Reading club to boost art of storytelling

2017-07-27 06:01
=Literacy mentor Madoda Ndlakuse.                     Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

=Literacy mentor Madoda Ndlakuse. Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

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A good story always works. It has the alchemy to transform a situation, it will be remembered and it will be retold.

This is particularly regarding oral narratives, where a good storyteller engages listeners, has authenticity, a social presence and the story does not conflict with truth.

In Uitenhage there is a profound storyteller and poet, Madoda Ndlakuse, who has a passion for words, whether the narrative or written.

He started the Ilunda Reading Club with the aim to revitalise the culture of reading and to encourage storytelling in Nelson Mandela Bay.

“Uitenhage is a small town known for producing cars and politicians. I want to come in between and produce literature lovers. People who are into poetry and storytelling,” said Ndlakuse, a literacy mentor for Nalibali, an award winning campaign which values the power of language and cultural relevance in literacy development in South Africa.

“Through storytelling you aim at the heart. But to get there your words have to meet the ears, you have to engage and then capture the mind of your listeners.”

For storytellers to capture minds, Ndlakuse said, “you have to open your own heart which means you have to show and share true emotion.”

At the reading club Ndlakuse encourages the children to partake in debating, poetry, read aloud, silent reading, paired reading, review books, do writing activities and then the art of storytelling and story chains.

Ndlakuse became involved in storytelling whilst a student at NMMU Missionvale Campus and his involvement in the Spoken Word Art Movement.

“I do not need fire like in the traditional days to tell a story, I can tell stories in a kitchen or in a conference. And I am also a bit of a comedian,” said Ndlakuse.

Ndlakuse said literacy is alive in Uitenhage therefore he has started Ilunde Reading Club, which invites children aged 8 to 16 years to gather on Tuesdays from 14:00 to 16:00 at the Uitenhage Library’s children section.

“I am very grateful towards Nompumelelo Ngcoko from the Uitenhage Library for assisting me in my striving to encourage literacy in town. This library is like a hub of knowledge and I am proud of the reading activism taking place.”

Ndlakuse was invited to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival where he performed in storytelling. There he enjoyed the honour of meeting Gcina Mhlope, one of South Africa’s foremost and award-winning storytellers.

The public are most welcome to support Ilunda Reading Club through the donation of children’s books and stationery.

  • For more information contact Madoda Ndlakuse on 083 926 5486 or email:

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