Storyteller Mhlophe launches braille edition of her book

2013-10-30 00:00

INTERNATIONALLY respected Durban storyteller Gcina Mhlophe’s love of story­telling will now also be felt and experienced by those with impaired sight.

This is after the 55-year-old poet launched the Braille edition of her book Stories of Africa in Durban last week.

Affectionately known as Gcinamasiko (she who preserves our heritage), Mhlophe said this was a precursor to a series of the same format. “While I can’t say how many Braille editions are on the way, I’m hoping to release similar versions bit by bit.

“It is very important for us not to forget about those children who are blind,” she said. Mhlophe said the edition was a platform for the blind to immerse themselves in literature and African tales.

She said in today’s world, literacy and reading was the key that opened doors to the global village.

“But sophisticated computers and all sorts of modern forms of media are useless to a country that does not invest in the literacy of its people.”

She said her project Nozincwadi: Mother of Books visited at least 10 rural towns per province to perform in schools, share information and promote the importance of literacy. “It is our responsibility as parents to inculcate the culture of reading in our children.

“If we don’t read ourselves, children won’t see the value of that,” she said.

She said the book that had impacted greatly on her life was the Xhosa novel Ingqumbo Yeminyanya (The wrath of the Ancestors) authored by A.C. Jordan. “I was still in high school. It encouraged me to think and dream big. It’s still one of the classics in African literature.”

In 2012, she was awarded her fifth honorary doctorate, in literature and African heritage, by the University of Johannesburg.

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