PEN SA and PRAESA’s Translation of Four Children’s Stories into Five SA Languages

20 Dec 2013
PEN SA and PRAESA’s Translation of Four Children’s Stories into Five SA Languages

In 2013, PEN South Africa partnered with the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA), the organisation driving Nal’ibali – a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, on the first in an ongoing series of collaborative projects.

This project involved the translation of four children’s stories into Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sepedi and Sesotho. The stories were passed on to Nal’ibali’s reading clubs nationwide, reaching some 6000 children face-to-face, and over 15 000 copies were further distributed in newspapers through Nal’ibali’s collaboration with Times Media.

A great number of children in South African live in impoverished circumstances in which books and reading – the very building blocks of education and democratic citizenship – remain an unattainable luxury. Being told stories and being read to also leads children to develop the rich storehouse of language, complex grammar and extensive vocabulary they need to bring to texts when learning to read and write. But many children miss out on sufficient informal and pleasurable story-related experiences, and often have limited access to resources such as storybooks – especially in African languages.

By providing children and the adults who can be reading with them with stories in their mother tongues the project aimed to aid the children’s present and later educational, social and emotional development and support the expansion and normalization of both African literature and linguistic diversity in South Africa.

Click through to read the translated stories in English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sepedi and Sesotho:

Silly Thukile

The amazing tale of floating zimkhitha

Malusi and the bath monster

How stories began

(Image courtesy of Nal’ibali)