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Reading passion sparked

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Nthabiseng Kgakatsi
Nthabiseng Kgakatsi

The South African reading-for-enjoyment campaign Nali’ibali has taken another step to promote and encourage a reading culture, by bolstering the literacy mentorship programme.

This initiative complements existing programmes – all aimed at addressing the country’s high illiteracy, found to be 78% among Gr. 4 learners.

Nal’ibali has been working since 2012 to produce locally relevant and culturally contextualised stories in all South African languages.

A lack of access to leisure reading material and books in different African languages has been found to be one of the leading contributors to South Africa’s illiteracy.

Two reading activists from Dealesville in the Free State who spearhead a reading programme in the Tshwa­raganang township, Vuyisile Nombila (28) and Nthabiseng Kgakatsi (30), have been employed as Story Sparkers.

Both ensure that the mission of the Nal’ibali campaign is effectively implemented through their mentorship and reading abilities.

They ensure that books and stories are brought to life for children in languages they understand.

Their day-to-day activities include the running of literacy-related events and activations, the delivery of books and other reading materials, creating awareness of the importance of reading and sharing stories, and inspiring communities to get involved.

With most of his peers hindered by socio-economic constraints, Nombila considers himself fortunate to have been able to achieve a higher education.

His dream is for the youth in his community to be afforded opportunities to advance in life through education.

“The social ills that affect young people in my community are linked to limited resources and lack of access to education. I decided to become active, and I joined Nal’ibali, seeking to change the status quo,” said Nombila.

According to Kgakatsi, a passion for working with children and reading influenced her decision to become a Story Sparker for Nal’ibali.

“I am an avid supporter of any initiative that is designed to develop children’s life skills, hence I joined Nal’ibali.”

  • The public can support the project either by donating on nalibali.org or by signing up to become a FUNda Leader.

This is Nal’ibali’s network of volunteers of literacy activists. It is free and anyone can join.

Members will receive training on reading and sharing stories with children at home, at school or in the community and will be connected to loads of stories in different South African languages.

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