A light at the end of the tunnel

2012-03-07 00:00

HAND-WRINGING about how kids don’t read, won’t read — even can’t read — is not going to solve South Africa’s literacy problem. However, an organisation called FunDza has come up with a possible solution that is cool and interactive, and designed to appeal to local youngsters, particularly those who neither have access to books nor the money to buy them.

FunDza takes books, including Mbu Maloni’s Nobody Will Ever Kill Me (reviewed above) and makes them accessible on its Mobi site, where kids can download them on MXit. And if reading isn’t cool, MXit is.

FunDza has commissioned a series of teen novels, set in a fictional township school called Harmony High. They donate the books — 1700 copies to date of the first three in the series — to libraries at around 60 schools, with numbers growing all the time. Each book has been run on MXit, a chapter a day.

Currently, Nobody Will Ever Kill Me is appearing in that format, and the responses are very enthusiastic: “Cnt wait 4 the nxt part” is one, while another [translated from SMS language] is: “Oh Mbu, you are talking about me and to me.” Short stories are also published in the same way, and there is a platform for writing by the kids themselves.

I asked Ros Haden of FunDza, which is a non-profit organisation, relying on sponsorship to fund its activities, how she persuades the struggling publishing industry to allow their books to be used this way.

“They can see that this will reach teens who would never otherwise be able to get hold of books. The responses are so genuine, and the publishers can use them in their publicity campaigns. It is a way to encourage new readers,” she says.

UKZN Press has entered enthusiastically into the project, and has agreed that, rather than pay royalties to them, FunDza should make a contribution to Mbu Maloni’s education fund.

Studies have shown that teens who read for pleasure are more successful later on in life. And whether they are doing their reading via MXit or in more conventional ways, the important thing is the reading.

Inquiries: visit www.fundza. co.za/mobi and www.fundza.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.