Club promotes the joy of reading

CHILDREN reading inside the Balang Book Club Academy mobile library.  Photo: Boipelo Mere
CHILDREN reading inside the Balang Book Club Academy mobile library. Photo: Boipelo Mere

A LACK of encouragement from parents to their children to concentrate on their home language was put in the spotlight by members of the Balang Book Club Academy during the rollout of their one-week “Read­utainment” programme throughout the Francis Baard District.

This was after the realisation that many children from different areas in the district seemed to have been struggling to read in their home languages, those being Tswana and Xhosa.

The concern was raised by Kabelo Mora­twe, the secretary of the club, when he explained how the children preferred to choose English books instead of books in their home language.

“Our concern is that not only do the teachers seem to neglect the home languages, but that even at home, the parents do not speak to their children in their home languages. If they encourage them to study, they only mean studying English and other subjects, never their home language,” said Moratwe.

Members of the club have been driving the colourful library buses seen throughout various townships. They are on a mission to fight the rising levels of illiteracy in the townships.

The club was started in 2012 in Galeshewe by a group of youths.

They have three portfolios:

  • Sport, arts and culture;
  • Environment; and
  • Reading and writing.

The Balang Book Club Academy had approached the Department of Education with a proposal to have “Readutainment” as a school holiday programme, through which they encourage the youth to read and to involve them in entertainment programmes such as sport (chess and morabaraba), storytelling, open-mic poetry sessions and current affairs discussions on topics appropriate to their age.

The schedules of the group have been divided into two groups that have been held simultaneously at two different places.

They start in the morning until 12:00 in one area and then move to the other side from 14:00 to 16:00.

The programme for this week started on Monday, 4 July, at the Pick n Pay Circle, Stock ’n Stock and Percival Jas Park. In the afternoon, they went to the Phutanang Stop Sign and the Frank Roro Cricket Grounds.

On Tuesday, they started at Colville Park and the Isibindi in Lerato Park before proceeding to the Multipurpose Centre in Roodepan and the Santa Soup Kitchen.

On Wednesday, they had the programme at the Warrenvale and Tlhalogang Primary Schools in Warrenton.

On Thursday, they were at Hulana Park and the Isibindi Centre in Soul City before proceeding to Club 2000 Park and Ekhaya in Greater No. 2.

On Friday, it was held at the Greenpoint Park near the constituency office and at the Donkerhoek Isibindi.

The programme has proved to be a success, as the team continues to get requests from other communities to bring it to their areas. The Northern Cape Department of Education contributed the mobile library.

The organisation has ten members and it can be found on the Balang Book Club Academy Facebook page.

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