Top storyteller

Mbalentle Mangete (9) and her teacher Linda Matiwane after crowned Western Cape Story Bosso champ at Intshinga Primary School.

Nine-year-old Mbalentle Mangete, a Grade 3 pupil at Intshinga Primary School in Gugulethu, has been crowned the Western Cape’s best storyteller.

She entered her story, “My hero, Desmond Mpilo Tutu”, at a special storytelling event Story Bosso by Nalibali held at the school. The theme was “South African Heroes”.

Story Bosso is a multilingual storytelling contest designed to provide aspiring storytellers with an opportunity to showcase their talent and to promote storytelling in all official South African languages. An initiative of South Africa’s national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali, it receives thousands of entries each year.

Mbalentle said she developed an interest in reading and writing at an early age and that her teacher, Linda Matiwane, has been an inspiration to her.

The reading whizkid said it was through hard work and the desire to do well, that won her the prize. “I like maths and isiXhosa at school. After school when I get home I always find time to read. This has given me an opportunity to read more and more,” she said.

Thanking everyone, including her classmates, teacher and parents, for their endless support, she said in future she wanted to be a teacher. “I want to teach and help others. Teaching empowers young people. I always look up to my teacher who is an inspiration,” she said.

Ms Matiwane spoke highly of her pupil, saying she was always willing to come forward and help read the books in class – and, she said, she was not surprised when Mbalentle won the competition.

“She is a shy person but when it comes to her school work, she is always on point. In class she is not shy to come up with topics and suggest to read a book for her peers. She is a very brilliant kid, can be inquisitive,” she said.

Nal’ibali managing director Jade Jacobsohn said storytelling was an important part of South African heritage and played a key role in children’s literacy development by encouraging the use of imagination, curiosity, and empathy.

“Stories need to be valued for the critical contribution they play in the development of young minds. They help build neural circuits in our brains, particularly in young brains, that ultimately enable sophisticated thinking and reasoning,” said Ms Jacobsohn. She said heroes guide people about how to live our lives.

To listen to the winning stories, or to find out more about Story Bosso and the Nal’ibali campaign, visit the Nal’ibali website on