150 academic presentations and publications in almost 20 countries and has recently starting publishing children’s literature. She was named a world specialist in Deaf Education by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and is the Director and Associate Professor of the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.
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. Continue reading “#WorldReadAloudDay: I’m this year’s ambassador!”
I spent this past Saturday morning at the Johannesburg Family Gathering, a monthly event organised by Ashley Whitfield at the Museum Africa that centres on children and families. (The details are on the poster and I encourage everyone to get their babies involved in cultural activities outside of school.) This time, we got together for story time with Mpumi’s Magic Beads.
One of the best parts about what I do is engaging with little readers and their parents. I am so grateful each time a child let’s me know that they have hair like Mpumi or when parents share what this story means for their families. I’ve had a mom tell me that the book is her son’s favourite nightly read and that something about the rhyming in the book and reading it aloud together has also helped with his speech issues. I’ve had a kiddies hair salon owner reach out because there’s a little girl who came in with my book and requested the style on the cover. I’ve had mom’s send me videos of their children reading. Each time this happens, my heart absolutely beams to know that this book is doing what I hoped it would do in the world. Little children love this story just as I loved so many stories when I was a child. Beyond that, little children feel at home in this story, and isn’t that just the best thing?
I’m always in awe when I see children who are super confident with asserting themselves with adults and peers, alike. I always make a mental note that I would love to be the kind of parent who nurtures that in a child. I think it’s quite a remarkable thing to see a child who owns their space and articulates themselves boldly. The portrait above was drawn by one such a special little girl. While I was “performing” the story, she was reading along loudly with me and afterwards everyone drew some self portraits and she came over to give me hers. I was so touched by her gift, I’m going to be framing it soon.
The part that will always stay with me is how her mother shared with me that ever since she got the book, she draws herself with this hairstyle. We also spoke about how she will be challenging the school’s hair policy using the book as an illustration of the kind of cultural awareness that the school should be seeking to foster in how they move forward in creating an inclusive environment for all their learners. Considering that this book is partly inspired by my own academic work in the sleight of hand employed by schools: using neutral language in hair codes of conduct yet clearly being discriminatory in implementation – I am really all for parents furthering that conversation, especially at a young age so less children have to suffer the trauma of being vilified by the school system for the way they look.
So, the portrait here, by a very special girl is a reminder of all the people who continue to give this dream wings. I have always wanted to do my part to make it just a little better for children in this world and I’m so grateful that this work, by Masego and I, is adding a little sprinkle of magic, confidence and self-love in your lives. You keep my heart full.
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Thank you to all the parents and guardians who reach out in person and online to share with me how the story continues to move in your lives, beyond the book.
It is SA Library Week (19 – 23 March 2018) and I have been doing my part by reading Mpumi’s Magic Beads to primary school learners. As you know, my book is about some girls who are also school pupils and I hope that my audiences this week will be able to relate to that special detail.
I started the morning at Kgololo Academy in Alexandra where I read for two Grade 2 groups. What a special little school. Some of the kids were really into the story so, they would mimic my gestures (which I loved because they’re all so adorable!) so I incorporated it into how I tell the story from now on. Thank you, learners!
As part of the ‘Help 2 Read’ organisation’s reading tour, I visited Iphuteng Primary School in Alexandra. I had so much fun with this vibrant group of learners. My bit of improvisation from earlier worked really well because I don’t believe in making children sit dead still while listening to a story. Let them wiggle and giggle and listen with their bodies too. It makes learning memorable, I think. I certainly believe that this was memorable. They had a lot of energy and I had the best time with them.
Next stop. Diepsloot Primary School!
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Thank you, Kgololo Academy, Help 2 Read, Iphuteng Primary School.
The Reading Club meets regularly on Saturday mornings at African Flavour Books in Braamfontein. The sessions are interactive and the children are encouraged to engage their imaginations (and confidence) to also stand at the front and make up stories for their peers. I think this is a great way to spend the morning with your little ones.
Thank you to Lorraine Sithole of The Reading Club for hosting Mpumi’s Magic Beads. Thank you to all the grown ups and little ones in attendance. This dream gets to have wings because of you and I appreciate you all for being there yesterday.