Libraries across South Africa will be the scenes of a new community activation in 2019. Nal’ibali, the reading for enjoyment campaign, has teamed up with Clowns Without Borders South Africa to produce a series of literacy-focussed shows. These free performances will tour four provinces to encourage people to see their local libraries as safe, exciting community spaces for people of all ages.
The free 40-minute comedy shows are designed to encourage families to explore their local libraries, model good book borrowing behaviour and to encourage people to sign up for library cards. In addition to the performances, Nal’ibali will be offering free training and resources to library staff interested in running community reading clubs.
The performances will take place throughout 2019, touring libraries in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng for one week at a time. Shows are designed to tie-in to reading-related national events as detailed below:
• 11 -15 March: KwaZulu-Natal (ahead of SA Library Week)
• 20 -24 May: Eastern Cape (to coincide with Get Caught Reading Month)
• 19 – 23 August Gauteng (to celebrate Book Lover’s Day on the 8th)
• 21 – 25 October: Limpopo (to coincide with International School Library Month)
“At Nal’ibali, we want people to discover storytelling in exciting, meaningful ways, so collaborating with Clowns Without Borders made perfect sense,” says Nal’ibali Managing Director Jade Jacobsohn. “We recently celebrated World Read Aloud Day by holding a loud and joyful storytelling event for 200 children at Sandton Public Library – imagine what we can achieve in creative partnership with CWBSA!”
Clowns Without Borders South Africa uses creative interventions to reach children and caregivers, in a bid to reduce violent behaviour, while raise awareness around developmental issues and spread joy. They have reached nearly half a million children to date.
“We are excited to be raising awareness around an area of such importance in South Africa,” adds Suzan Eriksson, CWBSA Development Director. “Our experience shows us that the performing arts can be used to mobilise children and families in very effective ways”.
Research consistently suggests that children who read for pleasure outside of school do better academically. “However, books are an expensive and scarce resource in South Africa, placing libraries at the centre of a potential reading revolution in this country,” says Jacobsohn. “Children need safe, welcoming spaces where they can make choices about the kinds of stories they want to explore, and we are committed to helping them access that.”