Drag queen to read to children in Soweto to celebrate Youth Month
CHILDHOOD is a significant phase for youngsters to develop their thinking processes as well as their morals, beliefs and values.
For this reason, and in a bid to celebrate Youth Month and gender equality, an acclaimed drag queen will read to children in Soweto this weekend.
The story hour, which will be conducted by former Idols SA contestant Thiart Li, as his alter ego Shenay O’brien, is a first for South Africa.
Organisers say the event, which is part of the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is also to promote the love for books, as children from two local reading groups will be entertained by Li’s performance.
This includes two Nal’ibali reading club groups which will read Roald Dahl’s Matilda at the Ikageng Austrian Embassy Library tomorrow.
Righardt le Roux, the Nal’ibali provincial support co-ordinator, said the event would benefit the children.
“Capturing the imagination of children, and working towards a more just society that recognises and accepts gender fluidity during childhood, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign will be hosting South Africa’s first drag queen story hour.
“The programme is just as it sounds: an engaging drag queen reading stories to children in a library. It’s a response to similar activations which have been taking place in the US with great success.”
He said the children would have the opportunity to challenge societal norms.
“During these story hours, children get the chance to see adult reading role models defy rigid gender restrictions, and are invited to imagine a world in which all people are truly equal, and accepted for who they are.”
Le Roux said the education programme also aimed to improve English proficiency from a young age, which is in line with global standards.
But, he said, above all, the programme was aimed at promoting equality.
“The UN Sustainable Development Goal number five highlights and promotes the need for gender equality, stating it’s not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”
Le Roux said the reason why Matilda would be read was because of the inspirational content.
“It features a young girl who escapes her unbearable environment by teaching herself to read and taking refuge in her school’s library.”
As the youth are celebrated in June, the event also aims to commemorate the occasion.