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Thirteen-Year-old Limpopo pupil wins national storytelling contest

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. It’s an initiative of South Africa’s national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali.

The theme for this year’s talent search was ‘South African Heroes’. By remembering and telling the stories of our heroes, the campaign aimed to inspire greatness in all South African children.

Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director said that, “Heroes guide us about how to live our lives; they give us hope and motivate us to overcome challenges. We were blown away by young Praises Banda from Ga-Kibi, Dankie Village, in Limpopo, as her story, skillfully told in her home language Sepedi, did exactly that.”

Told with both sadness and passion, Banda’s story is about her personal hero, Kholofelo Sasebola, who put an end to the bullying she endured at school.

“The sadness in Praises’ voice is palpable. You can tell the bullying was traumatic, but, at the same time, you can hear her passion for celebrating the deed of her hero. Her command of Sepedi is commendable. Though the story is told in simple sentences, Praises uses the language playfully, and the story is easy to understand,” comments Lorato Trok, Story Bosso judge and children’s story development expert.

Storytelling is an important part of South African heritage and plays a key role in children’s literacy development by encouraging the use of imagination, curiosity, and empathy. More than 50 special storytelling events were held across the country throughout September to allow members of the public to practice and build their storytelling skills before entering the contest.

Banda’s story was selected from over two thousand entries and, as this year’s Story Bosso, she will be receiving R5 000, a book hamper, and R500 worth of airtime. A further five prizes will be awarded to provincial winners. Thabiso Khoeli from the Free State; Sibongile Mofokeng from Gauteng; Afika Cwecwe from the Eastern Cape; Mandisa Madlala from KwaZulu-Natal and Mbalentle Mangete from the Western Cape will each receive R1 000, a book hamper as well as R250 of airtime.

“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 Jacobsohn.

“We know that well told stories – where a word may be a snarl, a shout, a whisper, or a cry – can be a colourful trail of chocolate Smarties that lead children to books! Those bonding moments of sharing stories with children help to root the seeds of a culture of reading into South African homes. We are proud of all of our winners this year for showing us what good storytelling can be,” concludes Jacobsohn.

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 www.nalibali.org.

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