Clowning around to encourage reading

Nal'ibali has teamed up with Clowns Without Borders SA (CWBSA) to produce a series of literacy-focused shows

26 August 2019 - 14:01
Pupils from Empumalanga Primary School in Gauteng play tag-along as they head towards the Nal'ibali and Clowns Without Borders SA show about joining the library.
Pupils from Empumalanga Primary School in Gauteng play tag-along as they head towards the Nal'ibali and Clowns Without Borders SA show about joining the library.
Image: Daniel Born

Libraries across South Africa will be the scenes of a new community activation in 2019. Nal’ibali, the reading for enjoyment campaign, has teamed up with Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSA) to produce a series of literacy-focused shows.

These free performances will tour four provinces to encourage people to see their local libraries as safe, exciting community spaces for people of all ages.

The free 40-minute comedy shows are designed to encourage families to explore their local libraries, instil good book-borrowing behaviour and encourage people to sign up for library cards.

In addition to the performances, Nal’ibali will be offering free training and resources to library staff interested in running community reading clubs.

The performances will take place throughout the year, touring libraries in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng for one week at a time. Shows are designed to tie in to reading-related national events as detailed below:

Clowns Sibusiso Dlamini and Gavin Stockden show good library practises during the Nal'ibali and Clowns Without Borders SA library show.
Clowns Sibusiso Dlamini and Gavin Stockden show good library practises during the Nal'ibali and Clowns Without Borders SA library show.
Image: Daniel Born

“At Nal’ibali, we want people to discover storytelling in exciting, meaningful ways, so collaborating with Clowns Without Borders made perfect sense,” says Nal’ibali managing director Jade Jacobsohn.

Research consistently suggests that children who read for pleasure outside of school do better academically.

“However, books are an expensive and scarce resource in South Africa, placing libraries at the centre of a potential reading revolution in this country,” Jacobsohn adds.

“Children need safe, welcoming spaces where they can make choices about the kinds of stories they want to explore, and we are committed to helping them access that.”

Clowns Without Borders SA uses creative interventions to reach children and caregivers, in a bid to reduce violent behaviour, while raise awareness around developmental issues and spread joy. They have reached nearly half a million children to date.

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