A book for children, by children

2015-05-21 10:09

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Tembaletu Trust has published a collection of short stories titled Hear Me, See My Voice/Ngilalele, Ubone Izwi Lami, written by children across the city.

Richard Rangiah, director of the trust, based at 5 Hartford Road, said: “Tembaletu has always focused on promoting reading and writing, and so we are always looking for a project to promote that.

“Our previous publication dealt with environmental awareness. But those books were written by adults for children. This time, we felt that children should write stories for themselves and other children.”

The Write-to-Read project was funded by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund and included workshops for pupils in Grades 6 to 11, from the different schools involved in the project. They were: Phayiphini High School, Alexandra High School, Forest Hill Primary, Russell High School, Woodlands Secondary School, Epworth School, Panorama Primary School, Glenwood Primary School, Deccan Road Primary, Allandale Primary School, Kharina High School, Smero High School, Fezokuhle Primary School, Eastwood Primary School and Amakholwa High School.

“The pupils were given ideas on how story writing happens and at the end of the sessions, they were challenged to create a piece of fiction which we have now published in a collection of short stories,” said Rangiah. “They were allowed to be as creative as they wanted to be.”

A total of 52 children submitted stories in both English and Zulu. “We wanted them to write in the language that they were most comfortable in,” said Vicki Robertson from the trust.

“Reading it as an outsider, I found the level of creativity and ideas for stories fascinating,” said Rangiah.

“They are all very different from the stories I read as a child, and they are all located in the reality of the current South Africa. They don’t shy away from those realities, some of which are very grim.”

Originally, the plan had been to hold a competition, but in the end the trust decided instead to include all the submissions. “The children were just thrilled to see their names in print,” said Robertson. “It was a huge achievement for them.”

Rangiah added: “Who knows how many more young minds will be inspired through reading a publication such as this, and be inspired to pick up a pen and write other stories that will revolutionise our hearts, minds and the world.”

Some 2 000 copies of the book, which includes a number of lovely illustrations and a foreword by Elinor Sisulu, have been printed and distributed to the participating schools. Others have been sent to schools in and around Pietermaritzburg.

• If you would like to get a copy of Hear Me, See My Voice/Ngilalele, Ubone Izwi Lami, a small number will be available from the Tembaletu Trust. Phone 033 346 1106

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