National storytelling competition to inspire a new generation of heroes

02 September 2018 - 14:25
Image: Daniel Born

This September, while South Africa celebrates literacy and its cultural heritage, an annual multilingual storytelling contest is once again helping the country nurture a new generation of courageous and literate children.

National reading-for-enjoyment campaign Nal’ibali – in collaboration with the South African office of the United Nations – will launch the month-long Story Bosso contest on August 31, with the theme "South African Heroes".

"By remembering and telling the stories of our heroes, we hope to inspire greatness in our children. Heroes educate us about what is right and wrong; they give us hope and motivate us to overcome life’s challenges," says Nal’ibali MD Jade Jacobsohn.

"When children hear stories about heroes they can identify with, they can internalise these values and are more likely to act on them, making heroic and moral behaviour part of their everyday lives."

Storytelling passes on values and is an important part of children’s literacy development, while encouraging the development of imagination, curiosity and empathy. This year, the campaign has created a hero-inspired storytelling board game to help entrants build and practise their storytelling skills.

The board game will be freely available for download on Nal’ibali’s website.

The campaign will also engage at least 10,000 adults and children through a series of community and regional events held by its literacy mentors, schools network Story Powered Schools, and volunteers across the country.

Those who attend the events will have the opportunity to play the board game in their home language before entering a story in one of this year’s four categories: Hero of the Past, Living Legend, Personal Hero, and Fictional Hero.

Many of the values associated with South African heroes align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity and dignity for all.

Says Masimba Tafirenyika, director of the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria: "We hope that all who participate in this year’s contest will see that the SDGs are really human rights, and that those who stand up for them are heroes."

This year’s contest winner - the Story Bosso – will be awarded R5,000 and a book hamper. A further eight provincial prizes will be awarded and each of these winners will receive R1,000 and airtime. Stories must be entered by September 30 and winners will be announced in October.

To download the board game or submit a story digitally, visit the Nal’ibali website

X