Teach them young

2016-10-20 06:00
 From left, Bathembu Mowers, Lesego Nzwane, Tsepho February and Gibson Tshabalala, browse through some of the books donated by Robben Island and Centre for the Book.                                                      PHOTO: tarzan mbita

From left, Bathembu Mowers, Lesego Nzwane, Tsepho February and Gibson Tshabalala, browse through some of the books donated by Robben Island and Centre for the Book. PHOTO: tarzan mbita

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Isiba Loluntu is a Gugulethu based, non profit organisation whose main aim is to promote literacy in a society not well-grounded in books and reading for its young, and even adults.

Early this month, its founder, Sandile Banjwa, sent out a clarion call for support towards an ambitious project for books and stationery donation to help stimulate the interest of the young in reading.

Robben Island and Centre for the Book responded to the call in kind, donating dozens of books to the project.

This culminated in an event held at Ikhwezi Community Centre last Saturday.

The books will, in turn, be donated to creeches, schools, community organisations and local libraries, according to Banjwa.

Robben Island Museum’s Vuvu Mayongo said the former political prisoners’ institution was only eager to help in the project towards the eradication of illiteracy in society. She explained why it was important for them to donate the books:

“Robben Island Museum is a symbol of triumph over adversity.. this project embodies exactly that spirit,” Mayongo said.

She added that had the former inmates not resisted attempts to keep them ignorant and without knowledge over the years the weld held there, the country would not have been where it is today.

“They wouldn’t have acquired degrees to rule the country...they were armed with education,” she offered.

Mayongo said the history of the country was fundamental to the tuition of the kids on the island.

She said they have developmental programmes for kids from Grades R upwards, “so that they know where we come from...our history.

She said the books would be of great help for the kids as they not only contained word stories but also visual illustrations, and in the vernacular, so that they don’t just become recipients of the stories, but will be part of the narrative.

“The mother tongue is in great danger of losing its significance, that explains why the history books are written in the IsiXhosa language,” Mayongo concluded.

Zanele Nikani, from Centre for the Book said their main aim was to promote indigenous languages, and this could only be achieved if future writers were encouraged to do so(write in their own languages..

“By writing in their own languages. Many of our potential writers are sitting on mountains of beautiful stories at home, because they are not exposed to publishers or do not know how to get them published.”

Books by past popular IsiXhosa writers like the laureate AC Jordan of Ingqumbo Yeminyanya fame, including Witness K Tamsanqa’s Buzani Kubawo were donated by Centre for the Book.

Banjwa, who had earlier facilitated the teaching of computer coding for learners at Fezeka High School, said he was very pleased with the turn out and the support.

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