Clown­ing around with books is fun

Lit­er­acy-fo­cused project a win­ner

Sowetan - - News -

Li­braries across SA will be the scenes of a new com­mu­nity ac­ti­va­tion this year. Nal’ibali, the read­ing for en­joy­ment cam­paign, has teamed up with Clowns With­out Borders South Africa to pro­duce a se­ries of lit­er­acy-fo­cused 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 40-minute com­edy shows are de­signed to en­cour­age fam­i­lies to explore their lo­cal li­braries, model good book­bor­row­ing be­hav­iour and to en­cour­age peo­ple to sign up for li­brary cards.

Nal’ibali will also of­fer free train­ing and re­sources to li­brary staff in­ter­ested in run­ning com­mu­nity read­ing clubs.

The per­for­mances will take place through­out the year, tour­ing li­braries in KwaZu­luNatal, East­ern Cape, Lim­popo and Gaut­eng for one week at a time. Shows are de­signed to tie in to read­ing-re­lated na­tional events.

“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 MD Jade Ja­cob­sohn. “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.

“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.” Clowns With­out Borders uses cre­ative in­ter­ven­tions to reach chil­dren and care­givers, in a bid to re­duce vi­o­lent be­hav­iour, while rais­ing aware­ness around de­vel­op­men­tal is­sues and spread­ing joy.

/DANIEL BORN

Chil­dren from the Em­pumalanga Pri­mary School in Mead­ow­lands, Soweto, ar­rive for a per­for­mance by Clowns With­out Borders.

Sibu­siso Dlamini and Sussie Mjwara per­form a clown act.

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