Child authors programme gives 26 Mpumalanga children wings

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Bulelwa Chiloane showing her published book.

In countering the poor writing and reading culture 26 learners from Mpumalanga have published their books through the “children author” program by Bala-books sponsored by Standard bank. 

Joy was written in the faces of the 26 learners mostly from Ifa Lethu primary school outside Mbombela when they touched their self- authored books in different languages they preferred with their own stories inside. 

MEC for education in Mpumalanga Said the program will break the norm that 75% of children reading books in South Africa are imported from either the United States of America or the United Kingdom. 

“As the province of Mpumalanga, we are grateful for the empowerment program of these learners. Acquiring such skills is a life long investment and promotes indigenous languages and prepare our children at an early age to be prepared. 

The child author program complements our curricular program.  Studies show that students who participate in co-curricular activities are three times more likely to have a great mark average  of 3.0 against those who don’t participate in co-curricular activities.”

The advantages of using children literature to improve reading comprehension and skills to explore new vocabulary internalize grammar and linguistic structures are universally recognized. It helps children to understand the world that surrounds them. 

According to statistics, SA  75% of South African children reading books are imported, American or British base books. And Only a mere 14% of the South African population are active books readers. To promote the reading culture parents, schools, communities and private-sector research are encouraged actively participate in the reading movement that responds to the minister’s call.” Said Majuba. 

Majuba Said the children’s books are going to be used in the province’s 347 public libraries and also in all schools. 

Child author, Phumla Mkhabela Said she is happy to have had her book published at her age. 

“I’m a grade 5 learner and I have a book published and written by me, this is a start for greater things in my life. My book is titled (kind learners) here I explore the life of taking care of your friends or school mates at school and also bring about good heart to children. I’m actually going to be a writer and this is a start for me,” Said Mkhabela. 

Vinolia Mokoena,12, who wrote a book in SiSwati titled “ticatfulo taMandu tekugijima” Said her book writing skills have helped her as she is aiming to be an African language practitioner. 

“I know that many people mostly children do not know their African languages, I want to make sure that when I grow up I keep our languages alive by telling stories in our languages. This book is going to be read by other children at school in their siSwati language which makes me very proud at my age. I know by the time I finish school I will have other books in my name,” Said Mokoena. 

Glad Kaiser, from Bala Books, told Commuter that his love to work with children made him fit well to helping children write their own stories and share their thoughts and insights. 

“This program is very good for our learners because they get to know all sphere on how to develop and author and book. When I came to Mpumalanga I thought I will have a problem because this area is bit rural but the stories I got and their response was great. 

What we have now is 26 child authors whose books have been published now. Now we have African children telling their own stories writing about their surroundings and we hope more keeps are coming authors. Here we talk about child authors and kids becoming authors, not all that royalties, Economic Transformation and generational wealth for them as they are going to have get what is due to them.” Said Kaiser. 

He said when they stated in 2012 they have about 10 000 children and now are growing and aim to have all languages covered and more children coming in. 

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