Campaign promotes importance of reading

A group of Western Cape literacy activists share ideas of how to encourage young people to be book lovers.

When children grow up in households where reading is encouraged and there is an abundance of books, it is more likely that they will appreciate the importance of literacy and make reading a lifelong activity.

This emerged when Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, held its first FUNda Leader Imbizo at Look Out Hill, in Khayelitsha, on Saturday March 25.

FUNda Leader movement is a network of literacy activists across the country who donate their time to promote literacy in their communities.

And as part of the event, three local FUNda leaders, who come from different communities in the province, where profiled.

The event was aimed at showing support for provincial activists while urging the community to inculcate a culture of reading among young people.

The movement provides an intensive one-day training to people who want to be FUNda Leaders and to start reading clubs.

Thando Mkoyi, a literacy mentor at Nal’ibali, said the aim was to encourage people to initiate reading clubs and provide safe spaces for children while improving their vocabulary.

He said they wanted to change the negative perception that black people were reluctant to read books.

He said reading played a vital role in improving children’s academic performance, and it enabled them to make informed life decisions.

Mr Mkoyi said they hoped to connect literacy activists from different communities and to create an inclusive community.

He added that they also provide additional resources to sustain the reading clubs and to ensure that they did not close down.

Without books, he said, literature was “crippled”.

“Reading plays a major role in enhancing thinking and judgement skills. It also provides additional learning to children and to older people and it broadens the little knowledge people have,” he said.

One of the profiled leaders, Mzwandile Lugogo, said the love of reading was instilled in him by his grandmother.

He believed that reading had the power of bringing positive change to the community.

Mr Lugogo said in the past children used to gather around the brazier and listen to their grandparents telling stories. He said that ignited his imagination and sparked his passion for reading.

Mr Lugogo now runs a thriving a reading club with 25 children. The club gathers three times a week for children read and talk about books. They also engage in other literacy activities.

“I want to change and challenge the mindset of people who believe that reading enjoyment is not for them. And I want to share the love of reading with children in Khayelitsha,” he said.

Well-known author Sindiwe Magona appealed to parents to encourage their children to read books and to not only buy toys for them. She said reading should start at home, not at school.