Moses Mabhida library in Site C, Khayelitsha, teamed up with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) to host a workshop to inspire authors to write in their mother tongue.
The event, on Tuesday April 25, was in celebration of World Book Day, which is usually celebrated on April 23 and more than 50 writers from Khayelitsha took part.
The NLSA’s Children Literature Programme manager, Phakama Matoti, said children should be encouraged to read for pleasure.
“By doing so, they will develop their love for reading and their vocabulary,” she said.
She said the library had started and provided material for book clubs at schools, churches.
“The schools are also encouraged to open corner libraries but we want writers who write for children to know their focus and their target,” she said.
Nomonde Ngqoba, also from the library, lamented the lack of IsiXhosa books.
“You will hear that Africans do not read. That’s not right. They do read but they read stories that do not relate to them. There are stories that you can develop, like writing about birds, witchcraft, fairy tales and many other topics. We need such stories in IsiXhosa,” she said.
Senior librarian, Mbulelo Zumana, encouraged authors to write for pleasure and not to rush their work but listen to their “spirit”.
He said books by “old writers” like SEK Mqhayi, Dr Rubusana, AC Jordan, were still being read and enjoyed.
“We want books off the shelves because they are interesting to read. We decided to invite young and emerging writers to celebrate with them, the old writers. Those writers valued their work and their readers.
“They opened up the world of reading to us as young people at the time. You feel their writing was from deep down.
“They had issues that made them think deep. The current writers can do the same too. They just need to take time, listen to their spirits and give us good stories. As young people then, they helped improve our literacy skills and helped us to build a successful future,” said Mr Zumana.