Khayelitsha reading champion lands top post at national literacy association

Thanduxolo Mkhoyi

His endless devotion to rekindling the love of reading and writing has earned Thanduxolo Mkhoyi from Khayelitsha the post of provincial chairperson of the Literacy Association of South Africa (LITASA).

The 29-year-old is the youngest person to occupy the position.

Litasa is the umbrella body for other literacy organisations.

He will be at the helm of Litasa for the next two years where he will be tasked with driving change.

Mr Mkhoyi is no stranger to literature development as he had previously worked as a facilitator at Nali Bali for many years and he has also published his own work.

After leaving Nali Bali, he started his own organisation called Eyentsantshana which provides a platform for children to develop their love of literature.

Describing how he feels about the appointment, he said it was an honour to be a part of the highest decision making platform related to literacy development and advocacy.

He said he had volunteered at the association, which had opened so many doors for him, even though many people have negative perceptions about working for free.

However, he said, through volunteerism you are afforded an opportunity to network and build a profile.

Mr Mkhoyi said the country was facing a crisis because as many as 70% of children cannot read with understanding – even in their mother tongue.

And, only 5% of children have parents who read aloud to them.

He also told Vukani that a child who is born in a poorer family is only exposed to 11 million words or less in their early years while children who are born in a professional family who is exposed to 43 millions words and more.

“The reason those children who come from professional families are exposed to more words is because they are told stories and read to and there were early literacy activities. There is also a played-based approach which stimulates their love of reading.

“We want these families that do not have much to access such things through various organisations which are in the literacy space.

“The association has brought all these organisations together so that they can expand their reach and celebrate young people who are in the space of literacy,” he said.

Mr Mkhoyi is a literacy and language trainer by profession and he has an international diploma in storytelling.