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CFB celebrates International Literacy Day

The Centre for the Book, in partnership with Iziko South African Museums in Cape Town, hosted International Literacy Day with an interactive programme where book club members from a variety of schools celebrated the fun of reading.

International Literacy Day was initiated on 8 September in 1966 by UNESCO to raise people's awareness and concern for literacy issues in the world. Many countries, especially in the African continent, face challenges with regards to illiteracy. The Centre for the Book wishes to highlight the day and inspire children, including those with special needs, to read by hosting International Literacy Day celebrations. The celebration took place on the 12 September 2014 in front of the Iziko Museum in the Cape Town Company's Gardens.

This year's International Literacy Day was celebrated in memory and legacy of Nelson Mandela who loved children so dearly. Tata Madiba played a vital role in implementing what was envisaged in the Freedom Charter, that 'the doors of learning and culture shall be opened'. As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy we recognised that children too have rights and need to be cared for and loved.

The book clubs showed that 'Literacy is louder than the Bomb'. Each club chose a story from a children's book, read and performed by means of a dramatisation. Mr Stanley 'Pops' Daniels entertained the crowd with his song 'Nelson Mandela's Agenda for Peace' for which he got a standing ovation. The SAEP Marimba Band and Emile YX and Mixed Mense from the Heal the Hood Project had the audience dancing. Keynote speaker of the day was Righardt le Roux of Nal'ibali who congratulated all the children who attended for their commitment to reading and improving their education. He encouraged pupils to take the words of Mark Twain to heart – 'the man who doesn’t read, has no privilege above the man who cannot read'. He also handed out Nal'ibali's Children's Literacy Charter to representatives of schools and other institutions.

The Centre for the Book (CFB) Deputy Programme Manager, Anita Shaw, gave a word of thanks to all the people who attended the event and those who worked behind the scenes in order for the event to be successful. A special thank you goes to the event partner, Iziko Museums of South Africa, and their CEO, Ms Rooksana Omar.

Phakama Matoti
Children's Literature Coordinator, Centre for the Book


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