The Nali’ibali campaign which aims to promote reading for enjoyment, is on a mission to collect 5 000 undocumented African stories from across the country while encouraging young people to make reading and writing a part of their daily lives.
Through the annual multilingual Story Bosso contest, the organisation hopes to help improve literacy and preserve the traditional South African stories.
The contest places a special focus on folktales and is aimed at inspiring audiences to remember and tell traditional stories.
On Thursday September 21, the organisation held the fourth leg of the contest at Guga S’thebe hall in Langa where 100 pupils from Makoni and Ummnangaliso primary schools gathered.
Stories from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng had been collected already.
Two local story-tellers, Thando Mkoyi, Nolubabalo Rani and “grandmaster” in storytelling, author and activist, Sindiwe Magona, shared their captivating stories.
The pupils were urged to read books and tell stories that they know.
The main prize for the contest is R5 000, airtime and vouchers, while runners-up would also receive prizes.
Eight provincial winners would receive prizes as well.
Ms Magona said stories were used to educate children and warn them that they should not engage in wrongdoings, while also advising them about societal values and behaviour.
She said stories tell people about what society wants and whatnot and that they play a vital role in enabling people to express themselves eloquently and building their confidence.
She highlighted that, in years gone by, stories had been used to educate and to create family bonds.
Ms Magona urged young people to demand stories from their grandmothers and parents because storytelling had been part of the African culture for years and many of these stories were not documented.
“Stories makes us human.
“If you don’t read, you will be poor in vocabulary. Reading helps to extend your knowledge and explores your imagination and helps you to be able to make informed decisions,” she said.
Communication officer at Nali’ ibali, Sally Mills, said in the African cultures stories were not documented but passed down from one generation to another by word of mouth and they want to revive this story-telling tradition.
She said their mission was to ensure that these stories were safeguarded and played a pivotal role in educating children.
She said if children grew up in households where reading was encouraged, and there was an abundance of books, it was likely they would appreciate the importance of books -and make reading a lifelong activity. “Children need to be taught the importance of reading from an early age.
“We want them to take storytelling and folktales seriously so that they can understand the value and meaning it provides to them and the community at large.
“We want to ensure that children enjoy telling stories,” she said.
Pupil from Ummangaliso Primary School, Yolisa Ndamane, said she had learnt a lot about the importance of reading books and telling stories.
She said she planned to share the information that she learnt there with friends and schoolmates.
Yolisa said she would definately enter the competition as she felt it was something important and close to her heart.