Media statement: 08th Funda Mzantsi Championship

Media statement: 08th Funda Mzantsi Championship

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) through its outreach unit, the Centre for the Book (CFB) in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services and George Municipality will be hosting the 08th Funda Mzantsi Championship in George from 02 to 05 October 2017 under the theme “Building Creative Minds”.

The project was started as part of the CFB’s mandate to inculcate a culture of reading amongst South Africans. The project was in response to the survey conducted by the South African Book Development Council in 2007 on general reading habits in South African communities. The report of the survey revealed that South Africa is not a reading nation. The Centre for the Book therefore decided to intervene by way of establishing book clubs in communities and schools.

In 2010 the Centre for the Book took a step further by introducing the Funda Mzantsi Championship in order to assess book club’s reading and comprehension abilities. The Funda Mzantsi Championship is a reading competition where book clubs compete against each other. Winners of the competition take home medals and trophies.

In 2013 the Department of Correctional Services upon realising the role reading played in the rehabilitation of offenders decided to join hands with the NLSA. A very successful 5th Funda Mzantsi Championship took place in George and was run over three days. In 2016 the competition attracted more than 30 book clubs and was attended by more than 700 spectators from all over the country.

Funda Mzantsi programmes enhances the language skills and within our correctional centres it also help offenders during their examination.

It is because of the programmes like Funda Mzantsi that the department of Correctional Services achieved 72.1% pass rate in 2016 academic year. More offenders are being encouraged and motivated to follow suite of other offenders and ex-offenders who wrote and still writing books, with the benefits to their rehabilitation and social reintegration. Correctional Services will continue to make it compulsory for inmates without a qualification equivalent to Grade 9, to complete Adult Education and Training (AET) Levels 1 to 4. The culture of reading and writing will assist our offenders to meet the demands of a knowledgeable society and to be a better people upon their release.

“The Funda Mzantsi Reading Festival is a flag-ship project of the NLSA, aimed at spearheading the inculcation of a reading culture in South Africa. At the Festival, hundreds of young minds are challenged in activities including book reviews and debates which stimulate creativity and innovation. According to the latest research on South Africa’s readership levels, only 11% of the population reads for leisure, while other countries like Japan are at 80% readership levels. We envision that in the medium term, the Reading Festival will help position South Africa as a reading nation with significant levels of readership which can compete favourably with other nations of the world,” said Dr Eddy Maepa, Executive Director: Core Programmes at the National Library of South Africa.”

For the first time the competition will cover all eleven South African official languages. A total of 49 book clubs have registered to compete in this year’s Festival and more than 800 spectators are expected.

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