South Africa: Nal’ibali and Standard Bank reveal truths in classic fairy tales for SA children

Storytelling is an essential precursor in children’s literacy development and an important means of preserving culture and language. Yet many of the same stories appear in different parts of the world: passed down from generation to generation, retold in different languages ​​and with different cultural adaptations. These classic fairy tales contain important moral lessons and universal human truths.

As part of Literacy and Heritage Month, Standard Bank and Nal’ibali – South Africa’s Campaign to Read for Enjoyment – will bring South African children closer to three time-honored stories by retelling them with the help of popular local artists in South African languages ​​and with modern, relatable local contexts.

These stories will be told to the public live and free of charge in a series of three Facebook Live Sessions starting on Wednesday, September 8th, or International Literacy Day.

“By giving classic fairy tales a modern twist and retelling South African artists with culturally relevant locations and characters, we not only promote local talent, languages ​​and culture, but also provide South African children with internationally recognized stories and lessons,” says Yandiswa Xhakaza, CEO of Nal ‘ibali.

Eight out of ten children in South Africa are functionally illiterate, which means that they cannot read or write at a basic level. However, children exposed to great and well-told stories in languages ​​they understand are motivated to learn to read and write on their own.

This particular project is an extension of Nal’ibali’s collaboration with Standard Bank. The partnership was launched in 2020 and started as an emergency intervention for literacy and education for COVID-19. A tailor-made initiative ensured that caregivers who were helping their children with upbringing and literacy at home were supported by interactive WhatsApp groups with trained experts.

“As a bank, we not only want to invest money, we want to grow human capital and connect in meaningful ways with other South Africans. Reading and sharing stories with children is one of the most powerful gifts we can give them, even more in languages. ” You can fully understand it. And children who regularly read for fun do better in class, regardless of their family’s social or financial situation, “added Kirsten Greenop, Head: Regulatory Advocacy, Stake Holder Engagement and CSI at Standard Bank South Africa.

Little Red Riding Hood, The Ugly Duckling, and The Frog King will be retold by headline cast Sihle Nontshokweni (an award-winning international writer, storyteller, graduate student and host of the Ultimate Book Show); Buhle Ngaba (a multi-award-winning South African actor, writer and theater activist) and Sanelisiwe Ntuli (a veteran storyteller and longtime narrator for South Africa’s largest radio station Ukhozi FM) in isiZulu, Setswana and English.

To support storytelling, Standard Bank volunteers will develop their reading and writing skills with special storytelling training from Nal’ibali before hosting their own stories to share with children in September.

The three public storytelling sessions will be streamed on the Nal’ibali Facebook page (@NalibaliSA) on the following dates:

September 8th – Sanelisiwe Ntuli, The Frog King, at 3 p.m. (English)
September 17th – Sihle Nontshokweni, Little Red Riding Hood, at 3 p.m. (English)
September 22nd – Buhle Ngaba, The Ugly Duckling, at 3 p.m. (Setswana)

The public is invited to attend the performances and access Nal’ibali’s free reading-for-enjoyment training at

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