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It's story time — in Tshivenda!

17 March 2022 - 14:29
Tshivenda-speaking children and their families will be able to enjoy printed stories in their home language.
Tshivenda-speaking children and their families will be able to enjoy printed stories in their home language.
Image: Supplied

From March 28, Tshivenda-speaking children and their families will be able to enjoy printed stories in their home language for free from the Nal’ibali reading for enjoyment campaign.

Parents, reading club leaders and adults running literacy programmes are invited to sign up to receive free copies of the new Tshivenda edition of Nal’ibali’s story supplement. The supplement — affectionately known as “the Nal’ibali” by children and households across the country — is a multilingual newspaper booklet that contains three children’s stories, reading and writing activities, and tips and information for adults on how to read and enjoy stories with children. Published once a month, 10 times a year, 10,000 Tshivenda copies will now be printed per edition.

“Reading and being read to in your own language should not be considered an optional extra for children. It’s an essential and powerful part of learning to read. When you read regularly to children in their home languages you give them a strong foundation that makes not just reading but all learning easier,” explains Katie Huston, acting director of Nal’ibali. The reason for this is threefold: the foundations of language are laid and set early, before children reach Grade R; children who are regularly exposed to great and well-told stories in languages they understand are better prepared to learn to read and write when they reach school, and having a deep and extensive vocabulary in their mother tongue better enables children to learn a second language, like English, later on.

Says Ntshengedzeni Mudau of the Pan South African Language Board: “Language puts the world in focus, gives structure to our thoughts and helps us communicate with the people around us. It is a powerful tool which has been used to oppress, join people together and liberate them. By printing stories in Tshivenda, Nal’ibali is helping to set free the Tshivenda-speaking children, who will be able to read with understanding in their home language.”

Launched in 2012 by Nal’ibali’s literacy experts in a bid to overcome access as a key barrier to literacy development in SA, the story supplement was first published in four language combinations: English-isiXhosa, English-isiZulu, and English-Afrikaans. The campaign has since grown the number of official languages the story supplement is available in to 10 and aims to be publishing it in all 11 official South African languages in 2023.

Members of the public wishing to receive copies of the English-Tshivenda edition must register on the campaign’s website. The story supplements will be available for pick up by registered receivers at all post office branches in Limpopo. Further, every Limpopo post office will carry an additional 20 copies to give away to those not yet registered.

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages visit www.nalibali.org, or send the word “stories” to 060 044 2254. You can also find Nal’ibali on Facebook and Twitter.