Storytelling to save the cranes

2013-09-11 00:00

USING the traditional African style of telling a story, with the powerful symbolism of animals and their habits, a new bird book has been created to educate young readers about the endangered cranes of South Africa.

Wisdom Tales — Crane Stories from Southern Africa, is a wonderful book that was launched recently in the Midlands. The book aims to educate and excite young readers about these graceful and mystical birds, which are struggling to survive as their territory is threatened.

The sales of the book will benefit the work of the KwaZulu-Natal Crane Foundation (KZNCF), which is trying hard to re-establish the birds in their natural habitat. The book is written in a fun and lively fashion, and uses the story of the crane to tell children about the values the bird embodies, such as faithfulness and courage. The book also features other wetland creatures that live symbiotically with the cranes, such as the chameleon, the Oribi and the black- backed jackal. Jenny Stipcich co-wrote the stories with her sister Viv Stacey and they collaborated with storyteller Gamalihle Sibanda, who added a cultural flavour.

Hilton artist David Weildon Oosthuizen’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed, and they add to the overall value of the book, which was funded by money from the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC). Books will be distributed to local schools and environmental organisations.

Copies of Wisdom Tales will also be available for R150 at Lazy Lizard Books in Howick and at Fordoun Hotel and Spa in Nottingham Road.

All proceeds from the first edition will benefit the KZN Crane Foundation, which collects funds for the preservation of the three SA crane species.

The foundation builds awareness of cranes and their dependence on grasslands and wetlands. It also rears and releases Wattled Crane chicks back into the wild.

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