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30 000 Children Reached Through Literacy Campaign with Nal’iBali

by Suzan Eriksson |  Mar 12, 2019

30 000 children have been reached in schools and libraries around KwaZulu-Natal Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa. The 3 artist team of Gavin Stockden, Sussie Mjawaru and Mr Fish have been causing a sensation with the energetic Nal’ibali teams throughout the reading for enjoyment campaign. Clowns Without Borders South Africa has teamed up with Nal’ibali  to create a show with a literacy focus, as well as the usual fun and laughter. This performance will tour 4 provinces in total to raise awareness about the importance of reading for South African children, as well encouraging families to see their local libraries as safe, exciting community spaces for people of all ages. The impact has been very positive with specially developed characters, breaking of stereotypes and even a new catchy tune.

Director Jayne Batzofin shares her thoughts regarding the task she was given in February 2019:

“Literacy is a very pressing issue in South Africa especially considering the devastatingly poor South African Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) literacy assessment results published in 2016. Progress in PIRLS is an international comparative assessment that measures student learning in reading. So it was a wonderful to be approached as a theatre director to create a new show for CWBSA and Nal’ibali that addressed this very same concern. Theatre and reading work in very similar ways for children, both may offer the ability to escape from reality and/or become more informed about a topic; while allowing the space for the child’s imagination to flourish while creating a platform from which they may express themselves.

I usually create non-verbal performances for CWBSA, however for this tour I wanted to rely more on language due to the fact that we were trying to encourage and promote literacy. I wanted children to fall in love with the power of words and inspire them with a passion for storytelling. I worked with an incredibly talented team of seasoned CWBSA artists, Sussie Mjwara, Gavin Stockden and Sibusiso Dlamini, over the course of five days to create a wonderfully delightful and playful show that celebrated the joy and imagination that is sparked by reading. A show that encourages children to read, tell stories and most importantly visit their local library. After watching the show perform in schools and libraries over the last few days, the sound of the children squealing with delight, gasping in disbelief and singing along to our personalised Nal’ibali theme tune still resonates warmly in my ears and heart”

We believe this partnership with CWBSA and Nal’ibali has the potential to create a significant impact on children across the country. Merging the power of play, imagination and storytelling to inspire and encourage children to do the same by reading books.

We hope to see you on the road in October in Limpopo!

Photo Credit: Thuligraphy Images